I Love a Job I Should Hate

What gives?

When I was a kid, it was a well-known fact that my vegetable consumption consisted of iceberg lettuce, cucumbers, store-bought tomatoes (not from my Dad’s garden, those tasted too dirty), corn and potatoes. That was it. Canned spinach, French cut green beans and peas—certainly not peas—weren’t allowed within a fork’s length of my plate.

Fast forward to adulthood and surprise—peas are delicious, especially fresh ones. That sweet pop of flavor is scrumptious, as is asparagus, cauliflower, broccoli and a veritable vegetable rainbow that’s part of my daily diet. Over time, I opened up my mind, my palate and my understanding of my well-being and that helped me learn to love and appreciate that which I once abhorred.

My work life has been a lot like my vegetable epiphanies. When I was younger, I thought I wanted to work in advertising as a copywriter. It looked sexy and creative, I was smart and funny and could spout slogans and taglines in my sleep. Once I got into it, I realized… not so much. The truth was, the job required endless meetings, posturing from idiots and round after round of revisions that typically killed the best ideas in favor of the words “win, save or free.”

I left that field and ended up working as a features editor at a strong community weekly. My stories, while edited and collaborated on, were in the paper every week, and no one cared when I was in the office, as long as I hit my deadlines. The takeaway: I love autonomy. I like the structure of deadlines. I can deal with the fact that you’re never, ever “done,” because when you put one issue to bed, it’s time to start working on the next one. In retrospect, it was the best job I ever had.

After that, I crisscrossed the country with my husband (the major breadwinner) and kids a couple times but ultimately landed in Seattle 10 years ago.

Just this year, I took a job as a Product Copywriter for Nordstrom.com It’s a production line job, really—a bunch of copy drones, working in cubes, writing 160ish characters plus several descriptive bullets about clothing. You go in, do about 40-50 per day, and you leave. I should hate it more than peas on a broccoli sandwich, topped with my Dad’s tomatoes.

Here’s the thing: I kinda love it.

I like the fast pace. I like the fact that because of the volume, there are no meetings where people piss on your ideas to justify their existence. If I write, “Get ready to say yes to all your summer party invites, because you just found your go-to dress…” no one’s asking, “What if she wants to wear it somewhere besides a party?” And, even though it’s repetitive, and sometimes you’re wondering what the hell you can say about a white tee shirt, I find myself up for the challenge, and I try to make my copy as fresh, compelling and persuasive as possible. Not just because it’s my job, but because I want to.

So, next time you’re swiping left on a job you’re sure isn’t for you, try something else. Try the peas.


Vicki Wilson has been writing professionally since 1994. In addition to writing for publications like the Washington Post and Chicago Parent, she’s crafted compelling and clickable copy for several websites across various business disciplines. In between these gigs, she’s written some pretty creative letters to the editor, parody songs, Facebook statuses and Yelp reviews. These days, she can be found parsing the mission of statement sleeves and much more as a Product Copywriter for nordstrom.com

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