This blog is written by aspiring brand marketer, Amit Gulati, with light edits from Quilted Squirrel.

“The Great Resignation.” 

“Worker shortage.” 

“Nobody wants to work anymore!” 

As legend Marvin Gaye once asked, “What’s going on?” 

We’re seeing employees and employers alike reconsider their priorities, and it’s clearly created some havoc in the workplace—especially for me, the aspiring marketing professional. 

A few months ago, I chose to exit my position as an account executive at an ad agency in Knoxville, Tennessee. I’d been there for nearly two years, but it just wasn’t working. I tried to love it, and at times I really thought I did love it. But push came to shove, as they say, and I wanted out. 

As I reflect on my past experience and continue along my career journey, I keep asking myself, “What do you, Amit Gulati, up-and-coming marketer, want from a creative agency?”

I’ve had an uncomfortable amount of time to put together this list, but these extra hours have been a gift (and they have not been wasted). With that, here are three things I’m looking for in a creative agency.

1. Flexibility

There’s quite a tug-of-war when it comes to workplace flexibility. We’ve gone from fully remote, to hybrid, to in-office mandates, to every other accommodation imaginable. 

Really, there’s no wrong approach, but what would I personally prefer? Having a choice. The likelihood of my applying to a job that offers location flexibility is significantly higher than an opportunity that requires me to move. With a hybrid approach, I could get a feel for the company and the position before moving (should I choose to do so).

At the same time, as humans, we’re pack creatures who need to connect through more than Zoom and email. Having the opportunity to socialize in-person through meetings and gatherings is an excellent way to grow relationships and maintain company culture. Plus, don’t you want to know how awesome my handshake is?

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2. Mentorship

Although I’ve been described as an old soul (I guess that comes from liking Billy Joel and Jim Croce), I’m mindful of how my life and career experience are limited. This brings me to the importance of strong leadership and intentional mentorship. 

As an avid sports fan, I’ve seen how unsuccessful franchises turn their organizations around by building from the top down with great leaders. This attracts top talent, keeps people engaged, and creates a sustainable culture. Who wouldn’t want to be part of that?

Mentors are essential to help navigate the intricacies of the work world. As young professionals, we’re newcomers trying to find our footing. Of course, we’ll learn the most from actually doing the work over time. But sometimes, all we need is a little push or guidance from a mentor to bring out the best in us.

If I’m to be hired at a creative agency in the future, I hope to receive mentorship from an experienced marketer who can help me grow.

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3. Work-Life Balance

I appreciate that employers are trying to be more mindful about their employees’ well-being—but, from what I have seen, the office is still incredibly unbalanced. Let’s be honest, we’re still living in a world where we struggle to keep up with overflowing inboxes and overwhelming amounts of data. Many of us are still beholden to a “work-around-the-clock” mentality. Worst of all, for me, opportunities for growth have been unclear, leading to stress and confusion.

We NEED a legitimate work-life balance, not only for young people but for seasoned vets alike. With the mass shift from social to digital interactions, we’ve completely forgotten to value our greatest asset: humanity. In marketing, we talk so much about creating people-centric experiences for consumers—why shouldn’t we ask the same of our employers?

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Let’s connect!

I realize that there’s no such thing as a perfect situation or organization, but there are certainly green flags that catch my attention. Essentially, do you value people? Do you actively invest in your employees? Do our values align? 

If so, let’s connect! I love building relationships and seeing where they lead.

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