Rachel, they’re not listening to me
She was hired from a hot-shot digital shop because of her expertise
October 12, 2012
I started my career with a hot digital agency where I thrived. Six months ago I was hired away by a traditional media agency—TV, TV and more TV—with the promise that I would deliver them into the new digital age. Fat chance. They gave me a fancy title but they treat me at times almost as a child when I propose any sort of innovative digital element to a campaign. I am younger, and I truly resent this treatment. Most mornings I feel like going into work and quitting. What's your advice?—Sign me Fit to be Tied
Welcome to the digital age. Welcome to life.
Every agency wants to be up to the minute on all things digital, or at least to claim to be.
But wanting and being are two very different things. Getting up to speed digitally typically involves a steep and often painful learning curve, and it's one many would rather put off.
Obviously, that group includes the people you are now working for.
I would not quit, at least not yet.
Here's what I would do.
Prepare a presentation for senior management in which you explain step by step just what it's going to take to make the transformation into a digitally savvy agency.
Then explain how you plan to do it.
Whatever your resentments, set them aside.
The purpose of the pitch is to persuade them that you are the person to lead them through the transition.
In effect, you are selling yourself a second time. But this time you know more about them and their issues, so you are far better prepared to build a convincing case.
Also, you are still there, so for whatever problems they have with your ideas, they still have an investment in you that they believe in at some level.
The point is, they're going to want to buy into what you are selling, no matter what their doubts.
Then open up the meeting to questions and see what comes up.
Their responses will tell you everything you need to know.
Who knows? You may succeed in breaking down the wall and suddenly everything you've wanted to do will be in reach.
Or you see ever so clearly that there is in fact no hope. You are not the person to shepherd the agency into the digital age and in fact there may be no such person.
At that point you will know it's time to look for another job at a place where you skills will be appreciated.
Keep this in mind too.
When companies are serious about change, they typically bring someone in at the very top to institute that change. When they bring someone in at mid-level or below, they may be talking change but most often it is just talk.
I say that not to discourage you but simply to say that you have a challenge ahead of you that you could not win not because of a lacking on your part but because of something beyond your control.
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