Rachel, is there a place for a moth in media?
The writer, a college media student, is not a social butterfly
September 14, 2012
I'm an advertising media student about to graduate in the coming spring and I'm starting to get a little worried about my line of work. While I'm confident in my ability to organize media scheduling and understand the technical concepts of media planning and research, I'm not so sure that I'm up to snuff about the social side of things. I've heard that agencies are work-hard-play-hard affairs where career moves happen at happy hours. The problem is that I'm a naturally anxious person and am not sure how I'd do in agency life. What I'm asking is, is there a place for someone who's not a social butterfly in the media world? Thank you.–Sign me The Social Moth
I wouldn't worry too much.
Media certainly has a well-earned reputation for being highly social, and it is especially well-earned when it comes to the younger ranks.
If you land at one of the large agencies, it could well feel at times like you never really left college. You could be working with teams of people your own age who themselves are just out of school and for the first time really experiencing life in the adult world.
And, yes, work-hard-play-hard is very much the operative motto in such places, especially the first half of that equation: work hard.
But all that said, it really isn't like college. In this real world, rewards still go to those who can get the job done and take ownership of whatever they are assigned.
Too much is made of people getting ahead by virtue of their charm and social agility. That's the stuff of movies.
Ditto for career coups at happy hour.
Everyone loves being around charming people, and they always give off an air of having a leg up over the moths of the workplace.
But the fact is charm without a strong work ethic seldom gets people anywhere, and good managers are adept at spotting people who attempt to get by on their charm alone. They tend to soar at first and then flame out as they are called out on their unwillingness to get the work done.
My advice to you is to follow the same course as you have in your studies.
Your early years in media are your great learning years, and in these times there is so much to learn. Go into your first job intent on learning all you can and showing your promise.
Don’t expect immediate rewards. Be patient and persist. Don't worry about winning any popularity contests. Don't bother to go out with the gang just because you fear you'll miss out on a great social moment that could advance your career.
Most importantly, use as your guide the behavior of the more senior people at the agency. Whatever worked for them to get ahead will likely work for you as well.
So, yes, to answer your question, there is a place for you in the media world.
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