When I graduated from college with my B.S. in Journalism in hand I was certain of one thing, I didn’t want to be a reporter. I wanted a job where I could use the writing skills I’d spent four years diligently developing, but the grueling hours for low pay that a reporter suffers did not appeal to a college grad with student loans and rent to pay each month.
The opportunity to apply for a marketing assistant job came my way about eight months after I graduated. By then I had already managed a sizable team of counselors at a summer camp and worked as a temp in MIT’s Admissions Department. I had kept busy, but wasn’t doing the thing I loved most, writing. This marketing position would introduce me to the world of educational publishing as a Higher Ed Computer Science Marketing Assistant at Pearson.
The interview went well. It was a new experience for me to talk to more than one person at a single interview, but the job offer was extended and accepted all within a single day. It was the right fit from the start. I learned how textbooks were written and published, and how to communicate effectively and professionally with authors, coworkers, and customers. By my second year in the position I was managing the marketing content for three titles and getting to write back cover copy published on the books. I met so many intelligent computer scientists, authors and customers alike, at conventions and in meetings. It was a perfect balance of repetitive daily tasks and changing projects.
My two years as a marketing assistant opened my eyes to the possibilities within marketing, and I didn’t look back. From this position, I continued to take on new opportunities at Pearson, each time increasing the scope of my role. The next position I took allowed me to work with all the Math, Science, and Business teams managing broader initiatives like our online sales tools, mass email campaign process, and class testing analytics. I got to know and work with a variety of teams and people, learning more about the business and the content Pearson created.
From there, I expanded my role to also work with teams in English, Social Sciences, Humanities, and World Languages. I saw so many different marketing teams come together to share strategies and ideas at a meeting I coordinated. I participated in sales meetings, helping Pearson’s sales force prepare for the year ahead. I thrived in this collaborative and welcoming environment, taking on whatever projects I could be a part of, learning so much along the way.
At this point in my career, I began to miss writing regularly because most of my responsibilities revolved around project management. I liked being buried in the details of exciting projects, but I was writing less. When the opportunity arose to join the communities team, I jumped on it. Initially, there were multiple communities to be managed simultaneously. I began working on generating content while also managing multiple editorial calendars and working with key stakeholders throughout Pearson to get a promotions strategy in place. It was a long and bumpy road, but I believed in the mission to share this information with our customers and enjoyed connecting with faculty through the community platform.
The strategy for community evolved and helping to shape what would ultimately become a single community hub was the most fun I had on a project in my marketing career. I was able to think about functionality, my audience, the content - all the components of a true marketing strategy - and influence results. I was also getting comfortable establishing relationships with freelance writers, working with them to generate engaging content, and writing some of my own as well. I was a part of a new arm in marketing and I loved being out there in new territory, learning alongside everyone else.
Being given so many opportunities in a single company led to a 15-year career at Pearson. I learned so much about business, marketing, and people. It was an amazing part of my professional journey that I look back on very fondly as I venture out now as a confident, freelance content creator to really allow writing to be my daily focus.