Last week I started a new job at a new agency. For about a month and a half before that I was laid off. My old agency, WonderGroup, did some restructuring, and my continued employment there was not in the plan. I wasn't the only one.
I don't have much bad to say about my old agency. I had fun while working there and did good work. I met great people and not so great people, but everyone I met had something to teach me. The pay was (relatively) low and the benefits were nonexistent, but in the current economy, I felt lucky to have a job.
My new situation is better. I was lucky to secure a job for better compensation than I had before. A lot of people can't say the same, forced to take jobs for lower pay than before—a fact our unemployment statistics hide.
I didn't post while I was laid off for a few reasons. Firstly, writing and even reading blogs is leisure activity for me. I do it during lulls at work, or when I feel I've earned or require a break from what I'm doing. Being out-of-work, I felt like I didn't deserve leisure time.
Secondly, I'm not brave in my vulnerability. I remember reading Erik Proux's Please Feed The Animals when it first started up and being impressed by the guts it took to put oneself out there after being canned. Erik's whole project still blows me away, especially when his wife posts about making things meet from the spouse's perspective. It's easy (at least for me) to get overwhelmed by feeling sorry for myself, and Mrs. Proux's perspective makes me think of how my own wife must feel at times.
Now that I've landed somewhere else, I can give this advice to the aspiring ad-boys and -girls out there: Get noticed. Your work may be great, but it probably looks a lot like the rest of the great work out there. Make yourself unforgettable, whether it's with your portfolio design, website, cover letter, or, even better, an interesting or admirable non-advertising project. Do something that will make other people have to meet you, just to see what kind of person you are.
I didn't come up with this pearl on my own. In fact I stole it from PFTA. But I'm still proud to pass it along. With any luck, we'll all come out of this recession better off, even if that only means a little wiser and more grateful than we were before.