Agency Life: Embracing New Roles and Realities

By | November 23, 2011
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I’m a huge fan of the Wall Street Journal blog The Juggle (@TheJuggle), which features articles on coordinating work and life, and the tradeoffs therein. This resource took on new meaning when I found out I was expecting, exactly one year ago.

As vice president of PR 20/20, responsible for agency administration and client services, I felt that my years of managing multiple roles – and watching peers successfully perform the balancing act – would have prepared me to handle the challenges of starting a family. 

The Reality

It was only after my son arrived this summer that I realized calling this new life the light-hearted term of “the juggle,” was about as accurate as calling childbirth “the tickle.” It was like being promoted to a position without past experience. But also understanding, that as hard as I've worked in my career, that this new role is in a league of its own.

Babies aren't an inbox that you can get to when convenient, and frankly, you don’t want to miss a single moment, even when tears are involved (not always theirs).

Decisions like transitioning back to the office, managing childcare, and how to battle colic, all weighed heavier than any decision that I’ve had to make in my career. At the same time, I never could’ve predicted how fortunate I would feel to have such awesome responsibilities. And I know I'm far from alone.

The Choices at Hand

In the workplace, it can be hard to concentrate on the big picture when the rest of your life is centered on meeting the needs of now. This is where ultimate choices are made between what you are willing to do for yourself and your business for the future, and what you have to, and want to, do in the present.

Perhaps it’s caring for a child, friend, parent or relative, diving into an exciting new relationship, pursuing a life-long passion, or doing volunteer work for a worthy cause: all things that take a full heart and an open mind (or an open heart and your full concentration). All of these things challenge the time and efforts you are able to put into your agency and career advancement.

Although society has moved toward a fuzzy picture of a work/life blend, we have to work to find ways to give our employees and ourselves the chance to thrive in roles that bring meaning to the lives of others. Easier said than done, but critical to pursue.  

Making it Work For Your Agency

It’s true that job demands have changed in recent years due to social media, mobile accessibility and the 24/7 news cycle, among other factors. Here are some ways that we are addressing these issues, and we are interested in hearing about things that you are doing, or want to try, at your agency:

  • Engaging and empowering employees in transformative agency projects. When you are working on something that can have major impact on the business and your future, these endeavors can bring excitement, and give new meaning to hours spent inside and outside of the office.
  • Creating efficient workplace atmospheres, policies and systems, to allow for maximum productivity for time in office, and more uninterrupted time in the home or for personal pursuits.
  • Employing mobile technologies to give employees the opportunity for flex scheduling that works within their job role. 

How do You Cope?

With all life throws at us, how do you find time in your schedule – and room in your conscience – to stay focused on your business and career goals? Please add to our comments below.

A Good Read for Thanksgiving Weekend: Clayton Christensen, one of our favorite authors here, who’s also featured in The Marketing Agency Blueprint, offers some powerful thoughts in his Harvard Business Review article, “How Will You Measure Your Life?”

A Good Video: Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook, offers three tips for women on balancing personal lives while pursuing the C-Suite: Sheryl Sandberg: Why we have too few women leaders | Video on