I look for jobs almost every day, using online job boards. I see hundreds of jobs that I would never do, and a few jobs that I could do but don’t want to do, and then a very small number of jobs that I both could do and want to do.
Every once in while I see jobs that look so amazing and perfect, but that I could never get.
I have a number of years of experience in project management, event production, and general management. I can read contracts, manage budgets and financial, plan and execute a workshop or a convening, and development new programs. I can write grant reports and grant proposals, and I can write web copy and e-blasts. I can do a lot of things. My resume shows this broad base.
Which is why I can’t get a job as a marketing associate, or (honestly, shudder) a development associate anywhere on God’s green Earth. I have not specialized, and therefore, I will never be considered for these specialized positions. I see them come up relatively frequently with organizations that produce work I really love. But I don’t apply for them because my resume would just get thrown out 1) because I am too senior for a associates’ job, and 2) because I don’t have specialized experience on my resume.
Perhaps arrogantly, I think I could absolutely be the Associate Director for Marketing at the Fancy Schmancy Film Institute or the Director of Branding and Communications at a small, killer downtown theater. But I don’t apply for jobs like these because 1) I would never get an interview because my resume does not match the criteria for hiring and 2) my work samples are too collaborative, and I would not feel comfortable presenting them as my own work. Because while I might be arrogant, I am not an actual liar. But I think I could do these jobs. I think I could do them well. Institutional communications can be fun and creative. I used to make up insane brand slogans for arts organizations in my Arts & Marketing class.
But maybe I should apply for these types of jobs? Not in development, since I really feel uncomfortable in development, but in marketing. These assistant and associate level jobs. It could be good. It’s what I tried to do 10 years ago when I graduated from college, but then I gave up and took a job in publishing so I could pay my rent, go to the doctor, and stage manage at night.
Maybe I need to humble myself in this ultimate way, and start again at the bottom. But I would want it to be lead somewhere that I really wanted to go. I’m not sure if being the Director of Marketing is where I want to go.
As Sanjay says, “no wind is the right wind if you don’t know where you are headed.”