Who are you?
I am a Toronto-based marketer by day, 90’s sit-com addict by night. Current houseplant mom, future dog mom, and futurer human mom. I run a mentorship program at my alma mater that seeks to help students land their dream jobs in brand management, specifically within Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG). More importantly, I am one of the few people in my friends circle who still likes their job after all these years, so I figured I’d start writing about it!
Why should I care about what you have to say?
You certainly don’t have to, but in my experience it never hurts to hear another perspective. If you do choose to bounce now, you can bet I’m still counting your unique visit in one of my sell decks later on 🙂
I have been lucky enough to work at a Fortune 100 company for the past 6 years, and even luckier to have held 6 progressive roles in Marketing over that time. I’ve worked in “traditional” Brand Management (big and small brands), Innovation, Shopper Marketing, and New Business. In recent years, I’ve become a people manager and lead recruiting efforts at my company, so it’s been interesting to approach the topic of “career” from all angles.
Why are you blogging about career stuff?
Between babyhood and toddlerhood, we grow up with lots of structure. Set nap times. Set play times. Cubbies marked with your name in your favourite colour. Parents and guardians teaching us that things are very black and white (like how I shouldn’t have thrown my brother’s toys in the toilet). Fast forward to adolescence, the structure morphs into a defined set of hours and subjects that we take at school. Music lessons. Swim practice. Curfews. Exam schedules. As much as we hate to admit, it was nice to know when to expect things. In gym class, we always played basketball in the Winter and switched to Track in the Spring. You knew you would see all of your friends again come September when school started. But fast forward to early adulthood, our training wheels are brutally ripped off with little warning. Suddenly, we’re expected to have all the answers to very adult questions like “what do you want to do with your life?”, “how will you make a living?”, “who will do your taxes?”, “what does your investment portfolio look like?”, and “do you have life insurance?”
Did I miss the part where they handed out a 108-page PDF explaining what all of this even means?
Career is often the biggest drag. Most people finish their undergrad at 21 or 22, with little work experience and hugely unrealistic expectations about what their future will be like. Very few people have a structured, planned out approach to their career. Instead, they daydream about a great paying job in a field they’re “passionate” about. They want a fancy office, flexible work schedule and the opportunity to make a big impact from day 1. In reality, most have an over-inflated sense of their own marketability, don’t have a clue where they stand amongst their competition, and sadly don’t know how to position themselves to have a fighting chance at that dream scenario. In the end, they settle for a mediocre entry level job that turns their brain to mush and then bitch about it over one too many $15 cocktails at happy hour.
Other people choose to invest in higher education after completing their undergrad, usually as a way to gain credibility and pivot into a more interesting field. The trouble is, without putting in the proper due diligence like networking and learning about various career paths, this is only an overpriced way to buy slightly more time. Many of my friends have candidly confessed that they got Master’s degrees because they were unsure of what to do next. Then, after spending an exorbitant amount of money, they realize they are still vying for those same positions as any other new grad, and feel hopelessly behind.
That’ll be covered in a blog post one of these days, but Marketing kind of fell onto my lap. But now that I’ve been in the industry for some time, there are certain things in hindsight that I wish knew earlier. For example, there are 2 things about a career in Marketing that are often misrepresented: 1) Marketing jobs are all “creative”, and 2) Marketing jobs are impossible to get. I have now been “adulting” for nearly a decade, and a marketer for most of it. I’m hoping to take some of the things I learned throughout my journey so far as a marketer, and chop them up into bite-sized pieces that will arm you with knowledge, change your mindset about what is possible, and ultimately help you kick-start or accelerate a career in this exciting field.
Disclaimer: I still don’t have life insurance.