My Checkered Past And My Uncertain Future


Today on an advertising and marketing news website, I saw a posting on the front page for a Global Communications Manager for a large national grocery concern. The job description was some hiring manager’s wish list and, of course, so out of the ball park where real life candidates are concerned, it was pure fiction. BUT WAIT! As I read the 4 paragraphs of job functions, requirements and preferred’s, I realized I had nearly all of what was written there on my own resume. Well, if not all on the resume then certainly emblazoned on the pages of advertising and marketing history.

Here’s the list of job functions in the description of the idea candidate: communications, marketing, public relations, customer information, website content, social media and employee education.
Responsibilities (paraphrased with just a tinge of my own wry style): figure out how to articulate, brilliantly and consistently, the company vision inside and outside the organization. Create and grow an enterprise media channel and a team to support it. See around competitive marketplace corners and end run the fast trackers. Be the leader in the category, find, capture and keep a global customer base. Tell the story brilliantly by whatever means possible, effective, measurable, and ultra hip without alienating anyone. Keep adjusting to match the word on the ground about the firm and its competition. Be a cool, confident and masterful corporate spokesmodel and industry leader while taking direction from your superiors in good humor. Be strategic, yet friendly, strong, yet empathetic, forceful yet compliant. Understand and abide by the organizational matrix while working nimbly, responsively to the outside market pressures and always with “impeccable integrity”.
hallelujah!

I’m going to post my story which is illustrative of something I’ve been trying to wrap my mind around for many years in the world of careers: How can anyone have all these things and be 27 years old?

I wrote a cover letter to attach to my resume hoping that the meer iteration of my varied work history would wow the hiring manager enough to favorably interpret my resume. At the end of the hour it took me to write this history I clicked apply only to find that the job was no longer available.
Anyway, here goes: MY LIFE STORY in 722 words!
——————————————-
Dear Hiring Manager, I saw your posting on Ad Age Talent Works, February 8, 2010. My first thought was “I can do this!” As I continued to read down the lengthy job description and requirements, I realized for the first time in a long time, that only a person with my especially diverse background and experience could actually meet the challenge described here. Following, is a brief Work History.

Open on: JOB FUNCTION – Broadcast Advertising Producer
Time Period: The Golden Age of Madison Avenue

I’ve worked in every medium since Television was king. Video is just today’s term for what I was doing in the country’s greatest advertising agencies. We told product stories on film. Then on tape, now on video. Same thing. Through the magic of broadcast, tell your story in a compelling way. Coral a team of work-for-hire crew people, shuttle back and forth from a team of ego-driven child like creatives and a team of button down collar MBA’s, effectively translate the madness to a team of anxious, check writing brand managers. Find the talent, the music, the crew, the money and the management skills to somehow get it all done and have fun doing it.

Cut to: JOB FUNCTION – Interactive Multi Media Production Manager
Time Period: The Boom Times of the Commercialization of the Internet

There were only a handful of people who could even talk to Software Developers (they weren’t called that in 1993) let alone market what they did to other people. Yet, that’s what I chose to leave advertising for. Sick of being told to “just do it the way we’ve always done it in the past”, I went to work at a think tank. There, I organized the Call for Entries for the First National Information Infrastructure Awards. I met some of the most progressive thinkers in the entrepreneurial forum of the times working in the hotbed of development, Venice California. Hollywood Online was down the hall, the guy beta testing Java was across the room. The first advertisement appeared on the Internet. It was a thrill to come into work every day. That job set the tone for the next ten years of my life as an entrepreneur on the “bleeding edge of technology”.

Cut to: JOB FUNCTION- Interactive Multimedia Producer/Writer/Project Manager supporting my habit as a Journalist on the Interactive Multi-media Beat
Time Period: The Information Age – The Height of the Internet Boom

Web start-ups were thick on the ground, advertising agencies were upside down, the Tower of Babel was growing between a generation of geek upstarts and the establishment. No one knew what to make of what was happening, let alone how to get in the action. A hand full of very smart people organized a vocabulary. The ones making all the money were the ones teaching the hungry mobs how to use it. I was one of them (the teachers not the mobsters). Clients sought out the few of us who could translate from traditional media to the new language of zeros and ones and all that that implied. People just wanted to get on the rocket ship. Most didn’t know where it was going and didn’t really care. I was a columnist for the new generation of web sites that told the whole story. Translating the principals of the new digital economy I was distilling what was geek to most people into language they could understand and use. Private clients kept me going as I helped build the new online world.

Dissolve to: JOB FUNCTION – Business Communications Consultant and Interactive Media Guru
Time Period: Post Internet Crash
Strategy, not content, is King. Everyone’s got the keys to the kingdom they just don’t know how to reach the constituents. The world is waiting for millions of messages and wants them all the time. Feeding the Beast is the new mandate and the information age producers don’t know how to. The blend of traditional and new media is daunting and the well-known vehicles for delivering the Word are out. Distribution is upside down. The world is transparent. Measurement is opaque. My work became translation of the New Age funnel to those searching for their audiences and paying customers. Perspective is everything. Having seen the movement from the inside out, I could see the story and tell it. And I still do.

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One thought on “My Checkered Past And My Uncertain Future

  1. Brilliant! Elaine you nailed the new age of work -everyone wants over qualified candidates at under market rates and of course, you have to pretend to still be 22 years old. And convergence and social networking really meaning connecting to one person at a time – even while we feed the beast and data grows exponentially until we’re all overwhelmed trying to decide what to do first.

    Dianne Gubin is an executive recruiter, career consultant, public speaker and working mom. www.DianneGubin.com

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