'Left to Pursue Other Interests'? Right

Translating Euphemisms for Being Let Go

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There's a lot of movement in the advertising industry, with all the downsizing, right sizing, trimming the fat and belt-tightening going on. Chances are that at one time or another during your advertising career, you will be laid off, fired, dismissed or otherwise find yourself "on the beach."

Job tenure in and around the ad biz is surprisingly short, and it's getting shorter. The average length of time on the job for a client-side CMO is about 26 months; for an executive creative director at a large shop, 16 months; and for agencies working on the Miller account, a whiplash-inducing 3.2 weeks.

I've experienced both sides of job loss in my two dozen years in the business -- the giving end and the receiving end. As can be expected with the communications business, we're not lacking for euphemisms for showing someone the door. But the official company statement is often a slightly imprecise representation of the truth.

Other reasons ...
I know from personal experience that layoffs are not always performance-related, either in the advertising industry or in the broader marketing community. So I was interested to learn what is behind many of these decisions, unfair as they may often seem. A recent survey by a well-known corporate polling organization of several ad agencies and corporations shed some light on the subject.

But should you be one of the chosen, don't let it get you down. Unemployment is actually a great time to take stock of your life's accomplishments, target your next job opportunity, polish your résumé and fantasize about a variety of extremely violent acts involving your former employer. It is a blissful state of dabbling and networking, and it represents an ideal lifestyle, in my opinion, if it weren't for the money thing.

So shoulder on, all ye workers in the advertising trade. I intend to keep my current position until such time that it may become necessary for me to pursue other opportunities.

Tony Stanol is chief business strategist at Hispanic advertising agency al Punto Advertising in Tustin, Calif.

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