As much as the world has changed since the days of MadMen, it seems that one thing remains true… The local pub is as much a part of the agency as the office itself. It’s the relaxation department, if you will. The annex in which pints are drunk, ideas are floated, and the nerve-wracking business of networking really gets done. That’s not to say that working hard in the agency doesn’t matter, but after a first week on placement during which we’d laid some good foundations, it was in the two hours at the pub that we really built ourselves some opportunities.
So in case you’re anything like me, and the thought of having to make interesting conversation with a room full of cool, creative folks gets your bowels a-loosenin’, I’ve compiled a list of do’s and don’ts to help navigate this most important part of placement life…
DO give in to peer pressure – It feels kind of old fashioned to have to go drinking with the boss to get ahead but apparently that’s what it takes. Just embrace it and enjoy the fact that you might make a step towards getting hired whilst also being bought a drink or two.
DON’T be the most or least sober – Peer pressure aside, a healthy middle-ground is where it’s at. It kind of goes without saying but too far either way on the drunkenness scale is just asking for awkwardness.
DO be interested in what they’re up to – It’s easy to get caught up in the hard sell at these things. ‘I did this…’. ‘I think that…’. ‘I am this…’. It’s much easier to just ask the odd question and let your potential new contact do all the talking.
DON’T get names wrong – Better to stick with non-specific greetings than suffer the soul-crushing embarrassment of having to ask someone to reintroduce themselves.
DO talk about advertising – Showing that you’re ‘on it’ and have an opinion on the goings on of your chosen industry is kind of a must, I’d imagine. Plus at least that’s one thing that everyone has in common so you can avoid the awkward mental scrabbling for conversational cue cards.
DON’T talk about advertising – Do have a few interesting topics stashed away in the old noggin. Even though it sort of ends up being your whole life at SCA, you have to at least pretend that you have other stuff going on outside of advertising.
DO talk your partner up – 1+1=3 and all that, and it works for pub chats too. Share the conversational load and nod along enthusiastically as if its the first time you’ve heard their stories.
And finally, DON’T pay attention to this SCAB. It’s probably clear by now that social situations aren’t my forte. Good luck with handling them much better than I do…