Today is my last day at work.
About six years ago, as I was working my way down from somewhere well over 200 pounds (!) toward a healthy body composition and accompanying mental state, I was also struggling with the desire to create and write, the need to earn money and the urge to develop some sort of individual identity. The atoms collided when I spotted an ad for a copywriter. I applied for the job and didn’t even get an interview. Just a few months later, the ad reappeared; whoever had got the job the first round didn’t work out. I got a second chance. In the meantime, the building that would eventually become my workplace became a landmark on my daily run. I’d will myself to run faster and farther, pushing an old jog stroller with a couple of kids in it, as I trained toward my first marathon and made deals–if I can run 5 miles without stopping, maybe I’ll get an interview.
Amazing things are always happening, whether or not we’re actually amazed. And believe me, that state of constant amazement? It’s exhausting.
On my second chance, a remarkable and brilliant copywriter decided to become my champion. In time and with his help, I got the job.
I have been working with some decidedly outstanding art directors and graphic designers. I have been working for possibly the most generous, humanity-loving business owner out there. And I’m grateful for the occasional shot of validation between the persistent body-blows of (sometimes useful) criticism. Copywriting is hard for many reasons: the subjectivity of language, the fact that nearly everyone has relative mastery of a writer’s tools (MS Word, anyone?) and thus undervalues the actual writing part, the shortcomings of verbal and written communicators in the chain of process…and of course, there’s often no accounting for taste. Let’s face it: nearly everyone fancies herself a writer.
If all that sounds bitter, it’s not meant to be. It’s the reality of selling stuff and persuading people.
I sought the job for the validation, and over time I got what I was looking for. And more. Some of the best colleagues I might have wished for, and even some friends among the lot. A lot of practice working with a broad range of personalities. Daily exercise in casting off the nafs. Exposure to some fascinating businesses right here in the Fox Valley. I worked with the best proofreading/copy editing team anywhere. With an IT team that is helpful and smart and really cares about making sure we have the right tools for the job. With an admin/receptionist who, frankly, puts others to shame in terms of professionalism. And with a few folks who reminded me in their own ways that there is still a big-old world out there, always ready for any of us to head out into it and live beyond the limitations we impose on ourselves.
Really, it has been a pretty good run. I am sincerely grateful, and I would not have had it another way for the past four and a half years. I hope a wonderful future lies ahead for my colleagues, and I wish you the best of all things.