Is Your Agency Workload Hazardous to Your Health? (Spoiler: Yes.)

By Erik Oster Comment

It’s not exactly a secret that advertising has an issue with work/life balance, but a recent Reddit thread throws into question how this can have an impact on employee health as well.

The thread was started by a self-described large agency employee who takes on “the same role as a strategist and account manager.”

While acknowledging the position has its “great moments,” he or she attributes the stress and workload (around 50 hours/week) of the position as contributing to anxiety and “recurring skin issues,” as well as general unhappiness.

OP was surprised to learn how commonly physical ailments accompanied the stress and intense workload of agency life.

A top comment cites the development of skin and intestinal issues over the course of seven years as a lead creative at a large agency, as well as depression. Since leaving the agency, those health problems have all disappeared.

Anxiety, depression and insomnia seem to be the problems most frequently associated with overwork, but skin problems are also surprisingly common.

A self-described “star creative at my agency for three years” claims to have developed stress-induced psoriasis, anxiety and depression before leaving the agency to “work for myself.” Now that psoriasis is in remission, anxiety and depression are under control and the creative is the “happiest and healthiest” they’ve ever been, despite working 100 hours a week.

On that note, maybe we can all refrain from fake-bragging about how much work we do.

Another, extensively well-documented issue stemming from the stresses of agency life is alcoholism. It’s not exactly a revelation that alcohol “is everywhere in this business” and employees at this individual’s agency use it as everything from an award for working late to a celebration after winning an account or a way to commiserate after losing one. The path toward abuse is fairly clear, and another commenter chimed in to say that they and an art director who both hate their jobs “boozed our way through every day” in keeping with the agency’s post-lunch open bar policy.

Of course, alcohol almost always makes things worse. Multiple parties have told us about a certain creative leader at a certain agency who drinks throughout the day every day and proceeds to treat all of his female team members like shit. But he’s European, which is the perfect excuse for everything!

We have no doubts that some of our readers have had similar experiences with the work/life balance (or lack thereof) inherent in agency life leading to, or contributing to, health issues. If you feel uncomfortable sharing below via Facebook commenter, please reach out via email or our tipbox to share your story anonymously. We will publish applicable and appropriate responses in a future post.

We look forward to your responses. We also look forward to the Reddit thread talking shit about us for basing a post on a Reddit thread. Time is a flat circle.