• Gina Micek

Good Coffee, a Bad Commute and a Whole Lotta Boxes



I attended the MIMA Coffee & Case Studies breakfast presentation on Wednesday. The 24 hours or something of rain didn’t help the commute. Google Maps said ½ hour when I left the house but the time kept getting longer the closer I got to Minneapolis. I ran late and later. My annoyance at traffic grew.

The last few years commuting away from traffic about 15 minutes from my apartment in downtown St Paul, spoiled me. I forgot how nerve-wracking traffic, bad drivers, and getting somewhere “on time” is on the average person. I contemplated moving the whole time. F this – I can’t do THIS every day. Never mind I don’t have a job yet to move for! A girl can dream.

I only missed a portion of the talk on the web development project for a healthcare site, and caught the whole presentation on the attribution project. I learned what attribution means. That was cool. The guy from Preston Kelley was interesting and passionate about his project. I applied for a couple jobs there and got turned down. Not sure why - I would have loved to work on that website project.

I don’t think I have felt that passionate about my work in as long as I can remember – I realized just how long I had put up with a midline. You get used to sort of just being OK. I do a good job. I get great feedback. I am overqualified but I’ll figure out a way to be OK with it. Be at peace. Dampen down my expectations. Not ask for too much. Just to survive and thrive in the position you DO have daily.

How many executive lunch meetings had I expertly catered and managed in the last two years while the real meaty work was being done in the board room. Being in school full-time for the last few years, I justified it all by saying – money was coming in, I am too busy with school anyway, I can practice my business skills and bring leadership to all my pursuits…

I’m not bashing this approach – I needed lessons in stability and lessons in commitment and really being present. I got them in my current role. But after attending these events lately, I realized there was another level of passion I had yet to tap into. I’d been a prisoner of sorts and the jail cell of this circumstance was suddenly in my face as I drank really good coffee, and ate a cream cheese covered bagel listening to passionate and inspired presenters talk about their milestone projects.

A recruiter had reached out to me via LinkedIn for a temp assignment – at least it was in marketing. I decided to send her my resume. She got back to me today and said she needed more experience in corporate content creation. Really?

I have an MBA, a website, writing samples from school on LinkedIn– that clearly show I can form all kinds of styles and work with a variety of materials -- and a long history of marketing content creation was the sticking point?

Not that I wanted that contract role exactly but now I was pissed off.

Are people in business really that in-the-box and unimaginative that they can’t aggregate experience outside their box, see writing samples and the MBA and get that you have the transferable skills to jump in? Don’t answer that, I think I can see why innovation in the United States is down.

I have heard so many people throw out these memes about how men apply for jobs they are only a small percentage qualified for while women hold back. This thought-form has run through the collective and everyone is happy to spout it off. Except on the back end, employers are so CONSERVATIVE or gender-biased I can’t figure out which, I certainly don’t know HOW it happened.

The results these collective stories suggest are possible don't come from just sending in resumes knowing you don’t meet the whole job description. If that approach worked, I’d be in my post-MBA job by now.

Goes back to “who you know.” I think guys in their cliques and man caves will sell themselves into shit and network like hell and people will hire them, even though their resumes don’t meet all the requirements -- through the back-door. Women, maybe they don’t sell themselves on the golf course or at the conventions and networking events unless they “know” it and gender bias adds a dose of “she’s bragging” into the mix if she tries

I’d say rather than spout off memes to make yourself feel helpful, challenge your own hiring and innovation practices.

I read an article recently that talked about how marketing companies were seeing a drop in engagement and innovation because they hire experts who don’t share their expertise and later get cherry-picked by the next agency dangling more money, leaving behind people who just don’t understand how to carry innovation in the digital space forward.

The suggestion was hiring people for character and applicable skills from a variety of disciplines and then allowing that person to learn the digital stuff on the job. Engagement win. Harder to pick off because you invested in the employee. Able to train others at the coffee talks etc.

The ABBA song “Take a Chance on Me” comes to mind – filtering in the background of this blog piece. I am in need of a benefactor who needs more than some pigeon-holed person, bored at their last agency with a list of credentials that fit a job description. A boss who can think outside the friggin’ box.

I am going to Social Media Breakfast on Friday morning, maybe that person will show up there. I have been doing visualizations for this meeting to take place. I know I can’t have a lot of expectations. In the mean time I will be doing “corporate” content for MIMA and my own company’s marketing department (well OK one of our subsidiaries) because they didn’t seem to have an issue with my lack of experience IRL (In Real Life).

Let’s hope the next guy doesn’t either.

If you want to help support my career transition - I am still running my YouCaring.com campaign. While I did have some donations in the previous round, I have additional networking/conference type events, up keep on this website and other processes to go. You can also reach me personally for direct donations and I take PayPal


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