The Atlantic is launching a feature that gives people the opportunity to sound off on their misunderstood jobs.
We’ve collected the responses from media people so far and printed them below, but if you’re interested in this sort of thing, definitely check out the original link to see all sorts of other misunderstood jobs, from soldier to teacher to librarian.
Thanks to Mad Men and the countless ads on TV for schools that “allow you to express your creativity to its fullest potential”, the thought is that every design job is a sexy glamorous job. Once you’re through with school, you’ll land a job at Leo Burnett, BBDO, Nike, Apple, or another company that has a pool table, sexy promiscuous secretaries, very entertaining socio-political drama, or something your parents and friends would recognize on the shelf.
The reality of it is the vast majority of designers will work to make ugly things for strategically incompetent people only to have more people still think very little of you…..It’s not simply pushing a button and clicking a few functions in Photoshop. It’s a complicated industry with its own ecology made up of incredibly hard work individuals that is routinely undermined by its own customers.
Editors usually have more in common with psychologists than copy editors: more of my time is spent cajoling, calming, crisis-managing, and recomposing than checking for typos. If you are a writer, my job is to make your job look easy; bad writers can be hidden by good editors.
Two misunderstood writers after the jump.
Misunderstood writer #1:
I am a writer/correspondent for a prominent person in a 250 year old international company, which is a rarity in these times. I have been with this company for 20 years and love what I do. Our core business is art, and I am surrounded by scores of educated and extremely experienced art scholars. I am also surrounded by many people with expertise in financial deal-making and business. In general there is a very high level of intelligence and education at our company. Yet colleagues will frequently come to me with a writing assignment or question, or ask for assistance on something particular, often with the preamble, “Will you please help me with this, it’s so easy for you…” Writing well day after day is no easier than being a well informed art scholar, a savvy deal maker, a good photographer, a hip web designer, or…an artist. Each of these skills takes years of practice to do well. So, too, does writing take time, patience and passion. In business, unfortunately, there is often no distinction whatsoever made between the daily communication all of us must undertake (emails) and the more ernest application of writing skills offered up every day by those of us who do it for a living. People who do not write for a living do not understand that writing is not easy.
And writer #2:
I am part writer, which is the supposedly creative field in which my brain batters off words that delight and applaud the senses, and part personal assistant, which to this day is basically a position created out of spite for humans (this I am sure of!). What people don’t understand is that yes, the surroundings are lush! Yes, the people are fabulous! Thank God, YES, the room is air-conditioned! But the constant servitude, the irrelevant, asinine assignments on a whim, and multiple Starbucks visits “for the team” are coupled with snarky, derogatory comments about your aptitude as said human. I work hours are well over the 24/7 mark, and in return have been told to “pretend that I’m a good writer.” On paper, the idea of travelling to Paris, Milan, London – ahhh kill me, my 5 year old self just peed in her pants!! Little does anyone know that you don’t even see the cities – you arrive and hide in various offices, showrooms, and apartments, waiting to be let go, listening to snotty jokes and catty remarks. You don’t have weekends – there is a Facebook emergency. You don’t meet friends for happy hour – there is a couture emergency. You have no life whatsoever, you are to only have the life that employs you – which for some, may be tops, but for me – it’s very hard to see the use in waxing poetic on the latest mascara.
Tell us: What don’t people get about your media job?