Making the Transition – Corporate to Agency
I worked on the corporate (or client) side for about the first three years out of college. People often refer to the non-agency side as the corporate or client side. For this post, corporate is my word choice because the organization I was employed by handled everything in-house, didn’t have an AOR or utilize an agency for projects.
In the early stages of my career, I often compared my position to that of one working for an agency. I was working in higher education PR for a top-tier graduate school. The b-school has over 50 professors on staff – each with their own expertise. Part of my responsibility was promotion of professors thought leadership and communicating school news externally. As you can imagine, I was at 100% capacity. I also had the notion that since I was serving so many clients (aka professors) agency life would be a synch.
That was until I actually started my first agency position.
After working on the agency side for 10 months, I can officially say that the corporate and agency sides are really different experiences. It’s not just billable hours and client reports, but pace plays a difference.
The corporate side:
Imagine you’re at a traffic light…And you’re waiting for the light to turn green…and you’re still waiting for the light to turn green….wait for it… wait for it… Ok maybe there’s a mechanical issue with the traffic light? We better get the police in here to direct traffic and see if cars can pass.
Holy cow! Did you see how fast that car went right by when the light turned green?
Tasks come quick and decisions are made even quicker in agency life. The corporate side is almost always slower paced.
I highly recommend entry and mid-level practitioners acquire experience on both sides during the early stages of their career.
Have you worked on both sides? What similarities and differences do you see between the two?