Childhood dreams of fishing and what I do now actually not that different.
February 3, 2011
I don’t think many kids say to themselves, “When I grow up I want to be in marketing communications.” Things like fireman, astronaut and teacher yes but not copywriter or art director. Even now, in the technology age, I’m betting children don’t comprehend jobs like ours let alone want to do them. Or do they?
When I was a boy I wanted to be a fishing guide. I loved fishing, was obsessed by it. My friends and I would get up at 4AM and march down to Belmont Harbor at Lake Michigan and we’d pull in over a hundred yellow perch before sunrise. The trick was to use meat from crayfish tails as bait (not worms) and to fish off the bottom with a bell sinker (not bobber). Minnows worked but they were a hassle. Floats and worms were for amateurs. We also fished the Lincoln Park lagoons. Believe it or not I once caught a 32-inch Northern Pike in one of them!
Anyway, the hobby (we didn’t think it sport) was everything to me. I joined fishing clubs. Subscribed to the magazines. Owned more outlandish tackle than any 13 year-old needed. Like I said, I was obsessed. One time my old man (who hated fishing) took me down south for bass fishing, with a real guide, using plastic worms like the pros, and I caught a fish my very first cast. I was a Bass Master! And man did I want to be a fishing guide.
When adolescence kicked in, chasing girls and good times became far more interesting than tracking fish. Besides, after drinking beers all night in my friend’s basement getting up at 4AM was not going to happen.
Fade to black. I became an ad guy. And guess what? Finding fish and figuring out how to catch them is as good a definition of marketing communications as any. Looked at this way new media is really just the latest bait, more crazy lures in the tackle box. Whether you’re a copywriter or a guru of social media, you’re fishing guides just like me. Funny, huh?
What about you, Gentle Reader: What did you want to be when you were a child? Is your current position completely the opposite or cannily similar?