Week 8, Pt.II

Office culture and wanting to do better.

I’ve worked a couple different places — intern at a nonprofit, retail at JCPenney, in the library at USC, doing sales for an energy company and most recently as a graduate assistant. I’m also now the press secretary for the Graduate Student Association and a culture scout for an Omnicom agency, sparks and honey.

Of the companies (everywhere except USC) I’ve worked for, I can’t say I’ve ever been excited to go to work. No one gets excited to go work in retail, refolding the same clothes over and over and dealing with customers who think you’re personally responsible for their coupon expiring.

Every company wants to have an office culture.

Because office culture gives you something to buy into and makes you want to go the extra mile. But so often it turns cultish. I’ve heard that word in passing conversations about some of the big tech companies around here.

New mug, new me.

But BBDO is different.

BBDO SF has a list of 10 people values they look for in employees, like bouncing back from disappointment and bringing energy and positivity instead of draining it.

Every day I wake up and I’m excited to see what the day has in store for me. I’ve said before that no day is same here.

Every assignment is its own tree. You start with one question as the trunk of the tree. Then as you research and learn and take in information, you start to fill out the branches. And the more you learn, but more critical your lens becomes. You question some of the assumptions in the things you read because information starts to conflict. And that’s where you see the leaves.

And this office makes me want it to always be Spring.

I can’t let any of my assignment trees not be in full bloom.

I have developed a care for the clients I work on to the point that if I see their building when I’m out walking around, I think to myself, “That’s my client right there.”

I want the best for them because I get to put my brain to use helping figure out what’s best for them. I get to sit down and think about the most abstract questions like, “what does better mean?” And from that, you start to answer fundamental business questions or maybe alter your positioning for a product or service. Or maybe it leads to some key strategic insight that sparks an epiphany of creativity from a creative. That’s what I get to do. And I’m only an intern.

I came into graduate school trying to figure out if I could do this anthropology and ethnography thing in a business setting. Now I’m convinced I can. I was considering maybe shifting my class focus from advertising to PR, but I’m pretty sure advertising is where I need to do.

I’ve been here almost exactly two months. I’ve got two more weeks in the office.

I’ll be damned if I don’t finish strong.

Thanks for reading.



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