Vedashree Khambete
May 12, 2011

Veda’s Blog: So Long And Thanks For All The S**T

Mudra’s Vedashree Khambete says if you’re planning to stick on in advertising, keep your bridges nice and fire-proof

Veda’s Blog: So Long And Thanks For All The S**T

General knowledge question: What’s the most blissful period of an advertising professional’s life?

That afterglow of a Cannes win, you’re thinking. Maybe those two and a quarter days of annual leave you manage to wrangle. The day just after a pitch. The day just after a brand launch. The day just after the Friday night spent binging at Ambience (the bar, I meant the bar, I swear).

Yeah, not really.

The correct answer lies in two simple, everyday words which collectively create a strange sort of magic. One of them is ‘period’. The other is ‘notice’.

Together, they spell the thirty day phase between putting in your papers and waving a merry goodbye to the agency you’ve called home for the past few years / months/ weeks/ days.

Paid leave, some call it. These are usually the people who spend their last month in an agency sauntering in at noon and strolling out at 4:00 pm, with a smirk on their faces and a spring in their step. They crib about their bosses, their brands and the agency to anyone who’ll listen. Because they don’t care anymore.

Does that make them carefree? Sure. Suicidal? Also.

Because like it or not, we ad guys and gals talk. A lot. About new campaigns and old warhorses, about scam ads and shitty clients, about Piyush Pandey’s CTC and whether increments will be late this year.

And about people who’re real bitches to work with.

Slackers, fakers, idea-stealers, whiners, retards and those who’re a little… weird. We talk about all of you. To our team-mates and our classmates and people from other agencies we occasionally drink with and sometimes, the barman at Toto’s.

So if you thought it was really cool the way you stormed into your boss’s office, let loose a string of expletives and threw a piece of paper on his face that said, “I quit, bitch”, boy, have you got it wrong.

Because if you’ve grown up in India, you must be familiar with the theory of karma: what goes around, comes around to bite you in the ass.

Say after you join in the new place (there’s always a new place, nobody believes the “I’m taking a break for a few months” line anymore), you spend some quality time there, doing decent work and having fun in general. Then your boss quits and his boss hires a creative hotshot in his place - “You’ve heard of him, right? I think you used to report to him in your last agency”.

Or, you really do take a break and apply to a few places in that time. One by one, they all call their friends in the industry for references and end up speaking to, you guessed it, your ex-boss. Or his best friend. Or his girlfriend. Or his wife. Or his sister. Or the guy who’s desperate to get into his good books. And then, all of a sudden, NOBODY is looking for a copywriter with four years of experience and 3 D&AD silvers to his name.

Funny old place, advertising. Tinier than a flea’s fingertip with egos big enough to form a protective covering over China. And petty too, let’s not forget. But that’s why we all fit in so nicely together. So that’s okay.

The point being, if you’re planning to leave, do it with a little dignity. And once the ink has dried on your resignation letter, curb all those stray endorphins. Yes, yes, you’re thrilled to bits that you’re finally out of *insert appropriate simile to Hell* and your heart’s doing somersaults that would put Prabhudeva to shame. Nobody needs to know. Come to work on time, do whatever work they make you and leave without bursting into a sarcastic song. People don’t like drama queens, especially if they’ve just got a pay hike and the chance to work on Nike worldwide.

And don’t assume that you’re bidding goodbye to these people, this agency, forever. Don’t fool yourself into believing that you’ll never see them again. Because there are no absolutes in this industry, see. ‘Forever’ doesn’t last forever. And ‘never’ never really had a chance.

Vedashree Khambete is an ACD with Mudra, a writer at heart and a coffee-addict by vocation.


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