Or, I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up.
When I was little, I was sure I was going to be a novelist. A writer. I have always been terrible expressing how I feel verbally, but I’ve always been pretty good at the written word. Even before I could write English, I would tell my Grandpa stories from a book with no words or write squiggles and be a big girl writer.
Then I went to college and started working on an English degree. I liked writing fiction, but I discovered that I liked literary theory, too. Then I went to Scotland on a study abroad, and I discovered that hardly anyone in the States was talking about Scottish literature and I wanted to help the “little guy” of the English literary world. And I just loved the culture, the writing styles, the gruff but sincere works that I read. So after I got my BA, I decided to get a Master’s studying Scottish Literature. In Scotland.
This whole time, I was still going to be a novelist. But I paid my way through school by coding websites. See, when I was about 13, I watched my brother do well for himself at only 18/19 coding. I thought it sounded like fun (and I liked the thought of making good money as a teenager). So I slowly started learning to code using Geocities and a lot of Google searches. (I’m sorry, most of us coders still teach ourselves largely with Google searches, this is not weird.)
Real life happens. I finished my Master’s not totally disillusioned with academic life, but not ready to dive into a PhD either. My first non-coding job was doing what would now be considered reputation management. I wrote product descriptions, managed Facebook and even Pinterest (Pinterest was new and shiny!), monitored reviews (and learned Yelp sucks), wrote blogs and even some press releases. I put my writing degrees to use, at least.
But I get bored easily. While I did some freelance writing, I found my way back into development and coding at my next full-time job. Over the years, I have had jobs where my main focus is supposed to be web development, but I’m not great at doing the one thing. I spend too much time researching, learning, and ready to delve into something else to just code websites all day.
So I coded. And I learned how to structure a website and write great website copy. I learned how to present the benefits, not the features, thanks to an old boss. As my company has grown, I’ve had to provide more social media management, then Facebook ads, then Google ads. Marketing is great because it never stops changing.
Marketing also sucks because it never stops changing.
But overall, I love that I do a variety of things because I haven’t yet had to figure out exactly what I want to be when I grow up. Instead, I get to have fun learning new fun things so I can better help my clients.
And also, selfishly, no day is ever the same.
One day, I may write a novel I actually like enough to share with other people, but for now, I’m having a blast using my writing and other skills to help people grow their businesses.
This article originally appeared on my personal website, marisavanskiver.com, but as I wrote it, I can reuse it. 😀