Occasionally people want to know what I do. It’s an awful question, and it’s one I will never ask of you. Because for a long long time I’ve held that people have a broader identity than the jobs they hold. But far too often we define both ourselves and others by their work.
Starting this blog was in part a response to needing to answer that question.
Now, I can say with a semi-straight face that I’m a writer. And while I do receive actual checks and other forms of compensation for my work, writing would not seem to be a sustainable long-term path for me. Who knows, things can change. Maybe I can find some way to make more money doing this.
In truth I’ve yet to fully triangulate my location between being a stay-at-home dad, an unemployed marketing guy, and an aspiring tastemaker. But realistically if the right opportunity came my way, I’d jump back into the labor pool and cross my name off the nefarious list of the long-term unemployed who are no longer looking for a job.
So no, I’m not actively looking, but I did happen to stumble upon something notable. It’s a food marketing job, and it’s for one of the better restaurant groups in the region. But it’s not for me. Actually, it’s not for anyone. Because they are looking for someone who doesn’t exist.
Now I understand it’s a down economy. Maybe that’s what the DZ Restaurant Group was thinking when they were writing the requirements of this position. And perhaps they will find the person they are looking for. But they have posted the same ad eleven times on Craigslist since June 29.
Marketing communication happens to be my area of expertise. I spent 12 years in San Francisco working for some top advertising agencies, and when I left I was managing a team of fourteen people on the Saturn cars account. My title was something like Director of Communication Strategy. Before the agency days I worked in-house at a Federated department store in their advertising production department.
But back to our story. The requirements of the job start off simply enough.
“Candidate must possess the ability to design, implement and facilitate marketing plans, manage marketing campaigns and fiscal accountability.”
They need somebody who can do it all. They don’t need a marketing strategist who lives in their ivory tower. They need someone who can think up a great plan, put it in action, manage its moving pieces, and make sure it all comes in to budget. That’s totally fair.
Personally, I find this next part of the job description to be vexing, but I also understand that it isn’t unusual in Capital Region marketing circles: “Design-implement and produce all internal print material.”
It’s not that I don’t have a good eye, or that I can’t fake my way through Photoshop, but that I have great respect for designers. Print design and marketing strategy are two completely different disciplines. But like I said, it’s a down economy. Surely you can find a business-savvy designer or a design-savvy marketer if you put your mind to it.
The same goes for the next line, “conduct effective marketing meetings.” Where I came from you are now up to seven full-time positions. A marketing director, a marketing manager, a marketing coordinator, an art director, a graphic designer, a production manager, and an account manager. But still, a business-savvy designer or a design-savvy marketer who can forge compromises between competing interests isn’t completely off the charts.
Except that’s not all. The candidate also must “create and maintain website and website content.”
They said create. So it’s not enough to be a designer who is a skilled marketer and masterful at conducting meetings, but they also have to build websites befitting some of the better restaurants in the area. And continually update them.
This last step I’m convinced took it into the realm of fantasy. What follows next takes it beyond and makes the whole thing sound like a farce:
“Seeking a candidate who has media relations, local and national, social media and content development skills.”
Because not only does this job include marketing, design, production, management, and web design, but it also includes PR and social media. Plus they want this person to have national connections, which don’t come easy.
So, really, they are looking for a PR executive who can get them into Food & Wine, build their websites, design their ads, wrangle a diverse group of managers, create strategic marketing plans, execute marketing events, and manage their restaurants’ social media platforms.
Yeah. Good luck.
So? What do they call this person? What, pray tell, is the job title for this all-inclusive position that combines more than half-a-dozen unique and challenging disciplines? That’s the punchline.
And while the DZ Restaurant Group didn’t post a salary range for the job, nobody spends $80,000 on a “Marketing Coordinator.” Given the scope of work laid out in the ad, even in a down economy, that figure sounds like a bargain.
So I wish DZ Restaurants all the luck in the world. I truly understand that a small restaurant group can’t afford to hire six marketing and PR people to fulfill their needs. I do. But still, what they are seeking is beyond the pale. Maybe they’ll find their ideal candidate one day.
I can’t wait to meet ’em.