Tum Kab Naa Bologe?
From one agency to another, we know what you go through. We understand the long hours, the pressing need to meet tight deadlines, we understand the compulsion to deliver, at all costs.
But what happens when it is at the cost of a life?
The recent passing of two agency employees hit home, because it could have been us. It could have been our friends. It could have easily been someone we know. A lot has been said so far. Concerns have been vented and voices have been raised. But it's high time we accept that this problem is not limited to advertising or agencies alone. If the pandemic has taught us anything, it is that clients are people too. They are just as impacted as we are. And the genuine ones, understand. They empathize & meet agencies halfway. The others just want to suck your blood and see if you can still smile. We get that. Cursing capitalism does not work either and neither does putting a lid on issues that clearly need to be addressed.
A toxic work culture is not just an agency problem. It is not our trademark. People in power across industries have been known to be abusive, both emotionally, verbally, and in some cases, even physically. #HariSadu
So, who is really responsible, you ask?
We are. We let this happen.
As crazy as this probably sounds, the buck does not stop with our bosses, our clients, or the profit crazy shareholders. It stops with you/us!
The responsibility to escalate, push back, and say ‘that’s enough’ rests with each one of us, not solely with a company or a client. And while it might be an uphill battle to stand our ground, it is up to people across agencies, corporates, NGOs, start-ups and MNCs to realize that we are all fighting the same battle.
If one thinks about it, the answer to questions like ‘how else would people know me /define me?’ is not in a job title or an appraisal, the clubs you visit or the perks your level attracts. It lies in the empathy you show when people around you need support. It lies in the actions you take when your team needs direction, and most importantly, it lies in the way that you take a stand and do what is right, at all costs.
It’s in the culture you build at and around work.
Building a positive work culture begins with understanding what that really means in the first place and if you think it’s about celebrations at work, we have a long way to go. Take a step back and think if the place you work in encourages you to say no without being judged? Can you seek empathy without a detached approval process? Is there a way to have your voice heard, documented and responded to? Are you working with a team that prioritizes your mental, emotional well-being? Now, ask yourself if your policies are actually practiced. Does your workplace value people as much as it values profit?
Don’t for a second think that this calls for companies focusing on lesser profits and more on their people. In fact, both go hand in hand for a company that does not make profits won’t be able to pay people anyways. At the same time, don’t trade your life or your team's welfare for a deadline.
Rather than pitting agencies versus clients & widening the gap, Ek Baar Naa Bolo Na!
Because it takes one ‘no’ to empower one more, and then another.
If you still need convincing, take a step back and ask yourself this. How far back was it when you decided that you were ok with a toxic culture or an abusive boss? When did the fear of losing a job or not getting an increment break you? When did the fear of losing a client make you compromise the well-being of your team? When did you really break?
More importantly, what is it going to take for you to say ‘no! that’s enough’?
Our deepest fear Is not that we are Inadequate, It is that we are powerful beyond measure. As we are liberated from our own fear, Our presence, automatically liberates others. - Nelson Mandela