I found my calling because someone didn’t wipe up after themselves
Rebecca Harbick is currently a copywriter at Media.Monks, a dream role that she secured thanks to her prowess at penning office-wide communications. She shares her journey with The Drum.
The truth is I got my job as a copywriter in a digital creative company because of someone’s poor toilet etiquette. That’s right, someone failed to wipe up after themselves and in doing so handed me my destiny on a plate (toilet bowl). Ok, I might be oversimplifying it but the truth remains that you’re reading these words from me as a result of an angry missive fired off in my original capacity as office manager/toilet police.
Let’s back up a little before potty incidents and heated emails. I was on the hunt for a job, having left my previous unfulfilling role as a community manager. I was fresh out of a divorce and had no real experience doing anything else. So much of my twenties was spent raising my three kids while my childfree peers were building careers, climbing corporate ladders and partying it up. Now I was where they were, only a decade later and carrying a lot more baggage. I only had the vaguest idea of what I even wanted to do when a job posting came in through a friend. It called for an office manager who could double as a bartender and a barista, and completely threw me for a loop. I’d been none of those things in any real sense and so I was skeptical of my chances, but it sounded crazy enough that I sent in my resume, expecting nothing.
In fact, I heard back very quickly, and an interview was set up soon after. There, I heard that the job was to establish a new office that was setting out to be something different from the typical fluorescent-lit, cubicled hellholes and to build it up to something like a well-oiled machine. Somewhere employees will want to work as well as play. They had no playbook for the role, so they would do just as well to take a chance on someone like me. On paper, one would be hard-pressed to see me as a good fit. I’d graduated with a degree in animal biology(!); the only other jobs I’d had were in digital publishing and waiting tables. But I’d also worked at underground rave clubs (bartending- check), had good connections to the local scene (organize cool events- check), and when asked at the interview what qualified me to be an office manager, I simply pointed to the fact that I was currently running a household with three children. A whole office of adults after that? I got this.
As it turned out, dealing with a million administrative and housekeeping issues while taking care of the needs of co-workers and at the same time putting together kickass parties in our kickass office was right in my wheelhouse. And I loved it. I had had no designs on doing anything else; the notion of writing was just that, no more than a notion. I had assumed I would be laughed out of the room if I asked for a job writing. But I’ve always loved the craft, and if I was being honest with myself, there was always a soft voice asking what if? What if I pursued this thing I loved even though there were any number of reasons to tell myself not to: I’m not trained, I’m too old, and no one will give me a chance…?
I inadvertently created the opportunity for myself by penning office-wide communications over dirty bathrooms and other less toilet-related matters.
All this ranting eventually prompted our executive producer to ask me, “Do you want to write?” Do I? Writing for a living was only ever a pipe dream to me then. But did I want to? Hell yeah. We started off slow: a press release here, a pitch writeup there. By the time I got to my first big assignment, writing all of the creative content for a marketing campaign, it was clear to me that I should have listened to that small voice inside saying what if a lot sooner.
There is evidence that many women assume they won’t be considered for jobs they feel they’re only partially qualified for and so won’t even attempt to apply for those roles. Back then, looking at this wacky job posting, I could have been one of these women and thought, nah, that’s too wacky for me to take on. Because it’s worth noting that the actual advertised job title was office manager-barista-bartender, which the hiring manager at the time didn’t seriously think anyone would fill. But they thought, what was the harm in throwing it out there and seeing what the universe throws back?
Happily, I was who the universe decided to put in their way, and I did in fact, check the boxes for this out-of-the-box position. Despite my initial doubts, life had already prepared me for the job; only in ways I didn’t expect. I am enormously thankful that I got the opportunities I did. I love writing even more than I loved taking care of our office. And it just feels… right, like this is what I was meant to do all along.
The journey I’ve had here at Media.Monks is something I often come back to. I’m glad I didn’t let that voice of doubt hold me back, so let this be that nudge you need to put yourself out there. It’s a given that others will be applying for that position when they’re not fully qualified, but you might be the one who has what those people don’t. And if that ultimately lands you your dream job, what’s a dirty toilet incident or two?
Rebecca Harbick is a copywriter at Media.Monks