You have probably heard the phrase “it takes a village to raise a child.” Well, it also takes a village to run a PPC account. The parallels between a baby and an account are numerous. They both can get cranky for absolutely no reason at all. You will go crazy if you do nothing but watch them day in and day out. Throwing money at them doesn’t solve problems. When they are too quiet, you know to expect permanent marker rocket ships on your white leather couch. Fixable? Yes. But a mess to clean. Sometimes, following your gut instinct instead of reading blogs will be the best thing for both of you (but you should still read PPC Hero). And it is nearly impossible to do it all alone.

I recently returned from 12 weeks of maternity leave. Do you know what changed in PPC in 3 short months? Just about everything. Updates to software (See Shannon’s post, AdWords Editor 12: Everything You Need To Know), new user interfaces (Mary covers this in First Impressions of the New Google AdWords Dashboard), additional features (check out the webinar, Best Practices and Upcoming Features in Bing Shopping), new strategy (See Tanner’s blog on Smart Bidding, Google Releases New Maximize Conversions Smart Bidding Strategy), betas, new Website designs (have you seen Hanapin’s new site yet?), new rules (This is Your First Look at the Impact of Google’s Exact Match Update) — and on goes the list. When I was doing PPC day in and day out, rolling through the changes was normal. I read the updates, adapted my workflow, and moved on, asking, “What’s next?”

But then I stepped out of the game for 84 days. And I tried to jump back in where I left off, hit the ground running. For the first week, it felt like trying to jump on an operational treadmill.

The agency did not wait for me. PPC waits for no one! Here is the good news though: because I work with an amazing team, I stopped working for 480 hours and the progress on my accounts and my projects did not stop. Teamwork. It really does make the dream work, folks. So whether you are returning from a week vacation, parental leave, or returning to a PPC career after owning and operating a frozen banana stand for a year, finding your groove can be tricky. So I have come up with a list of how to get your PPC groove back and remind you that you are never alone in your struggles.

  1. Have patience. This seems like a no brainer but I am here to tell you: even if you walk into your office the first day back with the rational mindset of “I am just going to ease into things”, your irrational self will try to tell you that your job is in jeopardy if you don’t do something worthy of your time RIGHT NOW. “Look at all your coworkers!”, your irrational brain will say. “Look at how hard they are working! They resent you for being gone so long! You need to catch up now!” Panic will follow. Take a beat. Breathe. Smile. Your job isn’t going anywhere without you.
  2. Act like you are new to the job. Reacquaint yourself—with your desk, with your coworkers, with all of your passwords (note: you will probably have to reset at least half of them as you have forgotten. I couldn’t post this blog without resetting my password).
  3. Do nothing but read for hours or even a full day. Jump on the blogs. Read something new. Read something you find fascinating. Read something about what you wish you knew more. Whatever it is, just take the time to see what others have been up to around the industry.
  4. Do nothing but talk to other PPCers for a day. Sit down with a colleague. Buy them coffee. Chat about their accounts. Ask what has gotten them excited in the industry as of late. Jump on #PPCChat. Engage with your fellow nerds.
  5. Teach yourself a new skill. I took an online Excel course. While so much of what it covered was not new to me, what was new was fun to learn and it gave me a tangible sense of accomplishment.
  6. Do something that scares you. Write a blog on a topic you don’t yet feel confident in. Volunteer to head up a new project. Challenge yourself.
  7. Give yourself a break. You aren’t going to be perfect right back in the swing of things. Rome wasn’t built in a day, you know. And be honest, we you perfect before you left? At the end of each day, write down one thing you accomplished. Tomorrow is another day to fill with all things PPC. But for now, take a deep breath and know that your PPSea Legs (see what I did there?) will return to you before you know it.
  8. Say thank you. When you work for a company such as Hanapin, you are surrounded by kind, brilliant people. When they offer to help, accept the offer and say thank you. Be humble and know that one day you will get to return the favor.

We are fortunate to work in an industry that is always changing, never stagnant. Much like chasing a toddler around the house whilst holding a newborn, PPC can be exhausting, frustrating, and downright crazy. During our monthly training day, we do a whole segment on industry updates. Every month. And every month there are more updates than what we actually have time to cover. As crazy as it sounds, don’t use this as an excuse to not take a leave of absence. I promise you it will all be here for you when you return. And you can bet whatever you do miss in the industry will be covered on PPC Hero. No doubt about it.

I was able to temporarily leave the job I love, knowing everything was going to be chugging along without me for one simple reason: Hanapin has my back. It is rare to work for a company who fully supports work-life balance. Starting this year, Hanapin began offering paid parental leave. This is huge. Not many companies, let alone companies our size, offer this to their employees. But when you invest in your employees and their families, you invest in your company’s future. I came back to my career excited and ready to work.

I leave you with these final thoughts:

  1. You can and will get back into the swing of all things PPC with time, patience, and help. Coincidentally, those three things are also important when raising a child.
  2. If you love PPC like we do, you might want to consider applying with a company who understands the demands of a career do not undermine the demands of your life. Hanapin has openings. Check us out!