LET ME SELL YOU A PEN

I watched Wolf of Wall Street just a few days back, and I have got to say that Leonardo DiCaprio made selling those stocks look like tossing candies to a kid.

I came across a book in a store some time ago, something about how our everyday lives revolve around selling. From selling an idea, to selling a suggestion, to selling an actual something or just selling a lie, for that matter. I didn’t flip through the book, if you were wondering. I didn’t even read the synopsis on the back. I just stood there and thought to myself, “Okay. Maybe it isn’t really that hard. I just need to try harder I guess?”

You see, I’m a Project Editor, or so stated by the professional name that is printed on my stack of business cards. But in my reality, I do just about everything imaginable within a small company of four full-time hire. I churn copy, edit, proofread, check designs, art direct, style shoots, sort out the accounts, and I sell ads. I loathe the final one.

It’s bad enough that I somehow got suckered into many of these job descriptions that I didn’t initially sign up for, but the final one – selling ads, takes the cake of assignments I hate.

Chatting with a couple of my teammates sans my boss, I discovered the partial reason why I hate selling ads with every inch of my being – I don’t believe in my product. I am project editor to a mall magazine that is doing great. GREAT. It’s not even just doing mediocre. The publication on itself is doing great, going places (we have done fashion spreads in Tokyo, Shanghai, NYC, Siem Reap – to name a few, and we’ve got London, Milan and much more in the pipeline), and even making it on the iPad, like Harrods or Net-a-Porter. But the only problem is in its reach. It is pathetic, if I may say. Despite the fact that our titles turn 10 this year, people are still always surprised to know that I work for this particular huge-ass mall, with a supposedly awesome mall magazine that has not the slightest resemblance to your cheap product catalogues. You see, the problem is…nobody knows.

And the amount of lies I am taught to tell our clients so that they believe our publication is the way to chuck (oh, I meant “invest”) their dough, and that we are doing ‘absolutely well’ is really getting to me. We tell clients of our non-existent five-figured circulation, and please don’t even get me started on the amount of work we put in, for what seems like a sole play of self-gratification.

Don’t get me wrong. I have a new found respect for the people who sell things as a profession. I really do. I just hate that the product I’m selling is dusted with so much lies, and self-gratifying works, and the amount of effort put into every issue doesn’t justify its outcome; not to mention the purpose of all we’ve been doing since day one.

It’s been six years now. And I am tired. I didn’t see this coming, really. This ad-selling assignment with a meagrely commission (which I’m not even hard up for) was offered to me at the beginning as a ‘thing to do if I can find the time to’. But now, I’m pressed on every side to get paid ads in as if it was what I was hired to do. And FML that I don’t even know how to tell my boss I don’t want to do it anymore.

William and I were at Publika for lunch today. We walked the aisles of Ben’s grocer and I thought out loud, “I want to do their designs, or stack their gorgeous, gorgeous shelves. No. I want to own a grocer. My grocer.”

I just want to do something I love.
And earn a decent living from it.

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