I have never seen Mad Men. In high school, my freshman journalism teacher was so gung ho about the program that I decided to avoid it at all costs, just to stick it to the man. To this day, I have continued boycotting the bandwagon to preserve my own image of the industry. Thankfully, her obsession with advertising led to a small unit including the 1979 documentary, Killing Us Softly, which examines the way women are portrayed in advertisements. I was so intoxicated by the idea that these handpicked words and images could affect the mindset and behaviors of hundreds of thousands of people, that ultimately, my life’s’ course was decided in those short 30 minutes. I would use my words to try and change the world for the better.
The next years were filled with research and college visits, scouring the east coast to find the school that could balance my small town roots with my big city dreams. While other seventeen-year-olds panicked over their future, I never lost sight of mine. Everything fell into place when I found Temple University. With its own student run agency, mandatory internship requirement, and grass, however sporadic, I knew this was it. Fast-forward to where I now sit at LevLane Advertising, finishing up the last leg of my summer long internship.
If this internship has taught me anything, it’s not that I belong in advertising; I already knew that. It’s that I don’t belong in Account Management. Ever since watching Killing Us Softly, I’d been so focused on the creativity of ads that I never thought seriously about participating in the other aspects that contribute to forming a great campaign. With three collegiate years of copywriting under my belt, I took a hard look at my career goals. Everyone is a creative these days. What if my narrow scope of advertising knowledge limits my career choice? Can I really make my portfolio stand out when every candidate is trying to do the same? Am I actually a good writer? These questions made me doubt the trajectory of my life. These questions led me to apply for an Account Management internship at LevLane Advertising.
As my summer of research and spreadsheets comes to a close, I can honestly say that I gained an immeasurable amount of knowledge about the advertising industry and the real world workforce in general. I learned how to be an adult and survive in the nine to five world. I learned that a job is what you make of it. Figuring out where I don’t belong has made me realize where I do, and I am more determined than ever to become a successful copywriter. In order to do that, I need to work harder, I need to finish out my senior year strong, and maybe I need to start watching Mad Men.