Thursday, July 9, 2009

My first day at work

Walking out of college and into a workplace is a massive step! When I entered Orchard at 9.15 on Monday morning (early as usual for my first day!) I wasn’t sure what to look forward to. There were a whole lot of expectations about advertising, things I had heard plenty from cousins and uncles in the same field, and had thus chosen advertising as a career path- but still, walking into an office for the first time was a rather intimidating experience!

But the Orchard environment in itself is a lovely friendly place. I spent my first hour waiting for Thomas Xavier to arrive. During this time Lauren, who must have been aware of my awkwardness, took me around the office, starting at the bottom- introducing me to everyone-except everyone wasn’t there! Monday morning meeting I wondered, as I went back to the Thomas’ office where I immersed myself in his library of advertising books of all shapes and sizes. Once Thomas arrived, every ounce of discomfiture slipped away. He made me feel at ease, and talking to him reminded me of my first interview at Orchard, and why I had wanted, so desperately, to join the advertising business only at Orchard. He took me through a presentation that he had made the previous week in P to a batch of clueless MBA students, about a career in advertising- what it entailed, and what was required of them to be successful in the field, (a fantastic idea to do it at the beginning of the semester rather than the end as they normally do!) This presentation was directed to people with my mindset and wavelength exactly!! It talked about what went into a good ad, and Thomas is a great orator, so even though the audience he was addressing consisted of only one person (me!) he still kept the tone light but information heavy, and I'm fairly certain I learnt more in that one hour talk than in a whole year in college!

After he was through, Thomas sent me off with Ankur - the head of Client Servicing. Ankur from first glance was very chilled out and relaxed, with this jeans and bright blue T-Shirt and funky black all stars, he could easily have been a student at Joseph's or Christ who had bunked college and showed up at Orchard by mistake. Spending a couple of hours with him I discovered that first impressions are usually right - Ankur was fun, and relaxed, and had a way of speaking that immediately made his listener relax and drop their defenses. By afternoon I was talking to him easily, most of my apprehensions of my first day of work having dropped down already. Ankur first took me on the grand tour of Orchard - showing me the different floors, introducing me to people, and very importantly – where the restrooms were! Following this he took me up to his office and started on a presentation of Orchard credentials- taking me through the fascinating journey of Orchard's growth from a tiny offshoot of Leo Burnett into a nationwide agency of tremendous credibility.

He first explained the Orchard story to me, it's founding and growth, and then walked me thru each of Orchard's main ad campaigns, explaining the conception and development of every advertisement in great detail. What made me feel comfortable was that I was actually familiar with most of the advertisements! Especially the Manhattan credit card advert had been so popular amongst my classmates that constantly squeaking “Dinku” in that adorable baby voice had become a thing of regularity when I was in the 12th standard, just to annoy our teachers! And the Himalaya throat lozenge commercial had been a point of reference when a friend of mine tattooed his girlfriends name onto his forearm!

After watching all these ads, I realized with pride that Orchard was indeed an ad agency with a difference- and that I was very very lucky to have started my career in such an awesome agency.

After lunch, Ankur asked me to check my mail and stuff because he had some other work, but I found myself scrolling straight to the Orchard website to look at their other ads, which hadn’t made it to their credential presentation! I saw a vein of similarity- not in their concepts or ideas- but in the satire, wit, and tongue in cheek humor used in all their advertisements.

When ankur called me back, he finished the presentation completely, after which he gave me the option to knock off early, because it was my first day, or to use this opportunity to walk around and talk to people and introduce myself properly. I had no intention of leaving early-not on my first day ( what sort of impression would that create?? ) also- I really didn’t want to leave yet! So I regained a little of my awkwardness and walked up to all the busy, busy people and attempted to introduce myself. Most of the people on my floor had gone out for a meeting, so I spoke to Rekha, who I was supposed to shadow starting the next day. She was nice, and explained to me that shadowing her would be difficult and that I was better off just starting with some work- and just learn as I went along. I spoke to Jessy, who explained her role to me, as a link between client servicing and the studio. I went downstairs where I found Manju, an intern from Brown University, who was my age, with lots to say about everything. I relaxed a lot more meeting someone of my own age. I then met with the other copywriters and creatives and spent awhile talking to Shane, who by cracking jokes at my expense, made me feel much more relaxed and at home.

Thus ended my first day at Orchard . A landmark day I’ll remember for many years to come!

Posted by Aliya.

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