NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Job seekers, take heart: Erik Proulx plans to set you up.
The former senior copywriter at Arnold, Boston, is in the process of transforming his 3-month-old blog for the advertising industry's growing pool of unemployed, Please Feed the Animals, into what he hopes becomes the de facto industry site at which job seekers and advertising agencies can find each other.
"It's a blog right now, but in the next month or two, it is going to become a matchmaking site for out-of-work advertising talent and hiring agencies," he said. "It's going to be totally free. Nobody's going to have to pay once they log on. And if you're an agency, it's free to look for talent." And unlike other job sites, it will be specific to advertising and to all disciplines in advertising.
Transforming the blog
Mr. Proulx credits Teresa Rad, director of art production at TBWA/Chiat/Day, New York, and a former colleague at Lowe, New York, with the idea of transforming the blog, which has garnered more than 1,000 readers since Mr. Proulx's first post Nov. 7, into a fully functional job-search site. "Having read the blog and being involved in what was transpiring on the blog and hearing about all my friends getting laid off, I thought I just really wanted to turn it around and figure out a way to help people get work," Ms. Rad said.
Web developer Skookum, Concord, N.C., has signed on to add needed functionality, providing about $30,000 to $40,000 worth of work pro bono, Mr. Proulx said. He is targeting an early to mid-April launch date.
Mr. Proulx, 37, worked at Arnold for two and a half years, first on the Fidelity Investments account and then on the Volvo account, before being laid off in October. Previously he was a freelancer at StrawberryFrog in New York.
A day or two after losing his job, he had the idea of developing a blog for out-of-work agency talent. "I wanted to vent to somebody," he said. "And it wouldn't have been helpful to do it to anybody at Arnold, and my wife could only hear so much of it." So he started Please Feed the Animals "as a way to digest my own feelings."
Not the first time
It wasn't the first time he'd been laid off; he'd gone through the experience twice before -- the result, he said, of employers either losing accounts or, in one case, shutting down. So he felt he brought a unique and helpful perspective to the blog.
"I've sort of developed a bag of tricks over the years: how to do freelance, how to approach creative recruiters, which headhunters are good to use and which ones have less-than-stellar reputations, looking outside of the traditional agency structure to find your next paying gig," he said. "It became a way for me to pass along what I've learned and have people write in with their own experiences."
He's freelancing for business-to-business agency PJA in Boston while at the same time building out Please Feed the Animals. He said he'll continue managing the site even if he secures a full-time job.
"I'm not trying to make any money off of it," Mr. Proulx said. "At most, I'll charge agencies to post jobs in the help-wanted section."
He said the site would accept ads immediately upon relaunch. "There is not going to be a ton of ad space, but we are allowing for a banner or two," he said. "Any advertising revenue would go to Skookum and a designer who is giving me tons of his time. If any financial windfall comes upon Please Feed the Animals, I'd like to be able to give the money to the people who have given me their time."