Over 40 in Advertising

I just wanted to share this reflection, as I will be 50 this year. After having spent almost all my adult life working in agencies, I finally decided to go client side. I just became tired of chasing the dreams of advertising glory, and ran out of steam. I am trying to understand now this new environment I am in, but I can tell that people are way more grounded and nicer. The work is not as exciting but quality of life is already better. I’ll take the second over the first, any time.

likeupliftingsmart
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I just went client side, and into tech. The days end at 5 pm. And ... no timesheets!

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likesmart
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Exactly the same.

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Same! I’m so much happier and just went client-side 6 months ago.

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likesmarthelpful
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I always thought that the day I left the advertising world would cataclysmic for myself. It was the only thing I knew. The reality is that I quit, collected some boxes and left my last job of nine years without any pomp and circumstance. Nobody really cared much. I am not saying it’s been easy, but it hasn’t been as difficult as I ever imagined.

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Can you advise how and where to find these opportunities? I am 50 and really would love to consider client side but never see any opportunities. Are there specific companies or industries or ways of searching that you can suggest?

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We need people over 50 to STAY! We can’t all abandon the industry and then bemoan the lack of people over 50. I’m hopeful that we are seeing more of us turn 50 inside agencies and we might actually be able to normalize it!

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Any tips on how to do it? I’m definitely wanting to take the plunge but I wonder how to position myself and what to look out for. I’m in the data and analytics marketing space and I know there’s got to be a better life than this. Chasing the dollar and constantly being questioned by the client about our worth... all the while with the threat of losing the account next time. It’s tiring and not the world I want to live in.

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It wasn’t easy, I can tell you that. It took me really long to find the right opportunity ( I am in a secondary market and opportunities are somehow scarce). I was lucky I was offered the same salary I was making, but given my level of dissatisfaction I would have taken a reasonable pay cut. Persistence and focus. That’s the only tip I think I can give.

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Been dreaming of making this move. Have never been able to make it happen. I’m 53 and fully expect “to be sent to the farm” any day now

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I joined client side and it took a bit to find the right role. My advice is don’t rely on titles—they don’t equate well. Network and be open to jobs that might not first sound like a fit. Focus on your skills and be prepared to talk how they align with a company’s vision even if the workflow is different.

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Excellent advice.

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I too want to feel this way. I’m done with agencies , holding companies and the buzzword churn masking the same same but slightly different. I’ve reached out HR people and so forth but finding it hard to get any responses.

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Keep looking. Don’t loose focus. It took me LONG time. That’s why I shared my story here. It’s not easy but it’s not impossible.

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likehelpful
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What I’ve found is that brand side jobs are so hard to get when many or most of them seem to insist on previous brand side experience. That ol’ catch 22...

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likesmart
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I find this catch 22 with agencies more than in-house

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I moved from agency to client side in tech, but I’m in the Bay Area so ymmv. I started by freelancing as a Sr. CW at a well-known rideshare company. Leveraged that experience to get a FT spot in a similar company in SF. So far, so good. Pay isn’t quite as good, but it’s always an 8 hour day with virtually no stress (which has been amazing).

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Sr AD OP, if you don’t mind my asking, what type of day to day work are you doing on the client side? How do your art direction skills translate? i.e., are you concepting, designing marketing materials, using Adobe programs, or something like Sketch? What type of work is there versus what you did for clients on the agency side? Thanks!

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Thanks for the reply! Sounds great and agree 100% with your feelings. I’m in the same boat, and would welcome a transition like this. Not sure how to go about finding in-house, but will start investigating. Best of luck to you!

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SR AD OP, CD1 and SVP Strategy. Curious if you have any advice on what age or level getting out of advertising into corporate yields the best result. I am 40 and just got promoted to CD last week. I want to move to corporate eventually for sure. Trying to figure out when is the best time. Stick it out for 3/4 years and leave with a few years as CD under my belt or leave now so I can make deeper connections within the corporate world to be able to navigate it better.

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CD1 that is solid advice. And we don’t keep our books up to date at all. I had this problem when I got canned. I was not prepared. It’s like the old story of the ant and the grasshopper. 🐜 Be the ant! Now I force myself to keep my website updated, and get all the assets from any project together as soon as the job ends. We should always be ready!

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