In my early 20s, I worked as an advertising coordinator for a Chicago-area bank. I took the job right after I moved from L.A. where I was an editorial assistant for a video game magazine. Like I do, I pretended I knew way more than I did during my bank interview, and so became responsible for not only writing all the branch’s communiques, but also laying out and PRODUCING all its brochures — because I had “once” formatted a magazine page on that “newfangled Mac computer” at my old job. As an aside, bringing all the brochure production in house would save the bank over $100,000 — and I made the ripe old salary of $21,500.
At any rate, I often stayed late at the bank trying to figure out what the hell I was doing. I mean, QuarkXPress? Color standardization? Font suitcases? I knew none of this and so began the long process of trying to figure it out before anyone realized I was an imposter. After months of early mornings and late evenings, I managed to turn in a batch of 30 tri-fold brochures for printing. I was a hero! The bank cut its costs by 80K and earned a grunt who would work for peanuts in the process! Soon enough, I acquired the reputation of knowing “cutting-edge technologies” and “being interested in computers” and so the porn-addicted computer geek in the next office over decided I would love to have the “Internet” installed on my PC.
I had no ever-lovin’ idea what the “Internet” was, or why I should have it, but I was game to fake it. “Sure!” I said enthusiastically (but also dumbly). “Get me on the Internet!” And so a scant half-hour later, I had Prodigy and a modem and everything changed. I spent hours, HOURS, flocking around on Prodigy. There wasn’t much to see on the web yet, but there were chat rooms and a few portals and I was all over it. How I managed to stay employed during this time is anyone’s guess. Me and the computer geek called it “research.” Deb surfing the ‘net again? It’s research. The telltale whir of the modem emerging from my cube? Research.
It went this way for awhile. I was connected, man. I read about what was happening in the world before it was printed in the paper. Then, one day, I logged on and read that Kurt Cobain had killed himself. I truly can’t tell you what it was about that particular headline, but right then and right there I understood that the Internet was going to change the world.
A little bit later, I quit my job and moved to a PR agency in downtown Chicago. Once again, I talked out my butt, referring to my “Internet expertise,” and “web experience,” and so before I knew it, I was the resident “Internet installer.” I was informally called upon to “discuss how the web would benefit the agency” and the “role of technology in advertising” and oh my Lord, was I a phony baloney. Truth told, I gained a lot of great experience during this time and realized that maybe I wasn’t “faking it” so much as I was willing to try something new. Maybe that’s spin, I don’t know. In the end, I did get one thing right though: The Internet sure damn did change the world.
P.S. I feel weird bringing this up. But I was nominated for something. If you haven’t voted yet and want to, you can head over to the voting poll and click the arrow next to my blog name.
Thank you my angels.