This past Thursday AdMonsters had our 2nd Ad Ops 360 event in the US. Ad Ops 360 is a special event for us because it’s an extension of our training programs and instead of a room full of senior Ad Operations leaders, we have junior and middle level ad ops people attend. There is great energy at the event and it’s a jam-packed day full of information. Last Thursday, one topic that we continually circled back to over the course of the day was where our attendees fit within their organizations and what they needed to do to succeed. Here were some of the ideas that the group came up with:
Bide Your Time: For many organizations Ad Operations departments are too small to have much of a hierarchy and that can make it difficult to plot out a career path. The same was true for me 10 years ago when I started in Ad Ops. The fact is that as your company grows, opportunities with Ad Operations will develop – there is simply too much work for it not to. Unfortunately the economic climate might delay advancement, so the key is to hang tight and prepare for the opportunities to come around again.
Create opportunities to own something: As I said, there is simply too much work for opportunities to not develop. Be it video or mobile or simply customer service or *gasp* documentation, find something you like to do and see if you can work with your manager to own it. Most people don’t mind hard work, but Ad Ops can be a grind. A sense of ownership is going to give you a feeling of accomplishment that will keep things interesting. Hopefully this will help set you in a direction of doing the aspects of the job you find the most fulfilling.
In case no one else has said it: Thank you. Doug Wintz in one of his sessions relayed the story of a trafficker that told him that she had never been told “Thank you” for all her hard work and cried upon hearing it for the first time. Now I can’t imagine not thanking the members of my team, but in case you don’t feel appreciated in your current position, my guess is that’s a result of these chaotic times. That being said, it is best to make sure you get feedback on the work you do, especially if you’ve gone beyond the call of duty. Consider it a part of your job to illicit feedback on how you are doing. This will reduce the chance of built up frustration from turning a solvable situation into a disaster.
Teach others what you do: This may be counter-intuitive, but the best thing you can do is teach others what you do. This point doesn’t contradict the concept of finding something to own, but in fact is quite complimentary. It may seem that in this economic climate that the best thing you can do is build a wall and try to make yourself irreplaceable. Doing so in fact works against you and any solid manager will become concerned with your efforts to entrench yourself. On the other hand, someone who helps improve the overall department, sharing ideas and best practices is a true asset.
I really enjoyed my time last Thursday with the people who attended Ad Ops 360 and the feedback we’ve gotten so far has been extremely positive. I was quite impressed with the group who attended and it was clear by their questions and comments that they were true Ad Ops professionals. It’ll be great to see them rise through the ranks!
Rob Beeler is Vice President of Content and Media for AdMonsters and has worked in Ad Operations for over ten years. Rob started attending AdMonster events in 2004 as a member and will be in Prague on June 7 for AdMonsters Publisher Forum EU XII