Mental health in the advertising industry is something that’s growing at an exponential rate along with the ongoing COVID-19 cases. The WFH thing seems to have hit their doors a bit too late, and a bit too hard. The mass vindication seems like people actually enjoyed working in the office rather than at homes. It might have been a blessing in disguise to some who stayed away from their families, but it has definitely been a curse to those who have been living alone.
#AgencyLife is most of the time used to mock the misadventures conspiring in an advertising agency. But, seldom did it come to notice that humor is the greatest self-defense against sadness. Ask Chandler Bing! He might have been the King of Sarcasm, but he was also secretive in a way. His friends didn’t even know his true profession. It all seems like an endless episode of Black Mirror: Bandersnatch. They say that creative burnout is inevitable. It is an occupational hazard. But, as admen, we didn’t sign up for this.
Mental or Judgmental?
Most of the advertising artists in India hail from small cities, and speaking English isn’t their strongest forte. The privileged millennials bullying them with a hint of racism is how mental health issues begin at work. The peer pressure to binge-watch a series begins from that point. Someone who has grown up watching Taarak Mehta Ka Oolta Chashma will never get to know why everyone is so hyped up with the Dark series on Netflix. “Tu pagal hai kya? Abhi tak Dark series nahi dekha?” That’s how the office wars spark.
The interdepartmental wars, however, maintain a healthy competition within, but interdepartmental prejudice is something that’s passed on from one ex-employee to another. Advertising as an industry might have a bright future ahead despite COVID-19 because brands need a mouthpiece to sell their products and get back into the market. But advertising, as a team is on its way to becoming The Mental Buoys!
Advertising agencies these days take colossal pride in working late nights, cracking briefs in no time, and spending weekends at home doing WFH. This is not something to boast about. The research and marketing team needs as much as liberty and freedom to gather the details, as much as liberty creative team is given to crack a brilliant campaign idea (or vice versa). Trying to give a quick-fix marketing or branding solution shouldn’t be the strength of any ad agency. Deadlines are taking lives in its literal sense and clients seem to steer clear of all that, but still want the logo bigger. The toxicity of this plight has to be addressed. Add to it, the COVID-19 situation. Sorry, y’all! Your ad agency might be the top of the town, with the coolest interiors, great Wi-Fi connectivity and superb work culture (so you say), but if you are not able to balance your work-life and none of it is getting the needed attention, you, my friend, are in a wrong place. Talk about productivity – your blood has been transfused with gallons of coffee and alcohol. See where that takes you in months (not to a corner office for sure). Talk about peace – take a day off and your peers will begin to question your existence (not exactly in a good way).
Mind over matter is a universal mantra for wellness and slowly, but steadily the advertising industry is getting a hang of it. Yoga and Pilate’s session are taking a front seat. Spending family-time is not laughed at as a joke. Going home early is not mocked upon as – half-day le raha hai kya? The changes are positively taking place. But, we need to be certain that it doesn’t plummet after the world gets back to the new normal.
At 3 Dots Design, we definitely believe that people need to have a strong balance between work and life, not just on papers, but in actuality. We steer clear of work that jeopardizes the physical as well as mental health of our team. We encourage a transparent work culture where there are no conditions applied. We consider workplace depression as seriously and urgently as we consider pitching an international client yesterday. We do not want to blow our own trumpets on the kind of good work that we do (our clients do it for us). Instead, we would like to make sure that once an employee joins in with a bagful of his/her talents, we do not empty their bags and fill ours – we share the contents of it and learn to enjoy that kind of sharing. 3 Dots Design is purely about ‘never stopping’ (… that’s what the ellipsis does).