Everyone’s Complain Department: Overtime

The ‘Everyone’s Complaint Department’ series of comic strips began as random doodles and reflection pieces of Alvin Teoh, ECD of Naga DDB Tribal. These little stories featured in MARKETING magazine were originally posted on Facebook and are an ongoing tribute to life in Adland.
The comic depicts Alvin’s early days in the advertising industry and words from the Executive Creative Director (ECD) himself.
Working at ungodly hours is nothing new in this industry. And because that’s well known, there are people who take it for granted. I remember some years ago when we were negotiating agency fees. The procurement person included weekends as workdays so we protested. He replied: You mean you guys don’t work on weekends?
As the years passed, I began to realize the stupidity of it. You can’t get the best out of anyone if sleep deprivation is the norm. Sure, it happens when the shit hits the fan and there is a crisis to deal with. But to demand that of people all the time is both cruel and stupid.
This fear-induced work culture is so, so bad, there’s even a word that describes death from overwork.
I don’t have all the answers, but here’s what I think. The burnt-out and over-worked culture stems from the lack of reflection; we can’t tell the difference between work that matters and work for the sake of work. Who hasn’t experienced spending countless hours arguing over a few words on a social media post or my favourite, an entire campaign you spent sleepless nights over is rejected in 5 seconds because they decided to change the brief in mid-presentation?
Yet we take it all in because we want to show support. Support for what? Incompetence? Insecurities? Personal and biased opinions?
We don’t fear hard work when there’s conviction and clarity of intent. We’d sacrifice sleep and social life for good work that matters. We love to create the sort of work that is respectful of the human experience. You know, the sort of stuff that compels audiences to feel, think and act.
But what we fear is this – dying at our desks in the pursuit of meaningless work that lacks any depth.
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24 SENIOR MARKETERS.
56 MARKETING CASE STUDIES.
2 DAYS LIKE AN MBA IN MARKETING!
APPIES Malaysia is an annual 2-day Marketing Congress and Awards Festival showcasing, sharing and celebrating the country’s best marketing campaigns. Shortlisted entries will be judged by 24  leaders in the marketing industry who will put the presenters’ knowledge to the test in a unique Live Presentation environment.
Date: 16 & 17 April, 2018
Venue: Grand Ballroom, Eastin Hotel, Petaling Jaya.
Time: 8.30am – 6.00pm
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