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Joining An Agency – Things to Consider

Posted on 02 January 2015 by Cheryl Joy

A big decision in the life of any aspiring media professional is whether to choose the agency or the big corporate job. A comparison between these two more often than not, tilts in favour of the latter and not the former.  The reason for this is more than apparent. A corporate job means a fat pay cheque and all the perks which come with it. And nowhere in this article am I questioning the joy of that pay cheque! What I look at in this article is its second cousin- the choice of an agency and what needs to be considered while joining it. While a lot can be said about how choosing an agency is the more viable option in order to lay the building blocks of a flourishing career in an MNC, this is not the route that I am going to take during the course of this article. For here all I am concerned with is the few things to be kept in mind while starting a career in media with the agency in mind. Period.

1.Ask yourself what you value more

While there are chances that the growth in the hierarchy( and in the bank account as well) is faster in a corporate, the learning opportunities could be limited there. This is because big corporations tend to have more rules and policies that are in place which might not allow a complete expression of one’s creativity. On the other hand agency’s allow a certain amount of freedom of self expression which help in enhancing one’s learning curve. Thus it is important to ask yourself which of the two you value more and then choose accordingly.

2.Growth Opportunities

In most cases, agencies allow for internal growth. Thus most of the higher positions would be filled in by people who have stayed there for long and proved their mettle. More often than not a newbie is let in at the initial career levels and is expected to grow from there. This makes it important to find out the growth opportunities that are available in the agency and how long it takes to get where you want to go.

3.Work Environment

Any job that involves creativity needs an environment that facilitates it. It is important to understand if the agency has the suitable environment to work in so as to not hamper one’s creative processes. While a good work environment is important in any industry, a good healthy work environment characterized by a level of openness and freedom is key to an agency.

4.Reputation in the market

While this might seem like an inconsequential issue at the time, in reality it is very important to identify the reputation that the company has in the market and it’s rating amongst its peer companies. A good rating is an indication of the overall growth and work environment that exists in the agency which is an important point to consider before joining an agency.

5.Choice of department

While at an initial point in a career it is more important to get the job rather than a job in one’s preferred department, it is important to keep your eyes and ears open for any opportunities coming your way. Though at an initial stage you might be fine doing a copy writing job, if you aspire to be in research or account planning, this is something that needs to be highlighted at the beginning itself. Also it is important to understand whether the agency considers such shifts in interests and facilitates them for its employees. If not, there could be a situation where you have the ideal agency but not the ideal job.

6.A smaller pay cheque

While this has been mentioned earlier as well, it cannot be emphasized enough! An agency job might not be able to compare with a corporate one in the salary domain. Thus it is important to realize this while deciding to join an agency so as to prevent disappointment later. What one needs to understand is that this is the initial situation and things get a lot better with some amount of experience.

7.Late hours of work

A job in an agency means you need to be available around the clock. By virtue of being part of the media industry and a creative part of it, there are no fixed hours of work that can be adhered to. This is not to discourage an aspirant but to tell him or her that this field is fraught with exciting new challenges each day. It is a job which ceases to be a job and should become a way of life.

8.Personal satisfaction

At the end of the day, choosing an agency depends a lot on your own personality as well. It is important to choose an agency that mirrors your own personality so that the relationship becomes symbiotic. There is a lot of mutual inter dependence and understanding that is required while working in a creative field and especially in an agency.

A job becomes so much more when it becomes a part of your life. And as a great person once said, find a job you like and you won’t have to work a single day of your life.

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