Integrity 101 — learn to cobble your own cowboy boots Agency boys.

I like it here.

I’m outside, its like my sentence is up, this written by me, not a copy written post by an overpaid writer, and done without any intention other than just to write how I feel. It’s an honest, of the moment, piece. I don’t care if you like it or not, I don’t care if you share it or comment and I like that.

I have been thinking a lot recently about my experience, my employers and employees, the good and the bad — what would I tell my 20 year old self, would I change anything etc- the list goes on. Ultimately though, I’ve concluded that regardless of position, employer and level of seniority, there will always be an element of ‘pissing in the wind’ at work seeking perfection is the biggest and most annoying trait I have ever encountered. Nothing is ever perfect. So lesson 1 — Working for people seeking perfection is the worst type of person to work for, and second best is sometimes good enough.

I like the majority of people I currently work with, and in all other client side jobs, I’ve liked them too, of course theres the exception but interestingly I disliked 99% of the people in agency land, there are so many insane megalomaniacs it makes your head spin, they are so overbearing Alpha male and female it makes me want to just take them in a dark room and lock it — combine that with power hungry, yet ultimately dominant but stupid execs and young naive grads who just ‘want the money’ and you have three of the worst type of people to work with. Dont let the people pick you — you pick the people Lesson 2 — if you go Agency, build it yourself

Agency land also had an interesting distorted view of itself — you hear the word ‘Brand’ and ‘Strategy’ about 6 million times a day, closely followed by ‘Integrity’ and ‘challenge’ — most of the time it’s meaningless drivel being spouted even more meaningless agency monkeys who have forgotten what real life is. Because ultimately 99% of agencies would sell their soul for a six figure retainer, Integrity and Strategy go out the window because there’s money to be made (I’m actually laughing thinking about it) Lesson 3 — Be honest with yourself, whoever you work for. If you’re in it for the money be honest!

“Cobbling our own shoes” was one of my most overused terms in agency land, why? because there was never enough money or time to do what we sell. In all of my agencies, most of the time, our website, content, social and marketing in general was dreadful, and for a marketing agency that isn’t great. Of course — the reason was because we had so much client work on and winning ALL that business and being so successful was coming at a cost — our own marketing. It worked, as most half decent sales people in an agency can wing this, but it’s not great — and the worst thing of all you start to believe your own lies. Lesson 4 — Money is the root of all evil

Look at an agency website, it should absolutely nail it on every level, be cutting edge but not egotistical or narcissistic design, copy which is written by someone who knows how to write and have a sophisticated, understated UX where users are spending three of four times longer on your site than they had initially anticipated (you may even get a download :) Lesson 5 — a bit of time on personal hygiene may cost time and money but it’s worth it.

Ultimately, there is a bigger issue here — too big for today, but ALL agencies try to be different, ALL agencies tell us their unique, messaging, customers, B2C, B2B, the list goes on. Ironically though, and the best part of this, it makes NO difference, they’ll take the job, whether a tiny social media campaign for a small B2C client or a big brief of ‘brand strategy’ (ugh!) and customer insight — they’ll take them all. The values and integrity mean nothing — because have no integrity. Lesson 6 — If you work for an agency — whatever they say in the interview etc — you’ll be working on whatever business comes in. Forget anything else.

I have plans, I don’t want to work beyond whats necessary. I actually want to retire and just run half marathons all over the world, we’ll have to see what happens there but I also feel I have learned so much from an eclectic career, and met a such insane, inspirational, fake, neurotic people along the way (including me — many of who think I am all of these too) I’d like to think I can spot a good un and a phoney. Which ends on the one thing I never paid ANY attention to Lesson 7 — Follow advice of people who you can trust, and who have been there.