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February 1, 2024

Agency Life. My First Year in Review.

Alex Stasulli

Agency life blog article.

It’s true what they say, a year really does fly by when you’re having fun… Or when you’re on a roller coaster learning curve during your first year at an ad agency.

On January 9th I hit my one-year milestone working at Creative Energy, so I’ve taken some time to reflect on what I’ve accomplished, the mistakes I’ve learned from, and how I can continue to make progress.

Here are some thought-provoking questions that my colleagues asked me about my first year as a Jackalope. I think these are useful introspective questions to ask yourself, no matter what line of work you may be in when you reach a career checkpoint.

What inspired you to join the Creative Energy team, and how has your journey been so far?

After living and working in Scotland for 5 years, I relocated back to the US and settled in Johnson City, Tennessee.

Having started my marketing career working client side, I decided to adapt and expand my skillset by switching to the agency side (the dark side?). And here in Johnson City, I found a local agency with national acclaim:  Creative Energy.

Creative Energy has been my first ever taste of agency life. During this first year, I have absorbed a vast amount of information and have overcome many challenges. I’ve been involved with over 15 different clients and feel that I’ve built solid relationships with most of them.

During the first 6 months at Creative Energy, I honestly felt like I was in over my head, but after that, I finally caught my stride and was able to embrace my role.

Having great colleagues around me who have a huge wealth of industry knowledge (many have been with the agency for decades) has been truly helpful as well.

If you could give your past self advice on the first day of work, what would it be?

Don’t torment yourself stressing over things that you can’t control.

The biggest mindset shift I had to make was accepting that, compared to my previous client-side roles, I had hardly any control over anything that was happening.

At Creative Energy I must constantly pivot and adjust my course of action on a given project. With so many different clients, jobs, and vendors to manage, the variables are never-ending. Working client side, I had full strategic ownership of my brand projects and I called the shots with the agencies I worked with.

The reactive nature of agency life has required a lot of getting used to.

So, I’ve learned to accept that I have to roll with the punches and start every workday as a clean slate, poised and ready to figure out whatever comes my way.

Can you share a memorable moment from your first year here that made an impact on you?

The day Teresa, our VP, gave me ownership of three clients. With that came a huge sense of accomplishment and made me realize that I was, in fact, making a positive impact in my role as Jr. Brand Executive.

I started my role supporting Tony, our President and CEO, with most of his clients. So, being assigned clients of my own was very rewarding.

What aspect of your job do you find most fulfilling, and how has it evolved?

Outside of Creative Energy, I feel most fulfilled when clients tell me that they enjoy working with me and they’re impressed with my project management abilities.

Inside the agency, the biggest confidence boost is when my creative colleagues tell me I’m doing a good job. In my mind, they are the geniuses at the heart of our agency, so I feel fulfilled knowing that I’m actively making their lives easier.

Are there any skills or knowledge areas you’ve developed since working here that you’re particularly proud of?

Learning how to effectively use our agency project management software (Basecamp) was the first big step. – At Creative Energy we all live and die by Basecamp.

I’ve gained so much fascinating knowledge about different industries and products thanks to the variety of clients that I work with. I have a deeper understanding of how video production, vendor management, and media buying work.

What advice would you give to someone who is just starting in your role or department?

If you’ve worked within agencies before, keep an open mind as all agencies have their way of doing things. Creative Energy is a relatively small agency, but the work output is shockingly large and impressive. So, if you’re coming from a more sizeable big-city agency, you’ll probably find yourself having to wear more hats to make sure projects run smoothly.

If you’ve never worked at an agency before, then Creative Energy is a great gateway into that world. You will learn so much and have no choice but to become as efficient as possible, due to the fast pace.

Are there any colleagues who have been especially supportive or influential in your professional growth?

It’s hard to narrow it down, as each of my colleagues has a wealth of experience and expertise, many having been with Creative Energy for well over a decade.

But I want to shout out to Will Griffith, our VP of Creative Services, for always being so helpful and supportive. Will has an answer to practically all my questions, he’s always calm and kind, and a great hype man.

If you’ve taken the time to read my little Q&A, hopefully, you’ve been inspired to reflect on your own career so far. If you’re interested in joining our team and becoming a Jackalope yourself, check out our Careers page or get in touch at!

We’re always on the lookout for fresh new talent.