A view from the bottom
A view from Charlotte Gunn

A view from the bottom

In my last few months of university, alongside the essays on Eliot and Joyce, the Red Bull consumption and the tears at dawn as deadlines grew closer, my class and I began to accept that the period of time after leaving uni would be very shit and very hard.

That we would probably spend the next two years flipping burgers in grease-stained aprons or flipping out at our parents as they badger us to get out of the nest of duvets we've created on the sofa and get a bloody job.

So it was with some surprise that, when September rolled around, I found myself employed. I was catapulted straight out of an illusory world – where one’s budgeting mantra consisted of "vodka before bread" and the Big Mac gherkin was considered an acceptable source of nutrition – to the big, bad world of advertising.

My Monday morning starts with perusing my e-mails, frantically Googling all the acronyms and, with increasing joy, finding that I can successfully answer queries without defaulting to just about everybody in the office. At midday, we are graced with a visit from Sir Chris Powell, who worked with Neil Dawson (our executive creative director) at the much-acclaimed BMP and has come to share some of his experiences and answer our questions. A flurry of knowledge pours forth, but some of his words are not quite what I was expecting.

As a newbie, it’s strangely reassuring to hear from someone who has worked in advertising for so long to describe it as "one great fudge, really". He gives us some general advice on what he considers to be the rules of advertising and the importance of knowing your aim as an agency. I, for one, think we are brought together at BETC by a determination to ignite a creative streak in each and every one of our clients through audacious ideas – think snuggling bunnies and dancing babies. That and a communal desire for an Honest burger come Friday.

We are preparing for a huge print and TV shoot for my client, so the rest of my days are filled with running around the office, collecting final layouts for press, sifting through a casting brief, weighing up the pros and cons of a white suit and generally acting as an organised sponge, soaking up information wherever I can get it. Our office is open-plan and full of glass, which means there’s nowhere to hide. You literally only need to swing around aggressively on your chair to be sat at someone else’s desk. The open office swells with chatter and everyone is constantly scribbling memos and updating each other, sharing sweets –or, on detox days, Ryvita – across the desks. I know I’m in good company.

It sounds clichéd to say our office is like a happy, dysfunctional family, but it is, and I feel very lucky to be a part of it. If what Sir Chris said is true, then the feeling that I’m about to fall down the rabbit hole won’t be going away any time soon, but at least I know everyone else will be waiting at the bottom with something to drink.

Charlotte Gunn is an account executive at BETC London

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