As I’ve referenced before, my educational experience includes a Masters in Library & Information Science and a Masters in History. I often joke about the fact that those two degrees explain perfectly why I ended up working in and loving marketing. However, if I may be so bold, I would like to say that my experience is one that could be helpful to people right now. A lot of people, because of the financial realities of today, are being forced to take jobs that they might not like or that they might view as beneath them or not ideal. I thought about my journey of transitioning my head from academia to business, from History & Library Science to advertising and PR. I think it can broken down into three steps. And here they are.
1. Dedicate yourself to your job. Sure, you might not want to even consider the possibility that you could be in this thing for the long haul. But you are not going to feel good about your experience until you take the bull by the horns and say, “I’m going to do the best I can.” Standing out and performing well is a challenge no matter what job you have. The less familiar you are with the job, the more interesting this path can be. But you will not be able to feel like you are living the dream until you take this first important step. As a sidenote, dedication also means learning. Learn everything you can about your job. Why were you trained the way you were? Why do people do things the way they do?
2. Look for things you love. No matter how unlikely it may seem, if you look, you will see traces of things you love in your new job. But you do have to look. I thought that I had wasted all of my time in school because I didn’t see how there could be any remnant of Library Science or History in my marketing job. However, as I familiarized myself with my job and really dug into it, I realized that a key facet of marketing is understanding not only how to find things on the web but also to understand how people generally look for things on the web. Guess what a primary focus of the MLS degree is? I initially didn’t see how my research skills could come in handy, but I found that I could enrich my experience as well as that of our clients if I brought my research skills, based on academia, into the business environment. You might be saying that that’s all well and good. Maybe you’re having to work retail or fast food or some other job that you just don’t see how you can get any use out of. But look for things. Do you love dealing with people? Embrace that. Are you interested in business? Study how your managers delegate and do business. You never know what might pop up.
3. Strive to bring what you love to your job. Whether or not you find things already in place that you can love about your job, try to figure out ways to bring your own thumbprint to your work. Use your training and experience and make them relevant. You can’t just do this to do this. It needs to make sense and it shouldn’t end up creating any problems or more work for anyone else. But the possibilities are also endless. Bring your passions into your new job. Don’t view them as mutually exclusive, but rather see how the jigsaw puzzle fits together.
If I hadn’t actually pursued these three steps on my own and had some success with it, I might be sitting here saying what you might be saying. “All well and good, but…” Well, as Pee Wee Herman says, “Everyone has a big butt.”
What do you wish you were doing right now? What elements of that job you had or really want are most appealing to you? How can those fit into what you are doing now?
We’re all struggling to cope with this massively evolutionary environment we are in. We are all, in some way, either supporting someone who is having to settle in some way or having to settle ourselves. But this is not a dead-end path. It can be a fun path. A challenging path. A path of ambition and passion.
Try it out. Think about it. Let me know how it goes.