That was the one and only word that came out of my mouth when my supervisor asked me what I thought of my marketing position during a routine evaluation.
I had been working at the City part-time for several months now and still couldn’t understand why a department who had been serving the community for 40 years did things the way they did.
Not that I knew all the answers, but I did know a thing or two about people and marketing, and work felt more like we were spinning our wheels doing the same old with little to no results.
When I took the position, I was asked what my greatest strengths are. I was also asked what my least favorite form of marketing is.
Hands-down, it’s social media.
Having a severe love-hate relationship with it, I’ve learned to embrace it for my own business on a platform I actually like, LinkedIn, but in this job, we were active on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Why on earth Twitter, I had no clue as we were speaking to moms with young children.
With a 15-hour workweek, at least 10-12 hours of my job was spent taking photos and curating content for Twitter for a total of five people to see the tweet. No lie.
So, when my supervisor finally asked me how I felt, I couldn’t hold it in anymore. I had to speak up.
She could go in two directions. Tell me this is the way it is and deal with it or be what my friend Bruce Carnohan, aka the guy in the blue shirt, calls the empathetic listening leader.
Thank God she was the second type.
I had her ear and explained to her that in a department of three people in total, my supervisor, the intern, and me, we were not making efficient use of our skillsets. Our intern was a photographer and loved all things social media. I loved meeting people, creating experiences and events, and building relationships.
We were running into the very definition of insanity – doing the same thing over and over hitting our heads against the wall hoping and praying for change.
“What do you propose?” she asked.
Considering my entire purpose in life is building community, I chimed in, “We should host an event for mommy bloggers and influencers to show what we’re doing here. Make it a VIP playdate so it feels more exclusive where we invite them in to play with their kiddos, learn more about us and turn them into our walking, talking ambassadors. Our intern can take the photographs and post to social media, and I’ll coordinate the event, invite the guests, and handle it all. All I need from you is $50 to buy Goldfish and juice boxes for the kids, coffee for the moms, and we are good to go!”
She trusted me and let me run with it. And just as I anticipated, I felt like I was making a significant difference in the organization because I tapped into work I actually liked doing and excelled at it.
After successfully completing three VIP playdates during my time there, I was able to showcase my abilities, change the game up, and experience noticeable results. The mommy bloggers we invited didn’t just attend the event and forget about us. They became our word-of-mouth marketing team sharing it with their friends, blowing up our social media feeds, and even becoming members. Why? Because they LOVE social media and sharing moments with their kiddos, especially photos!
Moral of this story?
Had I not mustered up the strength and found my voice to share how I actually felt, I would be drowning in Twitter posts with no end in sight.
We ALL will find ourselves in a position someday somewhere, whether it be at the workplace, at home, in our friendships and relationships, where we have two choices – stay quiet and hold in how we really feel or speak up.
The same principle applies. People are not mind readers. The only way to change the game is to use your voice.
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Rule of Life Lesson #101: