For two years now, I've had trouble explaining what I do. After taking that initial leap to become self employed, I was met with all sorts of curiosity. At first, it was welcomed and I enjoyed sharing my story. That quickly faded. After a while I craved a short, succinct answer that would both satiate the inquirer's interest and do my career justice. I'll be honest, I haven't found it.
Mainly, I've noticed two major themes that cause some real awkward social interactions: 1. Most people do not understand if you don't work a traditional nine to five and 2. marketing has evolved with technology and fancy industry terms do not resonate with most people.
I was pretty amazed to discover the serious disconnect people have when you explain that you're self employed. Even more surprising still, the fogginess is present among progressive people my age. After getting through a semi-painful explanation about how NOT working permanently with one employer does not mean I don't work full time (or more than that), there usually still exists a lingering judgement of sorts. An, awe-shucks that's too bad, you keep going sweetie. I once had an acquaintance ask me how fun-employment was after several conversations on what I do.
Truth is it doesn't bother me. I feel like Lena Dunham when she retweets people calling her body a ziplock bag filled with cottage cheese: totally absolved from having to feel your shit. Like Dunham, I see it as more of a sociological observation. As technology continues to progress, it'll be possible for more people to work from an empowered position: their own. Which brings me to why people stare at me like i'm making fart noises when I fumble through what I'm doing with all that non-traditional work time...
Content marketing. Digital content strategy. Culture designing. Social media unicorns. Err brand management.
W.T.F. do you do?! It's kind of hard to explain... "Are you a stripper or something?" That was an actual question.
Yes, to top off the audacity of working for myself, i'm not selling flowers or some other straight forward good. I'm selling my services in an industry that is constantly redefining itself to cater to technology. It's the Inception of career choices.
Marketing has changed considerably since my graduation in 2009, many thanks to social media platforms, apps, and the myriad of ways people now consume content and make purchasing decisions. Where once there existed strict lines that separated advertising, public relations and marketing, they're all enmeshed these days–– if you're doing your job right, and I'd like to think I am.
The best way I've heard this explained recently is "Interactive Marketing." Hear me out. I promise this is based on common sense and not the verbal equivalent of catnip. I, alongside other talented folks, work together to concept ways for a brand to interact with people–– period. For me, throwing in "digital" or "social media" pertains specifically to a medium, which are pretty much changing daily. So if you're on your A game and follow where the people go, then you're making relevant, valuable content they will interact with and share with their tribe.
Here's the deal: We are human beings, not digital platforms. Marketing is now more than ever about connection. It’s about throwing away buzz words & creating something with meaning. At the end of the day, conversations are not “digital.” They’re interactive. Crafting experiences with value adds depth & meaning, turning one-sided ads into a dialogue.
Do you like that? It's on my resume.