The Toughest Job You'll Ever Love

We've Got It Pretty Good in This Business

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Bart Cleveland Bart Cleveland
I've never been in the Peace Corps, but I remember seeing the commercials for it when I was a kid. I realize that the passion those commercials were trying to evoke by saying "It's the toughest job you'll ever love" can apply to any job. I know people who are passionate about jobs that would drive me crazy if I had to do them. Can you imagine being excited about designing a machine that uses air to convey corn flakes from one giant receptacle to another? I know someone who is. I also have a friend who sells pipe valves. He loves his job. I'm glad, because I'm sure pipe valves are really important in keeping things where they belong and not blowing up, but that seems mind-numbing to me.

So when I consider the angst our business can cause, I try to keep things in perspective. When I come up with work that I think is brilliant and my client thinks it stinks, I'm okay with that. I simply remind myself that I could be making corn-flake conveyors. When I have to produce things faster and with less money, it doesn't bother me because I just saw a guy who cleans out hide-tanning machines for a living on the TV show "Dirty Jobs."

The fact is we are a lucky bunch. We get to do something that is exciting and invigorating compared to 98% of the rest of the working world. We get paid well for something that doesn't break our backs (as my father's construction work broke his). And we have the opportunity to actually affect change for good. How many businesses get to help so many different public-service causes? Sure, polls show advertising is at the bottom of pool when it comes to trustworthiness by the common man, but most of those who don't trust what we say still wish they could do what we do because it seems like a lot more fun that what they're doing. Truth be told, it is.

Advertising is a job that even at its toughest is still very lovable. There is a lot to whine about, but that doesn't mean we should. I don't mean we shouldn't be able to vent occasionally. Whining is not venting. Whining is blaming something or someone for your own failure. It's unhealthy in the best of times. In hard times, it's deadly.

So when I'm tempted to whine about my job, blaming the lousy economy or whatever else is handy, I take look around at what others are doing for a living. Recently I noticed a DOT worker on the side of the road trimming weeds with weed whacker. Though his head is bowed low because of the radiant heat coming off the asphalt, I noticed that he is whacking those weeds as though he loves his job. Perhaps he hates it. Who knows? At the very least, he has enough pride to do his job as if he loves it. If he can do his job this way, I can surely do mine with equal gratitude. If not, I don't deserve it.

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