A note from a pissed off wife.
Just as Ben Affleck was on the Oscars frantically claiming that his marriage was the best job he'd ever had, we received this anonymous missive in our in box. Sound like anyone you know? Hell, sound like everyone you know?
It is Sunday evening of Oscars weekend I'm sitting on my couch with my 3 dogs dressed to impress for a long-anticipated date with my husband. Except he's now 45 minutes late.
He finally walks in the door and is a whirlwind of frustration because he can only be home with me for an hour and a half and then has at least 3 more hours worth of work ahead of him this evening. His state of mind tells me dinner will be a bust even if we do go. So, I do the mature thing…and I cry.
I should precede this by letting you know I've spent a decade in the ad industry myself. In fact, I'm still in it. But I've made some choices.
When is this incredibly smart and capable industry going to realize we aren't saving lives? We're in advertising. Let's get real. Why all the all-nighters? The broken promises? The skipped plans with friends and families because you're stuck at the office? The guilt?
I get the rush of a new piece of business you've worked hard for, for the beauty of a well-tailored spot when you hear it on-air for the first time, but at what cost are we doing this?
I've seen so many people burn out of this industry to become teachers, sales reps, go to graduate school…because the hours are so unreasonable and for really, no reason at all. At what point are the people of this industry going to realize there is more to life than 2am eating cold pizza while staring at Excel until your eyes burn and your contacts dry out?
I'm trying to start a movement within our industry. Take back your life. Reclaim a hobby you used to have before you started working for an agency. Start a new hobby. Or, in my case, spend time with your wife. Because at the end of the day, it isn't going to be the agency holding your hand on your deathbed, crying with you through the passing of your father or proudly taking family pictures on Easter Sunday. It's going to be your wife, your family, your friends.
Go home at 6pm and stop trying to save the world through a creative brief. Shit, go home at 8pm, it's still better than what your average nightly clock-in time is. Stop looking at your Blackberry. There's nothing important happening at 10pm anyway.
Most importantly, as my former boss always said in regards to a strategic plan, "L, take a step back and look at the big picture." Come on guys, let's look at the big picture together. We're in advertising and we'll all be just fine if we step away for a little while to take time for the things that really matter.
PS: My husband is back at the office. Can someone let him know I wrote this?