By Daisy Bard
Prostitution, or ‘People Buy People’
The phrase ‘people buy people’ makes me cringe. There. I said it. It makes me think of slave auctions and hierarchies and imprisonment. I don’t want to be bought by anyone. I want to work at an agency that appreciates my work, for a salary that reflects that. A career of, ‘people hire people,’ if you will. That may be naive, but I’m not a wasted old cynic just yet. (Give me a week, I’m sure D&AD will do the job.)
No one else seems to have mentioned their issue with this phrase – possibly because it’s been repeated to us so many times – so it may be unnecessary for me to unpack it. But I’m gonna.
Here’s my alternative, sunnier translation of ‘people buy people’:
- Be nice and seem like you’re the sort of person who’d be fun to hang with.
- Have a similar personality to the CD or ECD interviewing you (this I think translates to, ‘Know something about the people you want to work for. They should be people you’d get along with anyway’).
- Don’t belittle or apologise for your partner (this gem’s courtesy of Vikki Ross on Twitter).
- Be humble. You’re not a rock star.
- Put yourself into your work. On a crit, a CD will want to se what kind of creative you are – do you prefer more traditional stuff, or are you a techie digital magician? Are your ideas ready to run tomorrow or do they need reining in by an account team?
- Include your passion projects, or mention them. You’re the sum of all your life experiences, hobbies and interests, so don’t make the mistake of thinking people don’t care about you outside your work.
- Have an opinion, and have some conviction in it. Make sure that comes through in your work. Be prepared to try to change a brand for the better. (Andy Sandoz told us this recently, and I love it.)
- Keep it up at all times – remember to follow up by letter or email to say thank you and show someone you’ve appreciated their time and advice. Equally, once you’re on placement or in an agency job (not that I know what that’s like yet), get to know people around you. Don’t act like you’re just there to ruthlessly nab everyone’s jobs.
Hope that was useful. Certainly was for me. It’ll be written on my dog tag under the headline ‘copywriter for sale’ come portfolio day.