Never did I imagine that when I would grow up to be a techie and that my career would become entirely dependent on one thing, the availability of the Internet, and yet this is exactly what happened. My job is an intersection of the two things that interest me, the arts which include music, literature and basically any other medium that allows for stories to be told, and digital technology. I hang on to and work towards the ideal that digital technology if used in the right way can make a positive impact, for example, give a voice to the voiceless, and occasionally deal with the reality that it sometimes doesn’t. But enough of that, this piece does not serve to give the advantages and disadvantages of Internet but to highlight the lessons I have learn throughout my unfolding career journey. While they are written from the perspective of a digital marketer and content creator, they do apply to people pursuing various career paths in the twenty-first century
Things have changed. Things are changing. Things will continue to change. This is a fact, pure and simple. Just over a decade ago neither digital marketing nor content creation were considered an actual career path but now they are. Due to this field being relatively new, I have to supplement whatever little knowledge I have had by accessing other resources, sometimes in the form of books and sometimes in the form of free online courses. This is in addition to learning on the job. The lesson here is if you are willing to grow in any field, it is not enough to wait for information to be handed to you. There is only so much that formal education and on-the job training will teach you. Learn to learn.
Support and be supported
The “I don’t how to do this ” look is not a hot look to sport but it is sometimes the necessary look to have until you actually do know, and it is way better than the “I pretended to know how to do it and then they figured out that I didn’t” look. Admitting that you need support from time to time is not a bad thing. It is a good thing. I’m part of a few digital and social media marketing forums, or is it fora (insert thinking person emoji) for women, and the great thing about them is that people can ask questions such as which platforms to use and how much they should charge their clients without judgement. So, don’t hold back from joining learning and support groups, getting mentorship or asking questions. Here’s another thing, don’t get caught up in thinking that you have nothing to bring to the table. You are just as capable of helping one person as you are receiving help from another. There are people out there who may not know what you know. Give and receive support.
Understand what people are interested in
This is a basic principle of networking, socialising and generally being a better person. If you are in the media, communications and marketing space, this is the basic rule of survival. Not everything is about what you like. Oftentimes, I have had to put aside my interests and preferences to tap into those of my target audience. It is not easy and I don’t get it right all the time (besides my tastes would not be considered mainstream) but meeting people wherever they are and not wherever I want them to be is important if I want to make an impact. Whatever space you are in, unless you work a rock, there is a level of interaction involved so strive to make a connection.
(sigh) I hesitate with this point because authenticity is one of the most overused words among millennials and Gen Z-ers alas…Authenticity is about embracing who you are staying true to yourself. This allows us to build genuine connections and be more confident in ourselves. During the times that I have had to do a presentation, network or basically interact, I have found that I am more at ease when I let my real personality shine through. So, know you and be you.
Not everyone is going to like what you do nor are you going to get it right all the time but that’s okay
You really can’t please everyone all the time no matter how hard you try but as people always so, do your best. When you make a mistake learn from it and move on. Whether it was coordinating a program at my first job at an NGO or managing social media platforms at the subsequent ones I have fallen flat on my face – an oversight in the logistics, a typo on the social media copy etc- but I have had to get up, dust myself and move forward. Similarly, your work may resonate with some people and not with others but rest assured in the fact that you gave it your best shot.
So that’s enough words of wisdom from me folks. Remember, to never look down up on yourself and keep pushing forward.