The Article That Changed My Marketing Career.

 

@erikharbison_newcareerpath

A new career path begins.

Well, 820 total words to be exact.

And, to clarify, this article was more like a ‘catalyst’ for a major change in my marketing career.  It opened my mind to start thinking differently about career factors and priorities.

When I say factors, I mean the core drivers behind anyone’s career.  What is our main influence in why we do what we do. Some pick prestige. Some pick money. I was aligning with purpose.

It was like any other day. I was getting ready to go to my job as Chief Marketing Officer at a B2B software company that helped small businesses (a market that I was very interested in after 20 years of supporting Fortune 1000 clients at various digital agencies).

Part of the morning routine was to skim through my Flipboard app. Read, like, share, comment on various digital marketing posts.

Then I saw a link to a tweet by Scott Mautz.  I quickly read the title. It resonated.

The headline read “I Left My Corporate Job–and These 8 Things Became Clear”.

It resonated because at that time in my career I was seeking clarity..but I wasn’t sure exactly what was not clear.  I’m a sucker for listicles, so I clicked with anticipation that there may be some inspiration coming.

I skimmed the article.  Then again. Then read each of the ‘8 things’..slowly.

Yep. Me too. Exactly.  That’s a good idea. I hear ya.  These were the thoughts in my head as I read the article.

My first reaction was to gut-check myself.  Running from a problem is never a good thing to do in any career.  So I had to be sure.

I asked myself..was I running from something or was I becoming inspired to develop a path and start running towards an opportunity and renewed purpose?

Well, I then had to read the article another time..just to be sure.

Yep. It’s the latter.

Two things happened after the time I spent reading that article…

  1. I sent a DM to the author, Scott Mautz, in twitter and thanked him for the article and inspiration to start opening my mind to a career change aligned with where I am both passionate and competent. It was therapeutic.
  2. I had a renewed excitement about ‘what could be’ if I just thought through some other moving pieces.  It became a nights-and-weekends obsession.

I quickly became enveloped into my role and all the things that become an overwhelming focus, and necessity…people, process, tools, performance. Rinse. Repeat.

It wasn’t until I was at a local University as a guest instructor for a digital marketing course that the impact of Scott’s article became clear again.

Wait, I really do enjoy helping students and other marketing professionals navigate their careers.

How can I make this thing my new career?

I searched again for the article, reading it another dozen times.  Should I just quit? Or should I prepare for a more gradual departure (factoring in other risks)?

That conversation with myself (and with my wife of course), led me to find further validation. So I quickly read Seth Godin’s book The Dip (only 96 pages) one summer weekend at the beach.

Okay, now a path forward has become more clear.  Identify a path that aligns with my mission of helping marketers navigate their career.

At that point my mind was open to other influences and catalysts that could support my new found career approach.

Enter, my network. Specifically, a specific Linkedin post.

It was by an well-known entrepreneur that referenced a start-up.  That start-up’s mission was to help marketers AND small businesses.

This start-up helped small businesses by providing free digital marketing support.  They helped digital marketers by providing them with opportunities to get experience – as a means to secure paid, full time work in the future.

Mission of helping marketers and small businesses. Check.

My next step was to connect with this company.

I contacted the entrepreneur, who made an introduction to that company.

That company (GenM.co) was in the process of developing a curriculum focused on helping digital marketers secure full time marketing roles and was seeking someone to lead the initiative.

Yes please.

Things started falling into place and I was very fortunate to align some other coaching and consulting opportunities (each aligning with my mission) to begin this new journey.

Yes, there were some sacrifices to be made, but there is no price you can put on a clear mind, focused effort, tangible productivity and making an impact on the lives of others.

Below are just a few excerpts from actual emails of students and marketing professionals that I’ve been able to help in my new venture, aligned with my mission of helping marketers navigate their careers.

This is why I do what I do. And it validates following through on the catalyst that was an article from Scott Mautz. (Read the full Scott Mautz article here.)

“You are very inspiring and thought provoking about goals. I would be very interested in what direction you would steer me if I gave you more details.”   

“In the years since our introduction Erik has been there to provide me with guidance in a variety of ways – early on he was one of the first career mentors I leaned on to figure out the best direction for me, and has helped me to expand my network locally as well as within my professional industry.”

My marketing career is now on a clear path that is focused on a purpose that can change lives.

 

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