Integrity and the career dilemma

So now I’m really only a month away from moving back to Australia for good and I’m thinking about what I want to do job-wise when I get there.  I can’t afford to be out of work for long – in fact, the truth be told, I can’t afford to be out of work at all!  But realistically I have to be for a bit.  If I get a job by the end of January that will be an absolute miracle, but I can’t assume anything in that respect.  I am impatient and I want a job and a house within a week of getting there, but it’s simply not possible for things to happen that way.

Anyway, the main point of this post is to talk about my moral dilemma in terms of my career.  I stumbled by accident into web editing, and have been pretty reluctant all along to embrace it completely, despite being a lot better at it than even people who have made it their career.  And now I seem to have stumbled across marketing, which I briefly considered a couple of years ago but which I feel so morally opposed to in so many ways it’s not funny.

Marketing is such a transparent, cheap, superficial career. Account managers are responsible either for promoting, say, one product, or one company, or one class or series of products, or in the case of the organisation I work for, promoting the excellence of a certain group of companies within a particular industry, or promoting that industry to companies.  At least it has a vague moral base in terms of boosting the economy, but even that just doesn’t sit right with me.

The more I think about it, as must as I’m really morally opposed to advertising and selling non-existent or intangible products or services, I think this is more about me than about some overarching moral or ethical argument.  While I don’t agree with all that sales/marketing rubbish because it’s trying to force people to buy things they don’t want and spend money they don’t have, I also don’t feel as though I could do that, knowing full well that I am so opposed.  I can’t sell my soul… As Kath Day-Knight says after speed-reading a book, ‘Yes… it was good. I don’t agree, but it was good.’

It’s tough, because I know what I’m capable of, and I know I’d easily be able to do what those stupid marketing bimbos do – flog something with clever words and earn shitloads of money doing it.  But I can’t bring myself to do it, regardless of the money. 

There’s more to it than that.  The job I currently do is hardly important.  Yet I am vaguely interested in it, and I’m good at it, I’m very much a valued member of staff and I do a lot more than I’m required to do.  I actually do enjoy it.  In the grand scheme of things, however, it means nothing, achieves nothing, and the world would not even be remotely changed if I didn’t do my job, never mind whether I do it well or not.  The main difference would be that fellow members of staff would be slightly more stressed because they had to do work they didn’t understand and shoulder a burden that I’d otherwise I have sorted out.  But in terms of what my job is about and what it achieves in the world, it means nothing and doesn’t contribute or change the world.  It’s not even really that creative, just pretends to be.

And that’s another thing that shits me about marketing people. They claim to be all ‘creative’ etc etc – what crap!  Marketing is not creative, it’s not free, it’s sly and insidious.  It’s wrong.  The kind of people involved in marketing are more interested in whether they’re wearing the latest fashion accessory than actually contributing something in the world and saying something worthwhile.  Marketing is just sweet talking, it’s basically lying as an artform… so I suppose in that respect it is creative!  The sentiment behind marketing is like, ‘oh I didn’t lie, I just adjusted the truth ever so slightly’.  Bullshit!  A lie is a lie, end of story and I think anyone who can pretend what they do is okay when really it’s just lying for a living needs their head read seriously.

Gee, I’m really angry about this apparently!  So, back to my initial quandry: what do I do when I get home, how do I promote myself career-wise? What do I want to do?  That is the question.  Actually I know what I want to do, but I just don’t know how to market myself, given my current skills, or at least given my visible experience, to get the kind of job I’d want.  I think I can do it though.  The editorial industry is quite competitive and the marketing monster rears its ugly head at every turn!  I found that out the hard way when working for a publishing company, B2B.

It’s hard really because I’m 31 now, no spring chicken in terms of building a career, and while I know it’s always possible to change one’s career nowadays and do something different or tailor skills to suit, the editorial and writing sphere is rather hard to break into without starting right at the beginning.  And of course, being a typical artist type, I’ve got no discipline or ability with really putting in a hard slog and dedicating myself to making the best of things, putting in the effort and working hard to build my career.  I just float about and fall into things, and somehow the editorial sphere hasn’t been one of those things I’ve fallen into.  I need some contacts, some friends in high places with influence, who can help me place myself in the right context and move in the right circles to get me where I want to be.  And it’s hard as well because I haven’t actually done the sort of work I want to do, not just that anyway – I’ve always done bits and pieces.  How can I say I’m good at things but not actually demonstrate it?  That’s my question to myself.  Now to find a mentor I suppose… I could easily find a protegee… but a mentor?  What’s in it for the mentor?


Author: curiosikat

Writer, editor, linguist, social historian...

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