I love my job. I wouldn’t stop doing it for the world. But that doesn’t mean it’s without sacrifices. Here are some of the unusual things I’ve given up as a result of becoming a digital marketer.

1. The Gregorian calendar

When you become a marketer – online or offline – you can say goodbye to living in the same month as everyone else. My own most extreme encounter was when I worked for a catalogue company. They started to prepare the Christmas catalogues and finalise products around June. By September, I was (unusually) sick to death of Christmas. And in November, when the average person was complaining about Christmas advertising in ‘only’ November, I was thinking, ‘Christmas was ages ago, it’s practically next summer’.

And then there are the random things that go wrong. For example in one company I worked for, the scheduling broke down completely and I knew exactly what I was doing in a year’s time down to the exact week, but no idea what I was doing tomorrow.

Mostly it shouldn’t be that extreme; if you’re working in a smallish company and have good management, you can expect to be ahead by just a few weeks. But it can still get pretty confusing.

2. Ad blocking

A while back one of my friends came over and we ended up watching some YouTube videos. Within about five minutes he got frustrated, asking me why I didn’t have an ad blocker installed on my laptop.

I ended up having to explain to him that it’s because I actually want/need to watch ads, regardless of how irrelevant they may seem. You never know when inspiration may strike, and it’s always good to see what people are doing well/badly, who’s remarketing what, and so on. If you’re using a remarketing service yourself, chances are it will bitch at you if you have an ad blocker installed too. (I use multiple browsers and devices, but I don’t like ad blockers installed on ANY of them, because I’m quite picky about what I visit where).

He installed an ad blocker. I uninstalled it when he left. It’s all about compromise

And yes, I’ve gone through this exact situation with several people.

3. First picks of ideas & self-promotion

You know when you see a parent eating an ice cream and their kid isn’t even looking at it, but the parent offers it to them anyway without thinking twice? That’s what marketing does for your own promotion if you work in a niche you’re personally interested in, as I’ve done for much of my career. That awesome article you just read? It’s not going to be tweeted from your personal account, it’s going to be tweeted from your work account.1 Same goes for ideas, images, blog posts, etc. If you’re a good marketer you prioritise your company/client content first and they get the best of what you have to offer in that area. Yes, that includes the Batman memes.

4. Specific working hours

The internet never sleeps, and neither does anyone whose job is dependent on it. However, unless you’re self-employed, your working hours are probably restricted in some way. You probably have an on-call rota, or hours you’re expected to respond within, or you only have to reply to certain people or for certain issues. (I also hear tell of a mythical beast called ‘paid overtime’, but I have no conclusive evidence that this exists).

Anyway, when you’re doing your extra emergency work, chances are you’ve been contacted by a panicked coworker, boss, or client. That is to say one or two people. Five at most. If you’re a digital marketer, you potentially have the whole internet asking you questions and/or trying to talk to you 24/7. If your colleagues or customers tend to adopt shift patterns, I recommend investing in some kind of caffeine beverage company. You’ll make your money back.

This whole ‘working hours’ thing applies to vacation time too. You have to do all the work to cover the time you’re on holiday before you leave. So basically you’re doing two weeks’ work in a week. (Which leads to the temptation of doing it all the time so you only have to work every other week, but I digress). If you work in a reasonably sized company and there are people who understand what you do, you could hand it over to them. But chances are you’ll have to cover their work at some point in return, so it basically amounts to the same thing.

5. Clear work/life boundaries

I’ve written posts before about how the work/life balance thing eludes me, and a big part of that is due to communication channels. Facebook, Twitter, et al, are no longer distractions. They’re work tools. You can’t even explain to RescueTime that sometimes Facebook is ‘very distracting’ while other times it’s ‘very productive’. I might be messaging a friend but conscious of the advert stats or post reach analysis right in front of me in the sidebar.

Sometimes it’s literally impossible to tell where one thing starts and another thing ends, especially when it comes to things like content marketing. Which brings me on to…

6. Enjoying content for what it is

I can’t remember the last time I read an article, thought ‘That was good’, and closed the tab. Even if it’s absolutely nothing to do with the industry I work in – for example, I’m really into interior design blogs at the moment – I’m still looking at the features. What kind of social media buttons they use, where they’re positioned, what the CSS is like, what advertising/subscribing options that have going on, how they handle related posts, what the headings are like…the list is endless.

And it goes further than that. I’m signed up to completely irrelevant newsletters because the styling or structure or tone interests me. I’m a member of all kinds of crazy Facebook groups because I never stop being in awe of how the same tool is used so differently across different segments of the human race.

What sacrifices do you make for your job? Drop me a comment so we can commiserate together

  1. And then possibly retweeted by you, depending on whether you like to pretend you keep your lives separate or not.