Granny Panties + Unsexy Jobs.
Let me set the stage with a quick story:
“Wait, so what do you want to do in the future?” the fresh-faced boy asked. We were in the middle of a startup conference in San Francisco (because, of course). The boy, clad in converse, jeans, and a Salesforce tee struck up one of those awkward conference conversations where you can’t tell if you are networking or being hit on.
He was a 26 or 27 year old “tech entrepreneur” with some generic dreams of disruption and innovation. We stood there for a minute, because I just didn’t get what he was asking. Did he mean my future in 1 month? My future in 10 years? I looked at him quizzically and stumbled through my reply, “Erm, I’m a copywriter. That’s what I do. That’s what I plan to do…you know…in the future…”
“No. I mean, what is your next step?”
Ah. I got it then. This adult boy was not asking me a question.
No. He was telling me I should strive for something different. Something brighter. And shinier. A future with gravitas, probably to impress more adult boys on conference floors. I ended our conversation there; thrilled I hadn’t offered one of my Moo.com business cards. They aren’t cheap!
He called after me, “I know people at startups!”
I tell this story not for the novelty, but because of its proximity — it happened yesterday. So, this kind of thing happens frequently.
As it turns out, self-employed copywriter is not a sexy job. It is kind of like a pair of granny panties. Beige, baggy, and an oddly perfect fit.
The line “I’m a copywriter” is not a magnet for your dream partner. It doesn’t kill at cocktail parties. No one asks you where you went to copy school.
In past lives, I’ve been able to say things like, “I litigate for the US government” or “I’m an early startup employee.” These jobs sound fantastic. They sound like I’ve accomplished something and am going somewhere. And yet, all of these titles were manufactured. They were designed as a stand-in for my ambition and intellect.
Now, I’ve only got my wits + elbows. And a lame-o title.
Copywriter is unsexy because it does not obviously suggest the markers of success we ask for when talking about our professions.
But after years of having juicier job titles, I don’t mind a little disregard and indifference.
Because now, I feel like a superwoman to my clients. I swoop in and solve critical issues for people and companies I adore.
— Like that mission-critical value proposition I uncovered for a large healthcare company who had been struggling for months to determine their message; or
— The Bay Area startup who had a 5x launch after I revamped their corporate voice and landing page.
You see, this unsexy job has brought me more satisfaction than my hot + heavy titles ever did. It has offered boundless opportunity for creativity, delight, and deeply needed service.
And that’s my granny panty job — perfectly fit, if not obviously sexy.