HOW TO BECOME AN ACCOUNT EXECUTIVE AT A CREATIVE AGENCY

WITH IMOGEN JUDD

Insanely funny, and one of the best colleagues I’ve ever had the pleasure of working with, I will be forever indebted to Imogen for making my move to Bristol an easy one. Graduating only just over a year ago, she’s making big shapes in the industry already, working at one of Bristol’s finest agencies.

Here’s what she had to say about how she does it and how you can, too.

What does your average day look like?

From the very beginning? My alarm goes off at 6am and I then snooze that mother like my life depends on it for a solid half an hour (who doesn’t want to feel like they’ve cheated their way to an extra 30 mins of sweet snoozin’?) Then I get up, I shower, I make a cafetiere, have a bowl of porridge and watch the news. I know what you’re thinking – girl, why are you telling us about breakfast? That ain’t gonna do shit for my career. Well, I’m sorry to tell you that you’re wrong.

A good morning routine will do you WONDERS. Once I’m full of porridge and coffee, I’ve got more than enough time to slap my face on, amble to work, pick up a hot bev on the way, and still get to the office a decent hour early, which leaves me feeling chilled and ready for the day. After that, it doesn’t really matter what I’m doing because I’m feeling super zen about the whole situation.

Although, for those that are interested, a day in the life of an account handler at a creative agency goes a little something like this: Clear inbox, bosh out a couple of briefs while the office is still quiet, coffee, first meeting of the day, phone call, work out how the hell you can fit a three day project into the 5 minutes of design time that remains in the resource calendar, phone call, more emails, lunch, raise a few million invoices, another meeting, chase the studio for design work, emails, emails, phone call, emails, huge panic that you’re going to miss the deadline, designer smugly pulls entire project out of his arse at very last minute, send to client, home (sneakily check emails on toilet to lessen tomorrow’s inbox clearing).

What made you apply for the job in the first place?

I was pretty lucky, to be honest; I knew the Group Account Director and she recommended me for the role. Pretty dreamy really, since that role happened to be within the food and drink team – I work largely with drinks brands, restaurants, and bars – and eating and drinking are my two main hobbies. It’s now part of my job to stay up to date with the latest openings and releases. That’s right; making my way around Bristol’s seemingly ceaseless tranche of new restaurants and bars is now considered market research. I love my job.

If you had to name 3 defining factors in getting you to this point in your career, what would they be?

  1. Being told repeatedly as a teenager that I’d be a great teacher. I have the greatest admiration in the world for teachers, they are absolute saints, but being pigeonholed because I was ‘really good at English’, gave me the drive and determination to do anything but teach. Who knows? I might have been a great teacher, but I’m not going to do it because you told me to.
  2. Starting off agency life in one of the smallest, strangest digital agencies you’ll ever encounter. I don’t look back on it particularly fondly, but it gave me the basic tools I needed to move on up, and it certainly taught me what I don’t want from a position.
  3. Having my current role kind of fall into my lap. Of course, I still had to submit a CV and I still had to go through several interviews, but if the GAD hadn’t been my boyfriend’s neighbour, I might never have chanced upon the position. #starcrossedaccounthandlers

Did you ever have a mentor in a job? Someone who really made a difference to your career progression and pushed you onwards?

Not so much a mentor, more of an office soulmate. She knows who she is, we know we couldn’t have made it through our last job without each other. I think in a way we did push each other forwards, in our sheer determination not to work at that company anymore.

Have you ever experienced #everydaysexism in the workplace?

I once wrote a blog post about more women breaking the glass ceiling and making it to senior positions within the industry. It had to go through 3 levels of senior management before being told it was too controversial to post. It still leaves me a little dumbfounded.