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Variations include: I wish they would let me do my job, I wish they would let me do what they hired me for, why did they even hire me, I just want to do my job, and many more. I’ve worked in marketing and advertising (yes there is a difference but that’s a different story) since 2015. If I had a dollar for the number of times I and my colleagues said the aforementioned phrases, I would literally be a billionaire. If I apply for a marketing position that advertised its need for new and creative ideas and get the job, I would like to present and implement new and creative ideas. I understand that I need to learn the business and present things in a way your client base understands, but for the love of all things holy, let me do what you hired me to do.
It started in my first marketing job out of college. I was working as a social media manager. I had a few accounts that required me to update their social media pages regularly. By the time I was hired, I had an understanding of what this was because I was an intern doing basically the same thing for free. However, as a millennial and eager worker, I had new ideas for content and a new way of doing things.
When presenting these ideas, I was met with “we usually do it this way” and “maybe we can try to work it into something we already do”. Now that I’m a little older, I understand. If you’re not completely familiar with something, you won’t trust this new kid and his weird new ideas that haven’t been proven yet. Doesn’t he understand that what we’re doing is good enough to get by? We don’t need anything to disrupt our flow and rock the boat. Basically, my ideas were reduced, watered down, and transformed into something that wasn’t even mine anymore because of fear of the unknown.
“we usually do it this way” and “maybe we can try to work it into something we already do”.
Needless to say, the idea did not work and things resumed as normal. However, I now had a small understanding that if something is working (or appears to be working) older people, managers, etc. may not want to change it because they are afraid of it being messed up. After all, they are trying to run a business and if it’s not completely broken, why should they try to fix it? This experience was what I now refer to as my welcome to the real world. When someone in upper management who has done something for years says they want new and exciting ideas, they really mean “Bring me an idea that’s a slight variation of what I’m currently doing because what I’m doing is good enough to get by. I know it needs to be different because it’s getting old. I want to try one more thing to see if we can make it a tiny bit better, but don’t change what we already have.”
So there it was my welcome to the real world. Let the journey begin.If the spirit moves you, I’d love to hear your story in the comment below.