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Ten reasons to quit your agency job

Articolul ăsta era pe blogul lui Dan Horton, dar autorul l-a şters între timp. L-am tradus de două ori şi am realizat că se pierde mult din esenţă dacă e în româneşte, aşa că îl public cum a fost scris

 

10 Good Reasons to Quit Your Agency Day Job

Having worked on my own business now a number of months. I thought it would be practical and indeed helpful for those considering working on their own and perhaps who are not really sure if the decision is the right one. So here are 10 pretty good reasons to quit your day job.

BOSSES IN CHARGE ? OR, YOU NEED TO TAKE CHARGE

Whether you like it or not , the boss pays your wages. And, more importantly has the final say about who works within their organisation.

1) You KNOW your boss to be a complete  arsehole.

Now, it’s OK if this thought crosses your mind from time to time. Everybody thinks this about somebody they work with at one stage or another. In fairness the “boss” has probably thought this about you many times.  But if it goes beyond just a random thought that you experience say twice in a week then you know you are onto something.

Clarity is key here, so you need some evidence to backup your thoughts.

Ask yourself some important questions about said boss:

Is their behavior in the workplace well balanced ?  Do they make good business decisions? How do they react with other colleagues? Especially members of the other sex, are they flirty, do they exhibit inappropriate behavior? If they slap the receptionist’s bottom in your presence and your “supposed not to notice”  this is unacceptable. How do they greet you in a morning?  Such statements as “Now then gays or ehh up cocks” is not really acceptable. How many holidays do THEY have in a year ( whilst of course maintaining that keeping business continuity is critical.)

If their strategy is ” ‘I’m always honest with you and my door is always open” then, be wary. Especially, if you hear that somebody has crossed said door and been given short shrift.

Might seem a bit personal this one, but just how stable is their own background? Are they married with kids and enjoy a great social life ? Or are they divorced and tend to go away with the “lads” on holiday. How do they act in social situations. What places do they attend socially? What are their vices? Do they gamble? Perhaps they frequent places that you wouldn’t really take your mother into. Are they flash with their cash? ( look out for large piles of notes being visibly waved from leather wallets at any opportunity)

2) The Agency is in financial dire straits.

The present economic climate is not easy for anyone at the moment and securing business is hard, no doubt about that. It is hard for employers and employees too. The once much mentioned term of “job for life” now no longer applies. Yet you have a full time job, so why would you go it alone?

Here are some clear signs that the business is failing even without your input:

Pay cuts have just been introduced within the workplace, (your asked to keep this highly confidential of course) not the greatest of moral boosters this one. But sometimes employers simply have to do this in times of need. But are the pay cuts REALLY necessary? OK, you have stomached your pay decrease but has the employer made the same concessions ? Also, if the employer states the pay cut is temporary be wary. “Temporary” in their eyes could mean long-term and forget about any updates as to when that time may be.

Still not convinced you have made the right decision to quit your agency day job? read on…

Key indicators here:

a) What “company cars” are lined up in the car park ? If you know for example the value of just one of those cars exceeds somebody’s pay check for over 4 years, then something is a little out of kilter. Company travel is another great example, would your company use the cheapest method of travel to get to a client destination ? Who uses the company expenses the most?

b) Critical accounts are being “lost”. Be particularly aware as to how your employer deals with such losses of major accounts, is there a comprehensive explanation as to why the account was lost or has someone else in the agency been scapegoated for its disappearance. There are always VALID reasons for account losses, but when this happens on a regular basis within a short time scale, you need to ask yourself are the right business decisions being made? If the clients have little trust in the agency you work for, why should you?

c) People keep disappearing. Yes, redundancies that awful word and leaves many in fear of their jobs on a day-day basis. But you look around you and suddenly realise it’s all the “good” people that are going. Be aware of how they exit, is there much fuss and excitement made when they leave or is it just the case you turn up one day and their desk is empty.

d) Are people leaving the company under a cloud? Yet, you are told it is always the employee that is in the wrong ?

