Marketing suicide watch: It's all about perspective

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"SAP. This is Ginger." My voice was like sandpaper after the cross-country flight which had left me dehydrated and exhausted. Blearily I squinted at the red flashing clock numbers across the room: 4 a.m. You gotta be kidding me!

"Ooo. You must be traveling," my mom’s voice made my eyes snap open. I had trained her well. If she calls my cell during off hours, I’ll answer with the traditional "Hello." If, on the other hand, she calls between 7 a.m. and 6 p.m., I’m in business mode whether I check my caller ID or not. "Where are you?" she queried.

"Um, a hotel room." I sat up. "Mom, what’s wrong?" She also knows that calling me during business hours is a no-no unless there’s arterial bleeding or protruded ends of bones involved. I tend to hyperventilate first and ask questions second.

"Nothing, honey. I just wanted to wish you a good day. Where’s your hotel?"

Whimper. "Near the ocean." I couldn’t recall which city. "I have to work a golf event today."

"Oh. Sorry I woke you. I’ll call later tonight."

"Thanks mom. But make it late. I have to work an executive dinner at Chez Panisse." The synapses were synapsing and I suddenly recalled where I had landed less than five hours ago.

"You have such a glamorous job," she sighed, hanging up.

I had to laugh. Only an accountant would say that. My peers and colleagues know that if you eat at a vending machine and a five-star restaurant within the same 24-hour period, you must be in marketing.

I work with some of the most phenomenal marketers going. Sadly, we’re all a bunch of type-A personalities and we tend to get consumed. It wreaks havoc with the whole work-life balance thing, especially if something doesn’t execute as we had planned. Add in travel—so we have to hear about the concert or softball game second hand and we’re not sleeping in our own beds and we have to say good night and blow air kisses via web cam, and, well—there goes the perspective.

I’ve talked more than one colleague off the ledge.

"We don’t do pediatric trauma surgery; no one dies from what we do," I assure them. And yet, I have two very trusted colleagues on speed dial for those times when something goes kerplunk during one of my campaigns.

You see, we identify with our jobs. Marketing isn’t just what we do, it’s who we are. This is why we lose perspective and need someone to bring us back to reality.

Coming home from an arts festival with my little son recently I was stopped at an intersection when a couple passed by on a motorcycle. The girl behind the driver lifted her shirt to flash her assets to the myriad festival attendees.

My son gasped and said to me in a stage whisper that could be heard above the motorcycle’s engine, "Mom! She’s not wearing a helmet!"

It's all in the perspective.

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