Thursday, March 1, 2012

Pick A Job | Advice from Mad Men

This is America. Pick a job and then become the person that does it.  - Bobbie Barrett, Mad Men "The New Girl"

Last week, gentle readers, your MatchGirl wrote about whether it was possible for one to truly reinvent themselves in the digital age. With our more connected world comes greater visibility. And less of a chance to hide who you might have been.

In thinking about it more, though, I wonder if we can use social tools to - not to hide from who we were - but to be open about our transformations. 

It's something I've certainly done, from the beginning of my time writing Unemployed Brooklyn through the fun ride of Hire Me Martha to me finally landing in a place that I truly love - thinking about, playing on, moving forward with and working in the field of social media

On some level, this quote still rings true. America is still the land of opportunity, the place where you can decide what or who you want to be and then work your ass off to do it. Sure, it matters, still who you know and who you meet. But you can know those people. You can met them. And social tools make it even easier.

So, did I follow the advice of Bobbie Barrett, Don Draper's ambitious lover in season 2 of Mad Men? Yes. I did. And then I went further.

I've been nothing but transparent about my career change. I've been nothing but honest about who I am and where I come from. I'm happy to tell would-be-employers that I don't come from a traditional PR or marketing background. I didn't study it in school. I learned it in the real world. In a country where Americans have, on average, 7 jobs in their lifetime, isn't it better to keep learning and growing as you work? To keep acquiring new skills? To keep making your personal brand stronger and more marketable? 

If I'd learned these skills in school, I wouldn't have been taught about social media. It didn't exist. And it's possible I would find myself in a much worse unemployment position than I do right now. Because it's very possible that if I had been taught PR or marketing at university I would not have figured out the social tools that are so very necessary in today's world. 

I wouldn't have fallen in love with social media because I wouldn't have found it on my own. I wouldn't have been in a position to take chances and express myself. I might not have thought to start this blog.

Or maybe I would have figured it out.

It's no good looking at what might have been, anyway. But, gentle readers, it is important to focus at the task at hand.

So, take Mrs. Barrett's advice: Pick a job and then become the person who does it.

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