e) Take a look at the employment history of the company. Is the staff turnover high?  In the last 12 months has there been any evidence to support why working for the company might not be a good idea? Discrepancies, people paid off, incidents of the employer being negligent in any way for eg. harassment, misconduct, issues of discrimination.

f) Pay cuts are introduced yet you find out the company is still recruiting on its website.

g) The company is losing money financially they just don’t pay their own way, are they paying their service providers ?  What key business decisions are being actively made to secure YOUR future and indeed the future of the company.

h) What state is the building in where you work ? Might sound basic this, but a freshly painted inviting environment promotes productivity.

i) Lookout for substantial debts in the company you work for. Are they loosing money hand over fist ? Do they owe money to banks, unsatisfied clients, solicitors.

j) The company spends more time “pitching” for new business than servicing their existing client base. Back again here to staff roles, but if the entire team for “X Account” is down in London pitching to a new business. Who is actually servicing the account?

k) There are more and more Board meetings to discuss “the company”. Doors are closed and multiple meetings take place with selected individuals.

l) Long term members of staff keep on referring to big accounts that the company had. Yet, somewhere in the back of your mind you remember that said account was actually in existence 5 years ago and has now gone.

3) Illegal, Unethical &  Wrong

There are some boundaries that an employer/ employee relationship should never cross. Quite simply, if you are asked to do something by your employer that’s unethical, unlawful or just plane wrong,see this as a definite step to move out and as quickly as possible.

Never do anything that would compromise your own integrity. Even if an employer offers you the world, do not do it.

Examples of this could be:  Making statistics look better than they are. Not disclosing actual PPC spend. Being asked to hack into emails. Using 99% of the client budget as profit for the company. Maniplating monthly reports so they always read “better” for the client.

99% Profit, Client budget actual spend less than 1%

4) Technology is Key

In a digital agency for example  the technology is quite literally your bread and butter. So how up-to-date is your tech at the place you work?  Do you have the latest operating system on your PC ? How stable is the Internet connection? If your job spec requires a lot of online work, then an intermittent Internet connection is not going to thrust your career forward. Does the company invest in high level resilience when it comes to power failure, backups. Take a look at how many day(s) members of staff lose work wise through unreliable technology services.

If someone for example has a laptop that overheats, is it reasonable to expect to wait for over a week for a replacement?

5) Agency Service Offerings

You company is billed as a full service agency. OK, great but are their offerings true and realistic ? As an employee you can hardly live up to service expectation levels if indeed the services offered are not even an in-house skill.

Look for key signs about services offered:

a) Who actually provides the services in the organisation or are they outsourced? If the services a company offers are all outsourced that will effect the profit margin at the end of the day. Unless of course your company is charging unrealistic prices to their clients in the first place.  Clients should ALWAYS get return for their investment in a companies services.

b) If an agency purports to be experts in social media, seo, web design, advertising etc. what, realistically backs this up?

Look CLOSELY at their own website for example, who built it? Do they have a web designer in-house ?

If they say they are experts in social media for example, how frequent are their updates?

Are they highly relevant posts giving valid information away to prospective clients or simple garbage with photos from around the office or an office party? If they have a blog, read it. Just think as a potential client would, is  this something they would find interesting to read ?

c) Do other staff have the skills required ? Is training actively encouraged ?

d) How regularly is the company website updated? Are there still members of staff on the site that no longer work for the company? If so, why are they still there – perhaps the company you work for is trying to make itself look bigger and more experienced than it actually is. If the website says there are over 40 people working there and it turns out the number is more like 20, something is clearly wrong.

6) Company Organisation

If you are thinking of quitting your agency day job, then other key factors to look at are the stability of the working environment you are in, this is often dictated by the organisational structure of the company you are working for and of course the roles that people play within that organisation.

