Ad Agency Life

Ad Agency Life

When I was a freshman in college attempting to pick a major, I remember being obsessed with the jobs I could get from my potential choices. I agonized over whether I wanted to be a lawyer or civil service employee if I chose political science or if I’d end up being a teacher if I chose English or creative writing. I even took a career exploration elective the spring of my freshman year to help with all my anxieties regarding a major/job choice. I learned one important thing in that class that I am incredibly thankful I carried with me when applying for my first job this past summer: your major does not define your career. 

Anyone still in college regretting their major choice or still unable to choose, say this with me now:

My major does not define my career. 

I ended up declaring a professional strategic communications major, with a focus in public relations. I liked to write, talk, and plan. It seemed pretty perfect and it turned out quite fitting. I enjoyed my classes and I felt competent enough when I graduated that I could perform anything related to marketing, public relations, advertising, or communications. I graduated with an open mind that although I focused my core classes in PR, I was willing to take a job in anything that a) intrigued me and I could feel passionate about and b) was somewhat related to my major.

After getting an interview, call back, and accepting a position as a media buyer / account executive at an advertising agency, I can honestly say that my job is quite different than what I’d intended to do after college – and I couldn’t be happier.

I had no idea this position existed. All the advertising majors I graduated with are probably appalled at that statement, but I didn’t. I was focused on becoming a public relations specialist and eventually director. That was the long term goal. I didn’t see any “media buying” or “account executing” majors at my college. Heck, I didn’t even see this option when pouring through all the jobs-that-have-ever-existed-books in my career exploration class. Thank goodness for fate, because I think I found the dream entry level position for a career in this field.

Wait, what does a media buyer / planner / account exec do, you ask? Well at a bigger agency in a bigger market, there would probably be three different people for all those positions. Bigger agencies handle regional and national accounts versus city and statewide like we do, so each of these titles takes a lot more work. Overall, I’d call myself a media planner. This covers basically everything I do, but in a nut shell I take on clients, get a budget, and then proceed to plan and buy all their media. Since we all love a good meme though…




The last two are so accurate it’s unreal. Don Draper is my spirit animal (when it comes to his work ethic that is), and I make that face at least five times a day when going through e-mails.

Anyway, I’m immensely glad I had someone tell me early on that my major was not the beginning and end of my career options. I came to Alaska with an open mind not only because I had to, but because even if I’d stayed in Minneapolis, focusing solely on public relations positions would have limited my options. It never would have allowed me to find this amazing job that I am energized by and passionate about. I wake up weekday mornings with my head already buzzing excitedly with work related thoughts and ideas. My days are never the same. I have some work that’s consistent and I do each week or each month, but most of it comes spontaneously and at a moment’s notice.

I have never been more excited about my career. 

I’ll leave you with a few pieces of advice from a girl who isn’t very wise yet, but already loves her job and the rest of her life even more.

1) Your major does not define your career (getting Déjà vu yet?)
2) Find a job you’re willing to pour your heart and passion into. You’re selling yourself short if you choose anything less.
3) “No one dies in advertising.” My boss told me this the day he hired me. It’s a saying someone recites at least once a week in our office. My career is important, but it’s not the most important thing.

“Every job from the heart is, ultimately, of equal value. The nurse injects the syringe; the writer slides the pen; the farmer plows the dirt; the comedian draws the laughter. Monetary income is the perfect deceiver of a man’s true worth.” 

– Criss Jami


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