A Junior Copywriter on her First Year in the Ad Business

From the talented mind of Kassie Johnson, Copywriter @ NYCA.

I still consider myself pretty green. Actually, it’s more a light, baby blue. Pantone NYCA, in fact. But only because I know there’s still so much to learn within the walls of kassiethis place tucked so secretly behind the most beautiful ocean cliffs you’ve ever seen. Luckily for me, small agency life has also taught me an invaluable amount in my first year. I’ve learned small things. And big things. Goose-bump, hair-raising, biting your nails from the possible risk of it all sorts of things.

I’ve learned that I’m not above re-filling the spoons and forks in the kitchen, and that I’m a “weird” creative for having my second cup of coffee in the morning before most people have their first. Creatives are not morning people and prefer to work late. They are supposed to show up to work at 9am (or a little after), not 8:30am. EVEN if the official NYCA rulebook tells me 8:30. I’ve learned that creatives don’t have rules.

I’ve learned that deadlines are always looming, there’s an endless amount of post-it notes in the supply closet for this very reason, and that there’s no continuous current in advertising workload–you’re either super busy or painfully slow. I’ve learned that the business management folks get a heck of a lot more emails than I do, and that if you want to get people to a meeting over their lunch hour AND be productive, all you have to do is send out an email with two simple words-free pizza.

I’ve learned that having a big heart can go a long way, that there’s no such thing as being too detailed, that it doesn’t matter if you’ve seen your ads in magazines or on TV for the last 20 years, it’s always pretty cool. I’ve learned there’s an art to great body copy, that you should always go into brainstorms with previously thought of ideas because they look even more brilliant, and that hearing my co-workers tell their new-biz pitch war stories fuels my craving for the opportunity to create my own. I’ve learned I’m not even close to being just a writer. I’m a new business consultant, a health and fitness expert, a creative entrepreneur.

I’ve learned the best ideas never come while sitting at your desk and that being in the creative industry makes you always feel like you can do better. If you had one more day, one more hour, one more Red Bull, just maybe an even better idea will come to you. Or if you could just remember your dreams more than a minute after waking up!

I’ve learned that the quality of work we create is just as important as our relationship with our clients, but that being able to beat them at golf goes a long way too. I’ve learned that it’s only a grow! idea if it’s inspired enough to grow! our clients’ businesses, that everyone has an opinion and you better have one, that polished presentation skills separate the winners from the wannabes and that it’s the HARDEST thing we do. I’ve learned that you should approach every creative presentation as if it’s the best part of your client’s day. Because it is.

I’ve learned that I work with the most tenacious and passionate people in the business. And that everyday we fight to never let each other down because even though we have our own impossibly high standards, we also carry one whole ginormous NYCA standard and that it lives in a place higher than cirrus clouds. I’ve learned that the desire and need to make your bosses proud is very similar to the moment you jumped off the diving board as a kid and screamed “Hey Mom and Dad, watch this!” And that this desire for greatness comes from the insatiable passion that filters down from our people at the top. I’ve learned that I have the most amazing bosses/mentors in the world.

I’ve learned that we’re more than co-workers. We’re a family who celebrates each other’s birthdays, engagements, baby-making, and anniversaries with genuine love and deep-rooted friendship. I’ve learned that I’m proud to be an NYCAer and everything it represents, that it’s possible for your first job to be your dream job, and that even in these difficult economic times, I don’t thank my lucky stars that I have a job, but that I have THIS one.

3 Responses to A Junior Copywriter on her First Year in the Ad Business

  1. Sydney says:

    Kassie, beautifully written!! You’re such a rock star and it’s a pleasure to be working with you. You’ve got some serious writing chops guuuuuurl![z-snap!]

  2. Dave says:

    Awesome Kassie. You’re the one who’s inspiring us.

  3. rob says:

    I used to work there. What you wrote makes me want to come back. NICE!

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