At my last job, I often got frustrated with the number of people who seemed to view my primary job responsibility as increasing their sales revenue. A lot of people knew about our thriving entertainment district and many magazines called to ask if we wanted to buy ads in their neighborhood issue. Most of the time, we just didn’t have the budget. What I found startling was that most of the time (not always), the sales rep’s face filled with skepticism and just a little impatience. She didn’t believe me and didn’t feel the need to hide it.
Looking back, I think I understand why. I worked for a parent organization that covered many different neighborhoods. We also represented a thriving neighborhood improvement district within our territory because they had their own administrative entity. It was an organization within our organization’s geographic foot print. Most outsiders didn’t stand a chance in understanding that relationship.
Magazine account executives came to the meeting and took in the plentiful office space and staff, their pupils dilating into dollar signs. Incidentally, the lack of understanding about our mission and structure became my highest priority during my time there, but that could be several posts.
A few weeks into my new job, one of our tech guys called and suggested I meet with an email vendor he’d worked with. This was good news, since I’d spent a lot of time evaluating and making new plans for the website and hadn’t yet been able to tackle our email system. I wondered if it could be improved with a different vendor.
When the meeting came, he introduced me to his friends and explained that he wanted to offer me an introduction because he’d seen them do such amazing work. The meeting was highly informative, but not in the way they anticipated.
Listening to them made me realize what an asset I am. There wasn’t a single piece of information they shared with me that was new. I understood the inherent conversational advantages to social media, aligning content across channels, and have a general understanding of how organic SEO works. Of course, I am always working to deepen my knowledge, but this meeting cemented my confidence in myself and my abilities.
This job in particular, shined a bright, impossible-to-ignore spotlight on my passion and talent for content strategy, writing, and engaging people. I have a much clearer direction and sense of how I can create value.
What job situations have given you unexpected insights? How do you handle people who make assumptions about your department’s resources?