I just spent a full day living Rob Longert’s life.
The idea, which at first seemed like a lark, ended up becoming a huge learning lesson for me. I learned, for example, how difficult and stressful it is to be an account executive at a fast-paced agency. I also learned how critical technology has become to the job of an account executive (and, how daunting such technology can be to someone who isn’t the most tech-savvy guy in the world).
Perhaps most importantly, I ‘re-learned’ what it feels like to be on the receiving end of an assignment. It’s easy to drop off a task and ask someone to get it done by COB. It’s quite different, though, to be struggling to juggle three existing assignments, and then have someone drop off a late afternoon assignment that’s due by COB. Talk about meltdown city.
The tasks I was assigned were probably a breeze for a 20-something junior account exec to perform, but I defy any senior PR executive to try and compile comprehensive news searches, scan articles, track down and forward links to various teams, attend team meetings and brainstorms and, oh yes, draft a pitch letter for a client’s industrial product, all within an eight hour day.
I can honestly say that I came close to drowning. I blew every deadline I was given, and felt like I was letting my various account teams down.
At the same time, I observed some things that could be improved upon and, perhaps, make us a better place to work. I also came away with enormous respect for the incredibly intense schedules our people have. In fact, I honestly thought twice about asking our various account people to help me with things today after having gone through my Rob Longert of a day yesterday.
I encourage any executive in any line of business (even medical supplies) to set aside a day and see what it’s like to be a junior person at your firm. I guarantee you’ll be a better person for having gone through it.
So while I’m still recovering from being Rob Longert, I’m really glad I did the day-long swap. As for you, Rob, my hat’s off to you. Words can’t express how thrilled I am that you’re doing your job and I’m doing mine. Being Rob Longert is brutal.
Click here to hear a discussion about the day with Rob, Steve and Peppercom staff.