Another Year in Dallas: Year Two, New Job

It’s officially been a little over a year since I first moved to Dallas. That being said, I also recently quit my job at Monkedia and accepted an offer as a Media Planner with the Richards Group.

The Richards Group is the largest independently-owned ad agency in the nation: they’re famous for their campaigns with Chick-fil-A (Eat Mor Chikin), Fruit of the Loom, the Home Depot, and the Salvation Army. Although only a week in, I’ve been blown away and impressed by my colleagues and the impact they’ve had on their clients. It’s been a transitional period learning to adjust to an agency with more moving parts. So far, these have been my initial impressions:

PRO: The company is massive.

Literally. I went from being one of <50 employees to one of >700 employees all operating in the same building. The building itself has a lot of cool amenities like a gym, nap rooms (you can reserve them for 30 min intervals), fully stocked kitchens and drinks on every floor, and free pod breakfast Fridays. With this many employees and partner agencies in the same building, this opens the door to network and meet people in other departments. I’ve constantly been meeting new faces that have all been friendly and willing to teach me. This is because most of the Richards Group operates on a flat hierarchy as well, with the exception of principals and department directors.

CON: The company is really massive.

Even though the team I work with is technically smaller, none of us sit next to each other by intentional design. Most of us are on completely different floors. I find myself using the company’s internal locator tool to put names to faces and tracking down meeting rooms (and sometimes failing). Compare to my last role, team members were only an arm’s reach away which helped create a close and collaborative work culture.

PRO: There are more built in processes for employees.

In my previous job, the company was scaling rapidly: they were ranked #67 on Inc 5000 Fastest Growing Companies during my tenure there (and subsequently the fastest growing company in Texas!); however, with rapid growth also comes the need for streamlined processes and procedure.

At the Richards Group, all expectations are clearly mapped out. During my orientation, the welcome packet was over 15 pages long outlining all internal procedures and possible disciplinary consequences. There’s a more extensive QC process within my role, leaving my team with less vulnerabilities for campaign launches and execution. I have a better work-life balance here as a result of these processes in place. Compare this to my last role where I’d find myself leaving the office at 9p and working weekends.

CON: There’s less flexibility.

There are more strict rules regarding punctuality. All employees must clock in by 8:30a or risk getting docked pay. In addition, all employees are required to fill out time sheets before noon the next day or also risk docked pay. PTO and sick days are all accrued – in my previous role, we were given unlimited personal time and sick days off. Although it’s important to note the company does grant you a few grace periods per month for coming in the office late.

PRO: The clientele list.

As noted earlier, we work with a ton of impressive household names. The Richards Group includes both traditional and digital media departments, so I’ve been getting the opportunity to see more complex strategies being deployed and understanding how these moving parts work together.

CON: Some of the clients have less knowledge in digital – so there’s more resistance to innovation.

Most of the client roster has incredible loyalty to the Richards Group, and they’re more attuned and comfortable with traditional media strategies. It’s a learning curve to bring them up to speed on digital trends and to trust how campaigns are being tracked and attributed.

I’ve been thrilled at this opportunity (and committed myself to living in Dallas longer than initially planned). I’m also incredibly grateful for the commitment and patience of my team members to bring me up to speed. Here’s to another solid year in Dallas.

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