(Written on Quora).
My best decision was to leave the advertising industry, back in 2014.
I worked at an international agency back then, and it struck me how weird the industry was when our first television campaign went live on national television, for vitamin supplements. Instead of feeling proud, I felt confused: “Are this pills even working?”, and “Who am I helping here?”. It should have been my highlight, but instead it put me into huge doubt.
From then on, I saw the ad industry in a different light, and suddenly it seemed so weird to work on promoting supermarkets one week, to campaign against food waste the other week. It all felt so trivial to sell new flavours of toothpaste, or new fragments of shampoo. It’s not per se that I felt better than that, but I did feel the world could do fine without all that nonsense.
I decided to leave the advertising industry, even though in college I had been looking forward to this for four years, doing everything I could to learn more. It felt like a huge gamble, but I also knew it was the right choice: I joined an energy-startup, worked really hard and spirited, to create media with meaning, to promote renewable energy. That startup grew very fast, so in a sense it has also propelled my career.
It is then ironic that I now again work in the ad industry, since the summer of 2016 — but in a whole different kind of agency, one that does create media with meaning, for brands that do good. Yet that started all back in 2014, by leaving the ad industry.