January 9th, 2012 → 2:45 pm @ Mark Story // 2 Comments
While many of the requirements and tasks are the same working in-house for a firm or serving clients for a social media agency, there are some important differences. Especially when you are evaluating career alternatives. The main difference in working for an agency is that you need to juggle more than one client, pay close attention to budgets and billable hours and balance the needs of the clients while trying to also respect your colleagues’ time and efforts. So when you are in the client-based world, you need to give some serious thought to:
Additional factors to consider when choosing an agency over a corporation, non-profit or government include the facts that most agency people make more money because their jobs are to generate revenue, you can advance faster in your career because there a built-in job steps in an agency (senior associate to vice president, vice president to senior vice president, for example), faster advancement, there is more pressure to generate revenue either by billable hours or business development, you will have more diverse work assignments because you’ll likely have multiple clients, and most agencies present a very diverse and demanding environment. Sure, you get paid more, but we used to call it “combat pay” because of the workload compared to other non-agency employers.
You will also likely find that you have a whole different set of issues when dealing with other internal constituencies at an agency. Graphic designers might not like the fact that the client does not like their design, the programmers might not like the expectations that the client has, and the project managers may well be going crazy trying to hold everything together.
There are ups and downs in every job, but doing your homework can save you a lot of heartache later on.