I've had an entire week of work at an ad agency and I can easily say that it's been my best work experience so far. I know - I'm shocked, too! For the first time in my life, I'm not getting paid to work eight hours a day and who knows, maybe that's what makes it so chill and rewarding at the same time. Because I don't have to be there. Not for credit. Not for money. Just to soak it all in and try to learn something. For all of the trash talk about agency work, it's exactly what I expected (and hoped) it would be.
Let's start with the building:
Euro RSCG 4D is in the Pearl District of Portland, taking up the 4th and 5th floors of the Pearl Building. It's an old brick structure that has that wonderfully artsy feel of an unfinished studio. The brick walls and wood floors and light, airy atmosphere are juxtaposed with the flashing neon lights, awards, sculptures, paintings, and advertisements that provide decoration and feed creative thought.
And the people:
I was pleasantly surprised to find on day one that I have many colleagues with a common alma mater. We could seriously stand and sing the fight song at a staff meeting and do it justice. Although I'm not sure the many grads of the U would let us get away with it. The people are friendly, funny, down-to-earth, and very hard workers.
And the work:
Can I just say it's really rewarding to actually use something that I learned in school. Suddenly the thousands of dollars that I poured into college tuition have become meaningful outside of the academic realm! But that's the beautiful thing about it... I'm not just using what I know, but I'm learning a lot, too. I am given assignments that are doable, but still help me grow. Currently I'm working on three accounts: Adobe, Barclays Global Investors, and the Allstate Foundation.
Aside from work, Portland has been a great place to live. As I was driving home from work on Thursday, I saw a pink Cadillac. And then when I went to Kinkos, the guy behind the counter was wearing more makeup that I ever have in my life. I wonder what it feels like to put mascara on as a man. Is it bad that I find that sort of thing slightly entertaining?
Among other observations:
When I was coming home on the Max a few days ago, a couple got on the train and I couldn't help but watch them. They were in their late thirties and there was something about them that told me that they had been together for a long time; they were obviously married. But at the same time there was this aura surrounding them... like they had just met and fallen in love over the past few days. They seemed so free, so unrestrained, and so caught up in each other but with a common enthrallment for everything around them and the possibilities ahead. Everything about them screamed of their mutual fascination. It's amazing what you can perceive just by watching people for a few scattered moments.