Q & A with Peter Erich, senior marketing strategist and poet
Peter Erich started at the bottom now he’s here. And “here” is a relative term which doesn’t mean accession, or higher-level, or growth. It just means that he has accepted who he is and that he is going challenge himself. His accomplishments don’t mean anything compared to what he is capable of. He tumbles at HyenaSpit. Check out some of his publications; namely “Same Grape, Different Name” and “Hyena Spit, The Poem.” Follow him on Twitter: @Peter_Erich.
GB: Peter, thank you for taking the time for this Q&A. My first question is usually: Can you tell us a little bit about yourself? What’s some background information worthy of noting for our readers? Any notables you’d like to self-plug?
PE: You’re welcome. My poetry has been published in multiple journals in the US, Canada, and Australia. I work in advertising and I am good at it. This job however is money driven and thus goes against everything I believe in. This makes my day-to-day life full of playful and serious conflict.
I guess if I were going to plug something I would choose one poem of mine, Flower Heads and Grain, Published in decomP Magazine a bunch of years ago.
I would also suggest reading One Train May Hide Another by Kenneth Koch.
GB: It is my understanding that you work 10–12 hours a day in your marketing mindset. How and when do you find the time to change gears and shift into using creativity to produce content? Is it difficult to remain focused or self-disciplined in one or the other?
PE: HA! Self discipline! That is something I have none of. Everything I tend to do is based on impulse and desperation. I have come to accept that of myself and implement strategies that will hopefully grow better habits.
I write in one place and under two conditions.
The place: My office desk.
The first condition: The very early morning, when the office isn’t in motion. I still smell like shower, my Adderall has just hit, my coffee is half down, and I have a spare moment.
The second condition: 7PM, when everyone has left and I have put a bourbon in me.
GB: Much of your work incorporates both reality and the surreal, sometimes even a hybrid of the two. Where do you find inspiration for these revelations? Is it difficult to then transpose the concept into a piece of writing?
PE: I think it WOULD be difficult for me to do these things IF they were performed with strategy. But they are not strategized, and thus not difficult. In fact they’re easy. Literature, art, creation — they are all exercises in freedom. This is a space where I can do anything, say anything, any way I want. When I am writing, I am running. When I am creating, I am sizzling. Maybe my lack of discipline and impulsivity helps me, maybe it comes off as energy.
Right now I am pulling inspiration from Mary Oliver’s poetry, The Essential Teachings of Buddha, the news, and all the marketing trade journals I read. Writing copy for a commercial is great fodder for poetry.
GB: What are some of your favorite things to do outside of your professional career? Do they influence you too?
PE: I enjoy music, my family, and going to the gym. I guess all those things positively influence my life. That’s not an interesting answer.
GB: A positive attitude in life is the driving force behind much of humanity’s success. It is the foundation of many relationships and objectives. How does this concept help your professional career? Do you have any anecdotes about personal success that could help us understand this?
PE: Simply, do what is right by your client.
I once killed 60% of my client’s advertising budget and thus cost myself a few thousand dollars in revenue because I knew the solution I was providing was not working for him.
In return for my honesty, he made me his official agency of record and thus invested more with me and my company.
Simply, do what is right by you.
My current boss told me that I should call my old boss (who was always rude to me) so I could show him I had surpassed him on professional ladder. Basically rub his nose in my success.
I stood up to my current boss and simply said, No. I do not believe in doing business that way. It didn’t get me anything, other than I felt better with myself.
GB: A successful future relies on how we teach our children to contribute to a global society. Being positive is a good start but what else is needed? And with that in mind, What advice can you give to someone starting out in this strange time?
PE: You are entitled to nothing. Because you play the game does not mean you get a trophy. Because you tried doesn’t mean you win. The world is more competitive than children are taught. The world is more cut-throat than children are taught. Older generations will assume you are just another entitled kid, so be aware of yourself, expect nothing, and be prepared to persevere.
Then be your own public relations manager. No matter what you do, or how you do it, be prepared to encounter someone to challenge you. Be ready to fight, be ready to spin perception in your favor.
Greet everyone with happiness and gratitude.
Be aware of your own breathing.
Other people’s opinions of you do not impact who you are. You are the only thing that impacts who you are.
Anyone can come up with a good idea but those who are truly valuable make that idea happen.
Lastly, balance economic stability with family. Neither should outweigh the other.
GB: The measurement of time is heavy on the human soul. Do you consider personal capability something that has a malleable definition? Or is it fixed by fate and destiny?
PE: I don’t know what most of your questions means and don’t explain it to me. To the last part: fate or destiny. Neither. The answer is three fold: Society. Luck. Hardship.
Society. So much of your life will depend on when and where you are born, your race, your eyes, your family, your clothing, your car, your last name, and your economic standing. I don’t think it is fair but I do think it is true.
Luck. Maybe this is the fate v. destiny question you were getting at? I don’t think this matters at all. It can’t be accounted for. You only have this one moment. What is your fate, destiny, future etc. is irrelevant. It cannot be predicted or anticipated. Whatever happens, try to find a way to use it to your advantage.
Hardship. I believe those who encounter and overcome hardship have a perspective and drive that most don’t. Those who have ridden the biggest swells have no problem handling the daily surf. This is just my theory, but hardship breeds drive, confidence, wisdom, and growth.
Interview originally published in November 2015 at ONLY HUMAN. If you enjoyed this conversation, please recommend, comment, and share. Spread the love and be better, friends!
Thanks for reading!