Areas to look at:

a) Is the company long established ? What’s their reputation like ? How many “directors” are there versus staff. If the staff ratio to the number of people who own shares within the company is lower, then YOUR chances of seeing any profit are greatly reduced. Be mindful as to who the main share holders are.

b) Do the Directors have interests in other companies, if so are those businesses succeeding ? Whilst we are on the subject take a long hard look at their assets if you can. If the company needs so much financial help how about dipping into one of  those propertys that they have abroad ?

Is the present company you work at as a result of previous company mergers because individually the companies were failing in the first place?

c) Why are people employed there? Is it because of their skill-set ? Or are the major qualifications for working at the company the fact that a Director just happens to like tall blonde women under the age of 30 and such a person “looks” nice around the office. ( Yes , I know a sad but true fact and sorry if that sounded like a sexist remark, it wasn’t)

d) What are the long term prospects for the company?

e) Staff roles are strangely allocated. Once, the receptionist was there for reception duties. Now, they are suddenly a “Professional content writer who has been established within the industry for many years”. Goodness, things must be tight if role allocation has been diluted to such a degree.

7) Staff Moral

A big one this, how do people generally feel about working for the company? Is the mood generally upbeat, or are people struggling to get through the day?

key things to look for:

a) Absence levels are growing, people are off sick. Probably because they would rather be at home than at work. A working environment should be productive, mindful of employees needs and most of all encourage creativity, innovation and independence. Staff should have a true “say” and be treated with respect as should employers.

b) Smoking levels increase. Yes, it’s a true sign. If you notice more people stood outside the building than in it, something is not right.

c) How compassionate is the employer about people’s circumstances? Do they allow time off for those employees who are facing a difficult life situation?

d) More emails start flooding the building about “staff nights out” that “we need to all pull together” Such emails are usually sent by the “puppets” who’s strings are pulled by those higher up the echelons of the company. Be aware that if you DO NOT attend such gatherings you may well pick up a black mark against your name.

e) You will know how “nice” your company is when the bad weather comes. When its 3 meters of snow outside, does the compassionate employer allow you to leave early so that you can arrive home safely, perhaps allow you to work from home which clearly demonstrates a high level of trust between you. OR, are you made to work until you need to get a snow plough to accompany you home and the boss is still stood on the doorstep declaring weather conditions are really not so bad. Not allowing for the fact he/she only lives a 1 minute walk away.

8) Company Conduct

Always take note of what’s said by key members of any organisation that you work for. How they behave with other members of staff. Bottom line is are they professional ? Or do they engage in small talk?

How does the company portray itself  to you and the outside world?

Key indicators:

a) Internal email is a good reflection on how a company operates. Are such emails ever near the knuckle in terms of their content? Everyone enjoys a joke at some time or another, but always ask yourself what inspired this person to send such an email.

b) How do key members of the organisation spend their time? If they spend most of it looking at porn on the Internet or chatting to the “nice looking” members of staff then the focus is not really on the work in hand is it?

c) What’s published about the company online. Is it an activity that really should be promoted online? Does it come over as being professional?

d) Clients know best. Yes they do. When you are next on the phone discussing their account, simply ask the question ” What do you think of us as a Company?”

9) Just because you think people are talking about you it does not necessarily mean this isn’t true.

Oh dear. You have overstepped the line and now realise that within the company you work you have acquired a number of black marks. Bottom line is that you may have unearthed something very true and not nice about the people you are working for and the company they represent. They will doubtless know this and may try to go to any lengths to make sure your exit  is an uncomfortable one for you.

Key things to watch for:

a) Your meetings with “important” decision makers within the company subside. Your once “strong voice” within the company is but a whisper.

b) You find that your once privileged access to certain network resources have now disappeared

c) You start to think that the clients have more respect for you than the employer

d) You notice the seating arrangements for the Christmas party do have been changed so you end up sitting with “Nigel” from accounts.

e) Work is being outsourced from under your nose.

f) Your “inbox” items within your mail are strangely opened, even before you open them.

g) Work becomes a lonely place. The only people that talk to you are those who are a) Nearing retirement b) Those that really need to because some element of the work you do needs input

h) You go away on holiday and upon return find an email requesting the company laptop be returned

10) You have simply had enough

Yes, working for yourself is a great option if you can keep organised. You can stand it no longer, its a big leap working for yourself. But you finally realise you can provide a better service than your old company ever could. You soon start to see the rewards and can sleep at night, knowing that the decisions you have made are the best that you can make. You deliver results for clients and they are happy. You build a solid client base which grows because people know you truly care about what you do. Well done !

