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What happens when the romance dies?

Any job has its perceived romanticism. We picture chefs as delighting smiling customers. Mathematicians might be idealised as economy-shifting magicians. In reality, when we ask about their day-to-day, there is more sweating over a stove or a code than we romanticised. This also happens to marketing writers, of course.

When asked what I do for a living: “I’m a writer.”

“Would I know any of your work?”

"Seen any billboards lately?”

The reaction is invariably disappointment. I have written 0 novels thus far in my career.

Why do we over-romanticise jobs?

We are setting ourselves up for disappointment. It seems like a let-down that today, an interior designer might spend as much time sitting at a desk typing as a programmer does. We fantasize about a career as an illustrator, to discover that illustrators spend most days editing publicity to the liking of non-experts in illustration.

When I interviewed Vanessa Buendia, Marketing Content Manager at Utopia Music recently, she told me the same can happen to reporters.

Red roses cover the screen as though the article author took a close-up of a rose bush

Journalism is a very romanticised job. You go to journalism school because you have this idea that you can change the world. You're going to come out with the truth, to be ethical…

“Very quickly, you find out that they pay you peanuts for what you're doing. There’s some journalist somewhere, in Palestine or North Korea, who is risking their life for a mediocre salary. And people watch it over dinner, say 'isn’t that sad,' turn off the TV, and move on with their day. So you get disenfranchised with it.

“As you mature, you want to be able to provide a better life for yourself or your family. That's why many good journalists drop out of the career and move into marketing, investor relations, or communications.”

How can we avoid over-glamourising and find careers that use our creativity? Can we become what we dreamed of as a child and retain that romance factor?

Perhaps, like in any relationship, what we get out of our relationship with our career is what we put into it. As we decide to transition from hard-hitting reporter, out to change the world with information, to being a corporate blog writer, we can decide we're out to get a great company’s message to the world.

A writer's tools fill the screen: a laptop, notepad, pen, and coffee.

Buendia is happy about her career change, now helping the voice of an aspirational brand reach more people: “I may no longer be a reporter or editor but I sure as hell love what I'm doing! I found a different focus for my talents.”

We can find moments of beauty in our day-to-day. We can pivot to an adjacent market. We can make our own impact. By forging relationships with people that we can truly help, on a micro level we can change a little bit of the world. Because really, making a macro change takes lots of small steps, lots of acts of service, from and for many individuals.

This website might not change the world by helping people to write better, but if those people earn more respect, website sessions, or money as a result of this blog, it might change the world for them.



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