I’ve had the dream of working in a large media agency (or public relations and marketing) filled with talented, creative people from around the world for as long as I can remember. I could also say that I’m a pathological liar. Lord knows I wanted to be a goddamn chef my whole life, but I burn toast.
Jokes aside, working in a media agency is something I’ve envisioned myself taking on since I completed my HSC. Collaborating with people from different walks of life with unstoppable creative minds is something that honestly gets me a little hot and bothered. Like the young, go-getting, hustler I am, I felt like I was entitled to reach my dreams and soar among the highflyers after I finished my degree. What was that about millennials being too entitled?
In the past, I’ve worked in multiple creative agencies. The feeling you get when you walk into one is incomparable to anything else. It is always somewhat nostalgic for some reason and fills you with a joy, a vibrant energy and a sense of belonging that other companies lack. The atmosphere that a media agency can cultivate is a feeling like no other, a culture that transcends any other environment that I’ve been in before. There is a competitive yet supportive environment in these places that really does cultivate a willingness to be motivated and pushes you to work beyond your original goals.
Once I finished my last exam at university, I hopped straight onto LinkedIn and applied for every agency job I could find. I sat at my computer desk for days. A giddy hope would sweep over me at thought of the opportunity to work in an agency. I thought this type of employment would change my life for the better, that all my other problems would fade away.
My idealistic nature clouded reality. I unhealthily believed that if I didn’t accomplish landing a job in an agency that I wouldn’t have a happy life, that everything would crash and burn around me while everyone else succeeded. I soon realised that this is not nearly the case.
I had preconceived thoughts from when I did my placements in agencies that these would be the only places I’d be happy working at. I was absolutely infatuated with the interactions, the clients and my colleagues who worked beside me. It was like a dream style job with very little to complain about.
I ended up getting to interview stages and thought I had them in the bag, I had studied hard in university, found myself wanting to succeed in life and knew that I would one day do great things. Or at least, that’s what my mum would tell me. I failed all of my interviews with potential jobs with large scale agencies.
My body shut down after a trail of disappointments. One day, while I was moving houses, I broke. Yes, broke, like one of your old toys. I just couldn’t move, speak, do anything after being rejected yet again. My mum found me on the floor and asked what was wrong. I responded with tears that could have filled a swimming pool. It was a lot, yes. Overdramatic, yes. But needed for me to grow as a person? Oh, hell yes.
The main reason I believe I didn’t land these jobs is that I really wasn’t looking for jobs that I truly wanted, but the culture that I wanted to find myself in. It was an attempt to fix an open wound with a small bandaid. These jobs weren’t really a fix for the other problems in my life. I had a lack of motivation, an overwhelming need to prove myself to my friends and family and worst of all, the realisation that all dreams may not be met while I’m 21 years old. The last one was the hardest of all to come to terms with but the most transformative realisation in my professional career.
Realising this, I’ve come to terms with not reaching the first goals I set, but have adapted them to the longterm vision that I want my life to resemble. Finding flexibility within my yearning to study, the need for money and retaining my social life and hobbies has been a difficult balancing act but is going to be an exciting adventure that I’m more than happy to be part of. I’m now excited to lean into the discomfort of the unknown. I’ve found that the journey towards these goals is half of the adventure that I was seeking.
I’ve found that my one wish for a job in my future is to find a place where I can walk into work and everyone will say good morning to each other with smiles on their faces. If one day, I do eventually enter an agency, I will be all the more thankful due to the experiences I’ve had.