You will know you have made the right decision to quit your day job if

1) The company refuses to accept your resignation and try in vain to make silly requests” legally”

2) Shortly after leaving you hear from past employees that tell you it is the best decision you could have ever made.

3)You come to realise that the working environment need not  be an unhealthy place and that in general if you provide a good service, clients will be happy and praise you for the work that you are doing for them.

4) You realise that there is more to life than simply working for other people. You can be your own person.

There is absolutely no assurance that any statement contained in this post in anyway reflects upon my own experiences working at any full service agency and that information is true, correct or precise in any way.

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7 comentarii

  1. un post prea lung pentru duminica dimineata. a citit cineva sa ne faca si noua un rezumat? :P

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  2. Interesant este ca nu pune vreo doua intrebari foarte importante:
    1. ai vreo treaba cu business-ul ala? ai habar sau doar o freci sperand ca nu se prinde nimeni
    2. stii sa faci altceva sau esti capabil sa faci rost de niste clienti pe cont propriu?

    Mai aveai niste masturbei pe aici care o tineau sus si tare ca nu e vina lor ca nu au habar de nimic in business-ul lor, e vina clientului ca nu stie suficient marketing/pr/imagine/whatever ca sa ii ajute. Iti dai seama ce munca pe cont propriu ar face nu?

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  3. Cam toate punctele au adevar pur in ele. Cel mai bine este sa fi propriul tau sef.

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  4. Punctul trei rezonează perfect cu o experiență de-a mea din trecut; la momentul acela mi s-a părut dificil, dar m-am bucurat enorm după.

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  5. Niste idei foarte bune de a vedea cum merge treaba intr-un business. Dar pentru mine ca individ conteaza mai mult persoana mea, decat ‘binele’ companiei. Este normal sa casti un pic ochii si sa intelegi mai mult decat ‘asta e biroul meu, asta fac’, dar decizia de a pleca dintr-un loc depinde si de alti factori. Si probabil cel mai important este VIITORUL pe care crezi ca-l poti avea altundeva, plus o oarecare independenta financiara.

    Nu te apuci sa faci valuri cand stii ca intreaga ‘industrie’ este in bot sau cat abia iti acoperi ratele cu salariul in cauza, neavand macar cateva luni de cheltuieli viitoare acoperite cu economii. Chiar si daca atmosfera dintr-o companie nu mai este chiar asa de frumoasa ca la inceput sau sunt si probleme financiare, daca inca iti pica bine salariul si nu ai alternative, vei tacea din gura si asta este.

    Am fost de doua ori in situatia de a-mi pierde jobul, cand statiile in cauza s-au inchis. Am lucrat 7 ani, respectiv 3 si inceputul este intotdeauna misto, dupa aia se mai impute macaroana. Nu pot spune ca au fost chestii nasoale, doar ca s-au inchis, asa ca ne-am reprofilat care cum am putut.

    Excelent articolul insa, tre’ sa mai arunc un ochi in ograda omului respectiv.

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  6. Daca in loc de smartphone acum aveam articolul asta in mana, pe hartie la baie, ma stergeam la cur cu el.

    Incredibil de plictisitor.

  7. dojo, “neavand macar cateva luni de cheltuieli viitoare acoperite cu economii.”?
    M-am plictisit de cliseul asta.
    Muncesti de 4 ani si nu ai macar “cateva luni de cheltuieli viitoare acoperite cu economii.”? MORI! (bineinteles, banuiesc ca nu e cazul tau :) )

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