After hearing horrific tales about how dreadful agency life can be, I left my “cushy”, albeit exhausting, in-house marketing job of 10 years, in search of the truth and a new challenge. I knew the only way to know if all the rumors were true or if agencies were getting a bad rep, would be through experiencing it for myself. Would RevUnit have the culture other agencies purported to have and be cutthroat, hierarchical and have long hours or would they be a godsend?
I was not happy or engaged in my current position, so with some trepidation, I took the plunge and dove into agency life. To start with, RevUnit is not your typical agency. While we do digital marketing we are not purely a marketing agency, rather we are a full suite digital agency. This basically means we do it all - from product development to rapid prototyping, web or mobile, SEO to content strategy, there are many dimensions to RevUnit. Add to that the startup mentality and innovative approach and you have a wholly unique experience.
Here are the 5 truths I’ve discovered about agency life:
1.Healthy work/life balance is encouraged.
I have found one of the greatest benefits of RevUnit life is their emphasis on a healthy work/life balance. Working in-house, my schedule was anything but an easy 8-5 jaunt. Over time, the domino effect of constant late hours led to the neglect of my family and health. My life was being impacted negatively, and I had to make a change.
Being a part of RevUnit, affords me the option of working from home, the office, or out of the country. This is contrary to the typical agency life that demands long hours, including weekends.
I’m not saying that we never burn the midnight oil, when we need to get things done we do, but RevUnit offsets it by offering unlimited vacation time —within reason of course- and flexibility. I love the feeling of freedom and autonomy that this philosophy affords me.
2.No one is out to sabotage you and steal your job.
A reality of the marketing industry is that backstabbers, manipulators, and career assassins are prevalent, whether you are in-house or at an agency. However, that has not been my experience at RevUnit. At this agency, employees collectively created the value statement, “I got your back, you’ve got mine,” which fosters a culture of trust and teamwork. RevUnit also prides itself on being a workplace of great learning and sharing. On a daily basis, I witness my co-workers investing in one another, thereby, strengthening our bond and our product. Yet another agency myth debunked!
3.You’ll never hear “We’ve always done it this way.”
At an in-house marketing department, you are far more likely to hear, “We’ve always done it this way,” words I’ve never heard at RevUnit. Routine and fear of the new and untried often lead to stagnation and a refusal to try new things and grow. It’s easier and much more comfortable to just stick to the status quo.
My role at RevUnit has been anything but the status quo, in fact, the idea of, “getting comfortable with being uncomfortable,” is a philosophy RevUnit embraces. Pushing the boundaries of your comfort zone is essential if you want to learn and grow; after all, from the discomfort of sand a pearl is formed. In contrast to my previous experience, we embrace the latest tools, trends, and tech. That innovative spirit and the ability to adapt and grow is the very heart of our culture.
4. Variety is the spice of agency life.
If you have a need for predictability and a high level of structure, then in-house marketing might be ideal for you. You are afforded the ability to immerse yourself into a single brand’s marketing strategy. Generally speaking, it’s less stressful (not by much) and on a good day, you are able to prioritize your duties at a fairly reasonable pace.
Don’t get me wrong, working in-house required me to wear many different hats, but the deadlines were not as stringent as being at an agency.
RevUnit has provided me the opportunity to work on a plethora of projects that have, in turn, expanded my skill set. Being exposed to all aspects of the organization, has made it ideal for personal development and growth. Our work is always interesting and challenging, so you’re never in danger of falling into a rut and becoming complacent.
5. Ditching the business suit and heels for jeans and a hoodie.
One of the biggest culture shocks for me has been adapting from dresses to denim. Most in-house marketing departments allow their employees to participate in casual Friday, just don’t make the mistake of being too casual on ‘Casual Friday.’ RevUnit has been the polar opposite, by easing the strict corporate dress code and allowing jeans and a tee shirt to be worn on every day that ends in the letter ‘y’. Granted, any time that we are meeting with a client, our dress will suit the occasion. At agencies, casual dress is increasingly becoming the norm.
The Verdict Is In
I’ve learned you should not allow others to discourage you from pursuing something new. Had I believed all of the naysayers and their doom and gloom stories about agency life, I would have missed out on an amazing opportunity. At RevUnit, my hours are not insane, co-workers are always looking out for me, creativity and self-expression is encouraged, each day brings a new and exciting challenge, and the casual attire is actually quite liberating.
Whether in-house or at an agency, everyone’s experience is unique, and each marketer must determine for themselves which work environment works best for them. Truth be told, I’m glad that I’ve taken the plunge into these new, uncharted waters by transitioning from in-house to agency life.