Saturday, November 3, 2018

It's Alright, it's OK

I've really been liking this song that showed up on my release radar playlist on Spotify. It's called "It's Alright" by a band called Mother Mother. Take a listen! I've included some of the choruses below:

"It's alright, it's ok, it's alright, it's ok
you're not a monster, just a human
and you've made a few mistakes.

It's alright, it's ok, it's alright, it's ok
you're not gruesome, just human
and you've made a few mistakes.
It's alright. It's ok.

It's alright, it's ok, it's alright, it's ok
you're not a demon, there's a reason
you behave in that way.

It's alright, it's ok, it's alright, it's ok
and I believe, yes I believe,
 that you will see a better day.
It's alright. It's ok.”

I have to be honest, this week has run me over. I've had a serious case of imposter syndrome at work...what am I doing there? What do I have to contribute? When will they find out I really shouldn't be there? As managers we came up against mistakes that our team members made that cost the agency a lot of money, and we have to be accountable for them and also communicate that those mistakes can't be happening. This isn't the first time this has happened, though it was a different type of mistake, so I had to defend one of my employees against angry executives that only see those mistakes and don't see the growth and effort. I understand that this is a manager's job, but I've been trying to figure out if I fit into this.

We've also had a lot of interviews this week with prospective employees, and I realized that I haven't nailed down a good description of my role. I stumble in my introduction...not fully able to find the words to capture my thoughts about what I do and describe it genuinely.

My current intro: "My name's Katie, I'm the Manager of Paid Search Services & Development. I manage a team of strategists, specialists and coordinators and also manage Paid Search and Shopping strategy across the department to make sure we're consistent, aligned with best practices and innovating across accounts (buzzword, buzzword, buzzword). I created a training program for our department to make sure that new people coming in are fully supported and know who to ask questions to so they're not drowning, which is the development piece of my role.”

It always feels fake when I say it. I don't know why. Maybe because it doesn't acknowledge the journey...I came into advertising with a psych degree. I knew absolutely nothing. When I started at my last agency, there was no one to ask for help and we had to figure it out. I remember the complete panic of being given a task (and every task felt monumental) and not getting full direction. As I progressed at my agency I never wanted anyone else to have that same feeling, so I became the unofficial trainer.

When I came to my new agency, I fell into a similar role of unofficial trainer. Account leads were too stressed to train and utilize their junior-level support people, and our support people were feeling useless and not learning anything. On top of that, our strategists weren't talking to each other and everyone had their own way of doing things. I made time to give people help, pushing aside the work for my 8 client accounts to prioritize other people. But I would still have to get the client work done, which just left me extremely burned out. So after about a year of that, I decided that I needed to make my training role official or I would leave. My boss listened and supported me in an awesome way by helping me to create it. And in creating my role and making it successful, I enabled other people to have a similar role across departments. Now there is a training program in place to make sure that new people coming in are fully supported and know who to ask questions to so they're not left high and dry.

Do I like advertising? Not really. It was fun at first but now I'm over the daily revenue goals and lack of small wins. Do I like supporting people? Absolutely. And management allows me to do that directly. However, there's a lot of other things that come with that in this management role, and I've been taking a good hard look at how I want to move forward.

When I have these rough weeks, it's helpful to remember the journey. It's also helpful to remember that things can always change. I can either change them for myself, or I can be open that they'll change on their own. At my old agency I remember when they dissolved my team and moved everyone into sections with their new teams...except me. They gave me a lone cube in the hallway, with no neighbors. I remember thinking that I could be coloring in a corner and they wouldn't have cared. BUT. Things changed. I moved into a team, I reasserted myself and created a new position at the agency for myself and others at my level who were forced to do things above our pay grade. I left that agency having felt that I made an impact.

I've said a lot of not nice things about myself this week, that catch me off guard and remind me that I am always a work in progress. And I'm grateful for people who listen and support, and allow me to have my ugly thoughts but also help combat them. I normally hold it together so other people can be themselves, but it's been a refreshing, humbling and slightly anxiety-inducing experience to have that for myself. So far, I haven't scared anyone away. :) I'm alright, I'm ok.

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