CLOSE-UP: ON THE CAMPAIGN COUCH ... WITH JB

Q: I have worked as an account man in advertising for many years

but have never had the nerve to tell my parents. They would not see it

as very worthwhile, they think I am an accountant. They are getting old

and I would like to clear up this little deceit. What can I tell

them?



A: I am shocked that you feel so ashamed of your profession that not

only have you concealed it from your parents but you actually prefer to

be thought an accountant. An archeologist, I could understand, or an

anaesthetist; but an accountant?



There are two courses open to you. The first requires you to show some

pride and confidence in your chosen career. So ready yourself for an

encounter with your parents by assembling a dossier containing details

of every noble contribution made to mankind by account people across the

ages.



Make a list of account people who have become world-famous. Remind

yourself of account people who have written great books, painted great

pictures and composed concertos which have moved the hearts of

nations.



As I write, however, it occurs to me that the results of such a trawl

might prove somewhat meagre; in which case, you should opt for plan

B.



By dropping a series of hints and clues over a period of time, and

through the judicious use of old press cuttings, lead your parents to

suspect that you are a convicted abortionist. When you ultimately reveal

that you work for an advertising agency, their relief and delight will

be unbounded.



Justin Cernis writes: We seem to be in the grip of merger mania. Q:

Honestly, are we all going to end up one day working for Martin Sorrell

or that French bloke?



Probablement.



Q: The son of one of our most important clients is doing a holiday job

at the agency. He is good looking and hard working but a little innocent

in the ways of the world. One of our more mature secretaries has now

made him the target for her considerable charms and I'm afraid things

could get out of hand. Any advice?



A: What things? And whose hand? I can't for the life of me work out

what's bugging you unless it's envy. Here's this lad (and who says he's

so innocent, anyway?) having the time of his life in his dad's

advertising agency with his very own Mrs Robinson thrown in for good

measure.



At the end of the holiday, what happens? The lad goes back to school

with a grin on his face the size of a barn door, Mrs Robinson cuts

another notch on her bedhead and your important client overwhelms you

with gratitude, saying his time at the agency has given his boy a much

better understanding of work experience.



Just keep Mrs Robinson away from the father, that's all.



Q: Chris Macleod, age 45, writes: They say advertising is not as much

fun as it was. Is that just a sign of me getting older?



A: Dear Chris, thank you for your kind enquiry. Your mistake was in

allowing yourself to get promoted. Advertising is just as much fun today

as it's ever been as long as you carry no responsibility. Advertising

has never been fun for chief executives.



You enjoyed yourself in the early days not because you were young but

because nothing that went wrong was your fault. Now, absolutely

everything that goes wrong is your fault and yours alone. And it is no

easier to get unpromoted than to get un-old. Sorry about that.



- Jeremy Bullmore is a former chairman of J. Walter Thompson, a director

of Guardian Media Group and of WPP, and the president of NABS. He writes

a monthly column for Management Today. A more serious look at problems

in the workplace, it both inspired and complements On the Campaign

Couch.



Address your problems to him at Campaign, 174 Hammersmith Road, London

W6 7JP. Or e-mail campaign@haynet.com.



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