It is not personal.

On a rate of 1 to 10, with 10 being the highest, advertising will always score very low when it comes to job satisfaction. And by job satisfaction, I mean a feeling that assures you that you are doing something good, for yourself and others. In fact, I had read a study a couple of months ago that clearly stated this. Most people in advertising, aren’t the most happiest. It is very rare that I have come across someone that is truly passionate about it. Or really does think that advertising is a profession that does some good. It is absolutely no wonder that earlier generations never thought of advertising as a worthwhile career. Why would anyone? What is it that we do at the end of the day? Sell stuff to people. And sometimes entertain them. What good ever comes out of it?

I was recently asked if I had a problem or value clash with working for an alcohol giant. It was exactly the question I had been struggling with since I started working for the brand. I drink.  But I don’t drink like most people. I don’t drink to get drunk. I don’t have need to be high or every time I have some alcohol, I don’t look for being high or drunk as the end result. In fact, lately, drinking is something that doesn’t excite me at all. Am I marketing alcohol directly? No. I can’t even do that legally. What am I marketing? May be a lifestyle. May be a bit of greed. Am I okay doing that? I’m not really sure. I think I can never be sure.

If I am someone who isn’t sure about my profession to begin with, how can I be sure about a brand? I have nothing against alcohol. But I do have something against alcoholics. So I don’t think the brand is an issue here. My issues are with larger things. Like values, beliefs and existential stuff. Like what exactly am I doing with my life?

I think being confused is an intrinsic part of our lives. I think I am someone who will be confused about things even when I am old and grey. So this doesn’t really bother me much at this moment. It is something I will figure out with time and experience. But there is a question that I do need to address right now. And that is what do I want out of the job that I am doing right now. If I have to earn and this is the only way I know how, what do I do to ensure that I am not as miserable as I have been lately.

To start with I don’t want to feel like I am fighting a battle everyday and I’d like to do what I was hired for. I like writing. And everything that has to do with it. As long as my life revolves around it, I am happy.

I think I have passed the age/phase where being at work like a workaholic was exciting. I love work even now. But I also value having a life. This is something only a lack of a (personal) life can teach you. The value of it. I don’t want to work like a mad person anymore. I want to enjoy work. I want to value it.  Not treat it as a job. Not that I ever have but I think that is where my problem lies.

Everything I do is personal to me. And that is what makes me so passionate about work. But when it becomes personal, everything that goes wrong in that sphere also becomes personal. Every win is personal and every loss is personal. And that is what causes this deep unrest every time things go even slightly wrong.

Learning to disassociate is a long and tiring process. I repeat this to one of my team’s junior writers every day, it is not personal. Nothing that happens at work stems out of personal vindictiveness or negativity. At least most of the time it doesn’t. I wish taking my own advice wasn’t so difficult. And I wish I had someone repeating this to me when I was as young as her. It is not personal. It shouldn’t be personal.

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