Today, I was officially transferred into the Marketing department of the company where I work (I was formerly in the Technical Documentation department). This completes a circle begun twenty years ago (!) when I accidently enrolled in the “Business Technology” program at the University College of Cape Breton (UCCB), a two-year diploma program designed to help the aimless find work.
I had the bright idea to major in Data Processing. Unfortunately, I don’t have the noggin for it, so half-way through my second year I transfered to Marketing.
This was around the same time I became a minor celebrity for my “Harry for Prez” posters, which depicted my friend Harry in a number of absurd situations that had nothing to do with his bid for Student’s Union President. He won by a landslide.
I was a budding cartoonist and designer, plus I was studying marketing. Sounds like a formula with a lot of potential. Unfortunately, this was Cape Breton, where most jobs involve either back-breaking labour, or automatonous button-pushing. At that point in my life I had never met a creative person–or at least one who made a living in creative pursuits. The result was that I never felt all this was anything more than fun and shenanigans.
On the last day of classes, after I had obtained a perfect score on my final exam, my marketing professor was chatting with a few of us about what we planned to do next. He said to me something like “everyone knows you’ll be going into advertising”. He might as well have said “Deep-sea golfing”. I just stared blankly and said “Huh?” then “No, I want to get a job”.
It never occurred to me that anyone (least of all I) could do anything other than sit at a desk and do what someone else told me to do. My response was to go back to school and get a Bachelor’s degree from St. F.X.U., focussing on psychology and sociology. I also wrote for the student weekly, photographed for the weekly and the yearbook, designed posters for the film and lecture series, and designed t-shirts for clubs and societies. By the time I obtained the degree I was disillusioned with psychology (enough with the rats!), and had no desire to be a burned-out, overworked social worker.
After a few false starts I got into technical writing, where I’ve been ever since. Along the way I always had at least one toe in the creative pool. For example, I spent a few years at Concordia University (part time) working on a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree (incomplete). I’ve designed a few little websites, like this one. I’ve written the odd article published in obscure magazines. And of course, I entertain my friends with countless emails and blog posts about the silliness going on around me, such as this “requisition request” I sent to both my new and my former bosses this morning, after the announcement that I was moving to Marketing:
“Marketing Weasel” kit requisition
- Armani suits = 2
- Chalet in the country = 1
- Amex Francium* card = 1
- Lunch vouchers for “Le Mas des Oliviers” = 100
- Pan-airline automatic upgrade card = 2
- Gold tooth = 1
- I still haven’t decided between the Porche Boxster and the BMW Z3. Will get back to you on that…
(*Francium = the world’s rarest element)
So now I’m in marketing. My job is primarily to write text for brochures, the web, magazine ads, etc., but I also contribute to the design process. I’m now where all those people from my past thought I would end up. Which of course begs the question, “What do I do next?“