If you are an artist. A writer. A playwright or screenwriter. A novelist, poet, short story writer. A painter. An illustrator. A videographer or filmmaker or a photographer. A cartoonist. If you're a Web designer or any of the myriad artists who work in new media or if you're a person with the tiniest amount of creativity that is trying to force its way to the surface, read this. It's an article on Gawker called, Do Not Go Into Advertising.
This is life-saving. Trust me. I spent years in advertising agencies and marketing departments. Hell, you don't even have to read the article. If you're one of those people who doesn't have to touch the stove to know it's hot, just listen to my advice: Do not go into advertising. Don't even think about it. Don't exchange your creativity and your time and your energy for money. I won't go as far as say don't sell your soul, but I actually did meet some soulless people in my career. No really, they were. If they actually had a soul they would have already pawned it.
Every line of this article is true, starting with the first: Advertising is the industry that people who were not lucky enough to get actual "creative" jobs end up in. True. I would probably add teaching to that list, but then of course, I digress.
Don't think you'll do it for only a year or two. The money will become a drug that you can't put down. Or the money will, surprisingly, dig you deeper into financial debt. You might be earning more, but you will certainly spend more, too. More than you're making, unitl you'll have a five, then a ten-year plan. After that you'll be so jaded you won't even recognize yourself.
There is no self-fulfillment in advertising. It's not about you, it's about selling a crap product or service or business you probably couldn't care less about if you weren't in advertising. I actually was able to circumvent this at times (like now) by only working for organizations who I felt were making the world a better place. That's possible. But if you're actually in the belly of the beast, you will, in no small part, be responsible for the economic mess we're in, preying on people's weaknesses and desires to part with their money for shit they don't need. Many in the field use that as their job descriptions: I get people to buy shit they don't need. My job description used to be, I make rich white men richer.
You will work for people who you will have absolutely no respect for, though of course that might be said for any job. At least as an artist if you don't respect yourself you can turn that into your art. In advertising, the only thing it will turn into is liver damage. You will be working for people who have no literal sense, who couldn't even punctuate, much less write, a sentence. Yet they will have control over your work. You will be working for people with responsibility for visuals who couldn't even match the color of their socks.
Oh, there will be days when you'll come home saying, oh, that wasn't so bad. Or on a Friday you'll look back and say, that was a good week. That's a trap. Because day by day, week by week, you'll fritter away your life so slowly so you won't realize it's missing. Look how the Colorado River dug into the Colorado Plateau to make the Grand Canyon. Grain by grain, pebble by pebble until there is a big hole where once there was a mighty mountain. And that's exactly what will happen to you.
This is the end of our public service announcement.