I can never take myself offline.
When I go on vacation, I continue to check emails. I check stuff on weekends and even often find myself lured to powering through the last few things at work each night... Being the first one in the office in the morning and the last one to leave at night.
And I'm the boss. That's not how it's supposed to be, is it? Or, is it?
I was at the office late one night last week with a few of my team members. One of them walked past my office and looked at my screen...
"Why are you still here? And why are YOU working in Excel?" he asked, confused.
"Um," I said startled. "Why would I not be?"
"At my last company," he began to explain, "My boss said that he was beyond working in Excel at this point. He said it was something someone at his level shouldn't be doing."
I get the point. And to my dismay, I see it often in the Search Marketing industry...
"The higher up you get, the less you pay attention to the details and only focus on the big strategy and high level stuff."
Or so the "explanation" goes. I think that's crap though. Complete and total B.S. Here's why...
As the Search Marketing industry has grown and evolved (at least in the 9 years that I have been working in it), the one thing that has remained absolutely constant in that time is that change is inevitable. And in order to stay on top of the latest in best practices, strategy and executional tactics, you HAVE to be able to roll up your sleeves and dig in sometimes. Not often. But occasionally.
The biggest reason why I find myself jumping in and doing stuff on rare occasions with client work is to help alleviate the load on my team's plate. We work at a pretty big agency with top-tier brands. Whatever they want, we give them. We are the Search Marketing experts, but if a client wants a report on performance for an account that they launched just yesterday... And the team has a ton of tactical and optimization stuff they have to do... Dropping everything to do the report for the client is not always possible in their bandwidth.
So yes, I will jump in and help out. Damn right I will.
Plus, once you stop using Excel... You lose the shortcuts and formulas that have become second-nature. And I personally like flexing my Excel muscles. (I actually flex them more often than my real muscles lately.)
Plus, since I manage the business decisions for my group (the hiring of employees, the parting of ways of employees, the promotions, the pricing of deals - for the most part), all the things I use to track that stuff is Excel-based. So in order to make the best decisions and forecast where the business is going, Excel is essential.
I explained this to my team member. He got it. But it was a very different approach to my role than what he had seen at his last agency.
"That's why you work for me," I told him. "I actually know what I am doing when it comes to Search Marketing... And when it comes to running the business."
It appeared to resonate with him, and gain me a different level of respect beyond just being "the person in charge."
I will never be a Search executive who only focuses on high-level stuff, comes in at 9:30am and leaves at 5pm.
The "Mad Men" way of doing things has long since passed. And anyone trying to live that way is lazy... And in my opinion, sexist.
In order to win loyalty from the "Millennial" crowd of Search Marketing people in the industry, you can't be the "visible-yet-absent" leader. I'm certainly not saying that all Search leaders need to be doing things the way I do... But I am saying it has multiple benefits; between helping with the attrition problem rampant in the industry and being able to really understand what you should be creating for clients.
Besides... at the end of the day, beyond the paycheck and big client names... What makes me most happy is the performance and results driven by the campaigns and optimizations we create.