No matter how much good feedback I get and how well received my work is by clients, I constantly assume I’m about to be called in to the CEO’s office and fired.

Why is that?

likesmart
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Because this industry is filled with phonies, assholes and backstabbers?

likehelpful

I think the imposter syndrome is definitely part of it. I also think that there’s a direct relationship between how much you try to do well at work, and how afraid you are of stumbling. Also, I think a lot of us in this field are over-evolved to our unstable, high pressure environments. Say there’s a zebra that has evolved an extra good intuition of knowing when lions are nearby. That’s a great way to survive. But eventually, the longer the zebra survives with this intuition, the more likely it will be that the zebra will perceive lions everywhere. Soon it may even think that it perceives lions where there are no lions. So we’re the zebras, trying to recognize and eliminate our failures in order to stay employed. Eventually we start seeing our failures everywhere, even where there are no failures.

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@ACD1 that was really well articulated.

You’re fired anyway.

likefunny

@ACD1 I wish I perceived Lions everywhere...

likefunny

Because you’re RIGHT. I’be been let go in the middle of production and right after winning awards and pitches. The agency doesn’t give a shit about you, and the only way you’re safe is if you can take the client with you.

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@Grey1 I don’t know I think it’s more of a guilty conscience and inferiority complex

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Yeah, @C1 in some sense my problem is not enough lions

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For over 20 years I’ve felt some form of this.

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We're all pretty close to being laid off. You're feeling the personal version of what every agency feels, that no matter how cheap they make everything, they're five minutes from being dropped by a client.

We're not in charge of anything anymore, that's what's going on. We're not in charge of the product we're making, or the financial decisions that go into making it. I know it doesnt help with the stress, but I'd say the way you're feeling is pretty realistic honestly.

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D. All of the Above

I totally relate to this

Realism is what I call it.

Because you know you’re expensive

None of the above. It's because the industry isn't doing well, and it isn't about performance, it is about shrinking bottomline.

When good people are fired, it's not a performance issue, it is removing the position.

The tighter they pull the rope, the more agencies tighten as well; timesheet audits, reducing redundancy, etc.

I've also witnessed senior leadership folks get fired because they are not aligned with automation and data science. These initiatives are important to allow the agency to avoid hiring for menial tasks (reports etc). Usually it is the case of that senior leader wanting to do things the 'old way' or the way that they are familiar with.

But either reason boils down to the same point: the industry isn't doing well and they need to reduce what they deem as redundant.

Everyone thank you for your input. It’s actually interesting to hear everyone’s take on this because I think it’s an interesting look in to the psyche of our industry - our opinions of others always mirror our opinions of ourselves and it definitely sounds like we have an issue with insecurity about our jobs as a group.

I haven’t been fired yet either so there’s that.

after 23 years in this business, I can tell you there are two modes of living agency life: 1) busy as all get out with your hair on fire and no relief in sight. Working nights, weekends, and traveling constantly while you wonder why nobody is noticing your contributions and you haven’t had a raise in 3 years. And then there is 2) work slows down to where you are coming in at 10am and leaving by 5:30, with time to grab coffee and go to doctor appointments during the workday. Meanwhile, you are terrified you are about to be laid-off because you’re suddenly only doing the work of 1 person instead of 3. This industry completely sucks donkey balls. It is not a career. It is a hobby that has diminishing returns the longer you are in it.

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