May 26, 2015
This week marks one year since my college graduation. 365 days give or take, since I was thrust from a fluorescently-lit carpeted classroom to an office with exposed brick and reclaimed wood floors (talk about an upgrade!). And while this experience is by no means unique, the mark of a calendar year requires some thinking, a little reflection, and for me, an assessment of what it means to be an Account Coordinator at a creative agency (hold your laughter, there’s some really deep, contemplative stuff coming your way).
Margaret Mark & Carol S. Pearson’s The Hero and The Outlaw, Hatch’s book club read for this month, refers to brands in their essence as a “repository, not merely of functional characteristics, but of meaning and value,” and similarly, as adults we seek careers that provide us an identity; in other words–our jobs are an extension of our personal brand. So how do I as an Account Coordinator provide “meaning and value” for both myself and for Hatch?
Well, since I’m running with this whole branding-is-a-metaphor-for-my-career/life hypothesis, I’ll continue on to how brands both manage and make meaning for themselves. The Hero and The Outlaw would offer that brands are absolutely reliant on archetypes, i.e. one-dimensional personalities like ‘the jester,’ ‘the hero,’ or ‘the regular guy.’ They’re primal, recognizable, and powerful.
Job titles are in one way or another an archetype. My job description offers in detail what the bounds of my responsibilities are here at Hatch, and as long as I fulfill those responsibilities I should be encased in that “meaning and value” that an archetypal title provides, right?
The most recognizable brands, the Nikes, the Apples–they’re not just one archetype, they’re many. They’re multifaceted and nuanced, just like people are. They’re a blend of the ‘caregiver’ and the ‘explorer’ with just a hint of the ‘sage,’ and they completely evolve and transform over time. And just like brands, our roles at work and careers at-large shouldn’t be singular. One thing I’ve learned at Hatch (along with funny acronyms like OOH and AOR) is that the more you own outside of your role, the better your “meaning and value” will be. And that means both fun, challenging tasks and mundane, rudimentary tasks.
So as I reflect on some-365 days post graduation about what it means to be an Account Coordinator, I suppose I’ve left you with: it means not being an Account Coordinator.