Lighting the Damp Match
By Josh Shaffer
All through my school years, I always wanted to be a teacher. I had so many awesome figures that I looked up to that knew how to inspire and motivate me to push the boundaries of what I thought I could achieve. So, I went into college as an education major.
While I knew that being a teacher was a tough job, I wasn’t prepared to learn that teaching required a lot of tedious information that I cared little about. I suppose I always thought I’d have more freedom with the content I would teach, but often times the curriculum is far different than what I’d ideally instruct on. After switching my major to communications, I discovered that working with tricky or unfamiliar topics follows you wherever you go!
I recently began an internship with Truth in Accounting, a non-profit watchdog group that provides transparent government financial information. I was incredibly excited to merge my interest in non-profit work with the communications industry, but I felt overwhelmed. I knew little to nothing about government finances - how could I possibly put together information about pension funds and social security debt and package it to be interesting to the public?
It just didn’t click with me right away. After some time, deliberation, and strategy sessions with my colleagues, it started to resonate with me that just because the topic was foreign to me, it doesn’t make it any less important.
As I talked with the researchers, I learned that politicians purposely fudge financial data to make it seem like finances are getting better while in office so that they have a greater chance at re-election. This phenomenon has awful implications, which proves the importance of the work I am doing to reach out to the community for awareness of our government’s corruption.
In the advertising and public relations industry, there’s a good chance you’ll be placed on a client team that doesn’t excite you - at least at first. It may be hard to stay motivated to produce work that is reflective of your potential because it doesn’t feel exciting to you. My piece of advice is just this: spin the way you think about your client’s business to make it feel as important to you as it is to your client.
Say your new client is a construction company. You may not particularly care about the construction industry, but if you spin your thought process into the human connection aspect, your work becomes more impactful. Think about all the lives of the countless amount of people that will be impacted by the construction company you are consulting. Think about all the people that will live, laugh, and share memories at the places that will be built by the construction company.
It’s not always easy, but I promise the moment you spin your thought process about your client that you once considered to be boring or unnecessary, the fulfillment you feel will skyrocket.