A month into working for HPS Group as a Copywriter and the fact I’m no longer an agency virgin is still sinking in. Friends’ reactions to my pursuit of agency work ranged from barely-disguised disapproval to outright discouragement. Bolstered by horror stories of late nights and nightmare bosses, the overarching opinion was that, ‘agency life is hard; you won’t be able to hack it’. Fortunately, others wished me well, citing their own agency years as the most prolific of their lives and cementing my opinion that ‘agency-side’ should read synonymously with ‘variety’, ‘creativity’ and ‘fun’.
Maybe you’ve been working here for a while and will agree, or perhaps you’ve come across this blog while browsing HPS team vacancies. Either way, read on for an honest appraisal of what I’ve learnt about agency life during my first month at HPS Group.
It’s a learning curve, every day
From different brands’ Tone of Voice to the latest developments in automotive technology, working on lots of different projects means it’s possible to learn something new every day. When you’re writing in-house it’s easy for your habits to become ingrained; your mind saturated with everything there is to know about your one special subject. In an agency your mind remains agile, invigorated on a daily basis by new information and challenges. The best part is, at HPS all this learning can have a real-world application, too. Useful nuggets of information regarding APR, CO2 and BIK become embedded within your consciousness, transforming you into a more believable adult (if you weren’t one already).
Time is precious
I can’t say how refreshing it is to work in an environment where time equals money. Allocating a measure of time to a certain project means that you can dedicate your full concentration to the task in hand. Similarly, it is acceptable and justifiable to say, “Sorry, I’m booked out – but I can do it tomorrow”. Not that charging for your time automatically culls an ambitious work ethic - we all go above and beyond. It’s just good to know that everyone’s on the same page, and able to measure and respect each other’s time accordingly. I’d always heard that time is a valuable commodity, and in an agency more so than in-house, this is certainly proven to be true.
Learn from the best
Work in a marketing agency and you’ll be surrounded by a network of likeminded individuals who will teach and inspire. A bubbling amalgamation of diversely talented backgrounds and experiences all in one place, the agency boiling pot throws the juniors in with the seniors, the creatives with the analytics, the experts with the ground breakers. It’s a great place to feed on each other’s ideas while gleaning career-shaping insights from those with more experience.
It’s a lifestyle
Something about the agency environment – or HPS, at least – exudes flexibility. Everybody gets their head down to work hard, sure, but we also get to enjoy downtime and coffee rounds and inappropriate conversations and free stuff and dogs and more dogs and cakes and barbecues. I’ve learnt that there can be such a thing as having fun at work, and as time goes on I’m finding that this warm, fun-loving atmosphere not only promotes company loyalty but also makes it a whole lot easier to get up for work in the mornings.
In conclusion, I hope I have managed to put into words all that’s great about working in an agency. For a first-timer, the experience has been pleasantly surprising. When I turned up on my first day, a very small part of me was expecting to be met with a ‘Devil Wears Prada’ culture (an idea stemming from an ex-colleague’s rather misguided analogy). In reality, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Plus, HPS is more of a trainers and jeans kind of place.