Is There A Work/Life Balance In Advertising?

Over at Talent Zoo, Whitney Friedrich, a young AE at DraftFCB, stirred things up by suggesting that new talent in the business, many times, lacks dedication:

Wear your passion on your sleeve because it’s one of the only things that differentiates you. It’s not expected that you will have all the answers—or even that you’ll know what questions to ask. It is, however, expected that you will be so grateful for the opportunity that you are first to arrive in the morning and last to leave at night. In a former agency, we had two interns who were so excited to be there that most nights they slept on a couch in our agency common area so as not to miss a moment of the internship experience. Needless to say, they were both offered jobs at the end of the summer.

Which prompted this comment:

I have a major issue with this article. Ms. Friedrich is acting as if the idea of a “work/life balance” is totally outlandish. I am in the advertising industry and have been for probably longer than Ms. Friedrich. As a manager, I do not expect my ACs, AAEs and AEs to run themselves into the ground. Come on! Yes, I expect stellar work out of them, but they’re only human. Overachievement is frankly slightly annoying sometimes. I don’t need anyone banging down my door to bring me my morning coffee. When their work is done at 5:00, I EXPECT them to leave at 5:00 and not mill around doing needless work just so they can appear dedicated.

It’s an interesting debate. While the work habits of Generation X and Y are under scrutiny, advertising is still a fast-paced business that demands dedication. Are we seeing a shift in the ad business to a more 9-to-5 office life? Will today’s 20-somethings put in the hours that traditionally were expected of ad pros? Does working 18 hour days and weekends make the work any better?



About Dan Goldgeier

Dan Goldgeier is a Seattle-based freelance copywriter with experience at advertising agencies across the U.S. He is a graduate of the Creative Circus ad school, and currently teaches at Seattle's School of Visual Concepts. Dan is also a columnist for and the author of View From The Cheap Seats and Killer Executions and Scrubbed Decks.