On the morning of Jan. 2, 2019, just over 24 hours into my 41st year on Earth, I walked in the door of a third-floor suite in a riverfront office building in Bristol, PA, and I started a new career.
No, the job I’ve now held for one month wasn’t – isn’t – just a job to me. Accepting this position as an entry level content writer at a digital marketing agency marked the end of a gut-wrenching, soul-searching four-month hunt for a post-journalism life path.
I’ve been walking that path in some very different footwear than I walked as a sports journalist for almost 20 years…witness the Sam Edelman pumps from Trunk Club that have left me with blisters on my heels AND toes.
I’m also walking this path in a different “heat” – to borrow a term from the athletic world – from most of my coworkers. I estimate I’m one of the five oldest people in the entire company, and definitely the oldest in my department.
I’m a complete newbie, but I want to succeed in this field because I want to have a future in which I can make a living with my talents and passions.
Guys, I don’t know if you can tell from checking into this blog in the past, but I love, love, LOVE to write, and I’m good at it. That’s the most definitively confident thing you’ll ever hear me say.
I’m good at writing for my new company’s clients, I guess, because I’ve been told as much by my editors and managers. This means a lot to me because the demands of the digital marketing content cycle are like nothing I’ve been exposed to before. And the writing style itself is very different.
I won’t bore you with all the particulars of writing for Search Engine Optimization (SEO) except to say that our No. 1 goal in writing our content is to boost our clients’ ranking in Google searches, which makes it different from writing for a newspaper (or producing videos for a newspaper company).
Our clients range from hoagie makers and fitness centers to personal injury lawyers and debt collectors. So, every day, five days a week, I write at least five articles of varying length, and the topics can veer all over the map between auto parts, dental work, electrical repairs, nutrition, gifts and collectibles…you’re already lost, so I won’t go on.
As a journalist, I did one story a day. Some days, I just worked on a story and didn’t actually publish anything. And it was all sports, all the time.
That was a cool job…in an industry that I knew couldn’t sustain me as I edge into middle age.
Do I miss it? What’s the point in missing things you’ve left behind? My current schedule gives me no time – until the weekends – to think about anything but what I’m researching and writing for clients. I don’t have any time to look back or have regrets.
I’ve struggled hard in this first month, though. I’ve worried a lot. I’ve lost sleep. I’ve cried. I gave up my CrossFit membership because I’m too exhausted to do anything except quick workouts in my home gym (I’m still doing that every day!!!)
This is the hardest transition I’ve ever had to make in my life, and I moved across the country TWICE without knowing a soul in the town – nay, the region – I was headed.
I made it a month, though, and I’ve already learned so much. After feeling like a square peg for a while – you try being a married, 40-year-old woman with wrinkles and a 20-year career already behind her, who thought she was internet-savvy, in a society full of fresh-faced, single 20/30-somethings who can run circles around you with their knowledge of the digital world – I’m beginning to feel more at peace with my place. I’m feeling more comfortable in letting my personality out.
More important: I’m feeling more confident in my ability to do this job and handle any writing assignment they throw at me.
I’m good. I know I’m good. I’ve been good at everything I’ve ever attempted – not naturally, not immediately, and never totally, not without mistakes and pratfalls and failures. I’ve been good at my jobs because I wanted to be good, and I wanted to learn, and I wanted to improve. I’ve been good because I took pride in my work, and I always put my whole heart into it – to the point of worrying and crying, yes; my husband can tell you it’s true.
I’ve done all of that – cry, learn, improve, talk my husband’s ear off – in one month. I’m sure I’ll do much more of it in the coming months.
I hope, someday soon, to be able to wear my suede pumps again in the office without limping and cringing in pain with every step. They are cute, and they were #$%^-ing expensive!
Maybe if I had as much passion for fashion as I do for writing, I’d be better at it.