So you landed an agency job. Whether you’re finding your groove as a project manager, design, or developer, you’ll inevitably have new tasks that...might not be what you expected. Perhaps you’ve been asked to write something, but you haven’t written since your final essay for high school English class. Or you’re asked to give feedback on design, but you don’t have an artistic bone in your body.
But collaboration is key: Deloitte estimates the net value of worldwide collaboration is $56 billion. While some of these collaborative tasks will be a definite headache, others could end up being strangely welcoming surprises. You may even learn something new along the way.
As a copywriter-turned-content strategist, I’ve learned there’s a whole lot more to my job than writing…so, naturally, I wrote about it. (Okay, most of my job is writing.) Wondering if I was alone in this, I took an informal poll, asking the other departments at Ample: What’s something you would have never expected you’d be doing at your job, but that you do?
What follows is a paraphrasing of the interesting, strange, or unexpected tasks they’ve taken on as part of their job.
From the content team (that’s me!)
- The joy of content management systems (CMS). Before working for a web development agency, I thought all CMSes worked like a plug-and-play template on Squarespace. Boy, was I wrong. After writing an article, getting it published onto a website — pull quotes, graphics, hyperlinks, meta copy, stock images and all — can be a beast. But it’s all part of the job.
- Event planning… but make it virtual. At a small agency like Ample, culture building often gets pushed up to the already-overloaded leadership team. To take things off their plates, I worked with my colleague Austin to help plan a competitive virtual event. That required us to plan minute-to-win-it-esque games, request an order of 17 LEGO dinosaurs, and buy a whole bunch of M&Ms. Not exactly part of the job description, but when everyone plays a part in team building, they have a major role in building company culture.
- Getting into SEO. When it comes to web projects, copywriters and SEO strategists should almost always be collaborating. Now that I’ve worked with Ample’s search specialist, pitched content marketing to clients, and worked through learning courses on keyword planning platforms, it’s clear that optimizing for search should always be intertwined with the copy that you write.
From the project management team
- Planning interviews for celebs. One of the PMs got to interview a celebrity chef for a client. That required her to set up the interview with the chef’s assistant and tune in. Bon appetit!
- The worst work travel experiences ever. One PM says she had to travel two days for a one-hour meeting. Another mentioned a nightmare travel situation that required pumping at an airport and staying at the world’s worst motel. (Don’t worry — both of these were jobs they held before Ample). The consensus: thank goodness for Zoom and a switch to remote work for the time being!
- Gettin’ their hands dirty with some code. Our PMs are truly jacks-of-all-trades. One PM never thought she’d have to code as part of the job, but when a deadline is hot and the developers are busy, she says “sometimes you just have to jump in.”
From the design team
- Writing blog posts (like these!) The department that contributes the most to our Ample blog: design! One designer mentioned enjoying having the time to organize thoughts around a single topic and putting pen to paper.
- Coming up with headlines on the fly. Sometimes, designers have to make do and come up with copy instead of using filler text, as it lends itself to better design visualization.
- Getting involved in development. Another person on the design team never thought he’d be able to design a website and be able to code it. Being able to do this now makes him appreciate both sides of the business, and has helped him understand everything that goes into creating a website from start to finish.
From the development team
- Chatting with clients directly. Two developers mentioned that at previous jobs, they never really talked to the clients directly. Instead, project managers gave them general outlines of tasks and they ran with them to the best of their abilities. At Ample, they’ve worked with clients for feedback and refinement, which has been a welcome change, they said.
- Jumping right in. One developer mentioned that he didn’t expect to be building a prototype for a client within his first month at Ample.
- Nothing. Another developer noodled on this question for a while and concluded that he can’t think of anything; he’s pretty much done it all. I mean, what can we say? Our developers are ultra-versatile! 😉
One theme I noticed popping up again and again as I talked to each of these teams — collaboration. PMs are developing. Designers are writing. Writers are search-optimizing. While we all have our specialities, the best work gets done when we’re all working toward a common goal: building awesome digital experiences. Check out some of ours, and send us a note if you want to chat.