My Career: The Last 5 Years
Just the other day I was scrolling through my Instagram feed and stumbled on this post from February 26, 2013 (see below!). It was almost five years ago to the day and reading it now, it was almost like a premonition. It occurred to me that I am that copywriter I was telling the universe (and my 3 followers) I wanted to be.
Your life is kind of like that person you see every day who never seems to change—but when you go a long stretch without seeing them, they look so different. I'm trying to shift my perspective a little bit to appreciate those differences that it's hard to see when you're IN your life every day. I so easily get caught up in the drama of my daily routine—the challenges, the setbacks—that I fail to appreciate that I made my goal happen. And where I am now is pretty cool! It's good to stop and look around and remember why I wanted to do this in the first place, and let that trump everything else.
As a little exercise in appreciation, I took a look back at some of the moments in the last five years that led me to where I am now—starting with that Instagram post!
I was working as a Marketing Coordinator at Target, folding clothes into bins and shipping them to studios around Minneapolis, while writing my blog on the side to build up a portfolio. I sent out countless resumes (mostly to clothing and beauty companies) grasping for that first foot in the door and the chance to prove I was a writer. I was very confident in what I wanted to do, and would've moved anywhere in the country for the opportunity.
I'll never forget the Friday night phone call from the recruiter calling to tell me I'd gotten the job. My dream job and first salaried position! I felt an instant sense of validation—they even paid for me to relocate to Madison, WI. Three years out of college, I was finally on the right track.
As the only copywriter for the Home team, it was a thrill to occasionally attend photo shoots. Here, I joined my art director to scout some pups for a catalog spread. Looking back, it was awesome to have a supervisor who set up opportunities like this and valued my inexperienced perspective.
I wrote a lot of product descriptions and catalog copy (belts and sheets and lots of un-sexy stuff!), but my first shot at writing the editorial spread to set up the men's swim season and open the book was exciting. It was certainly higher profile, and one of my first times "making up" copy without outside guidance or direction or data or facts—something I've learned to do many times since.
Another day hanging out at a catalog shoot. I had no functional role for being here, and still so appreciate that my boss, Bob, and the on-set Creative Director made room for me to just hang out and take it all in. So fun.
I learned so much on the job. My Creative Director made everything seem low-key and low stress (which I love, having had supervisors who do the opposite). I was freaking out when he told me to come up with ideas for the Home Summer Preview cover, but he made it seem like NBD. Or maybe he just had confidence in me.
Popping bottles for my new job at Aveda! I thought applying for this job at Aveda was a long shot, but I wanted it and applied (and went all out by designing and mocking up a lifestyle email blast for the interview), and I was ecstatic when it worked out.
Writing the Fall/Winter Hair Color & Makeup Collection book was a super intimidating task—but I survived! The Creative Director even said that the letter I wrote on her behalf to define the collection and open the book was possibly her favorite yet.
Explaining how a makeup collection was inspired by birds in an aspirational yet easy-to-understand way (when that inspiration is very loose to begin with)—in only roughly 20 words—was a new kind of challenge. And after doing mostly catalog work, seeing my writing on splashy fashion posters was a thrill.
Getting to name makeup shades was super fun (though, still grueling)—I spent days coming up with pages of options. In the end, my tough supervisor did compliment me on creating some beautiful shade names. I grabbed screenshots of a few of them when they popped up on Aveda's Insta Stories last fall.
Another new start! And a welcome change of scenery as I started my role as a copywriter at Evereve. After a detour into beauty, it felt great to get back to my roots in apparel—and to finally be in women's fashion! I had arrived where I set out to be in 2013.
Writing copy has been challenging as the Marketing point of view shifts. I was proud of this ad copy I wrote for the controversial and hard-to-define "Dress Like a Mom" campaign that articulated what it means to be a mom who loves fashion.
I updated the social media bios for the brand in May 2017, and the CMO eventually picked up on it and decided the line clearly articulated the brand's Marketing edge—something I'd defined without any outside guidance or urging. That line is now the brand tagline, emblazoned on shopping bags and hanging in store windows across the country.
Getting here didn't happen over night, and I guess that is part of my point. It's been a slow climb. If you're getting impatient about some of your goals, keep going and don't expect that instant gratification. The baby steps do pay off! And in the meantime, pat yourself on the back for what you have accomplished (TBH, sometimes you're the only one who will!), and enjoy the present moment, knowing that whatever you're doing now is probably setting you up for something coming in the future.
In the next five years, I have more goals—I want to travel for a work project (can you believe I never have?!), manage an associate writer and earn a position with a bit more authority—I'm liking the sound of Editorial Director! :) It sounds lofty now, but—as this timeline proves, so much can happen in five years. (See my full portfolio here.)
Where were you five years ago? Where do you want to be in another five?