Bryan Lindenberger

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Wednesday, May 3, 2017

When marketable strengths lead you away from personal goals

It seems crazy to leave a great job after only a year. Solid corporate growth with an outstanding product points to long term, personal advancement. I savor the company culture of constant innovation, and I appreciate better each day that industrial manufacturing is high tech.

The leadership truly cares about its workers and community, a fact that came home when the president honored our veteran workers with a Veterans Day luncheon. I love the company.

The moment I decided to leave came when I recently put a portfolio together. As with most people these days, I keep my ear out, and the application asked for writing samples from the past three years.
I once had quite a lot to choose from. Feature articles for newspapers and consumer magazines, some scholarly research and related published contributions, marketing and feasibility studies for business, reports to major institutions that reflected my expansion of education programs, and major contributions to awarded grants.

This time around, I had press releases (nearly 150 to choose from) and related blogs, web content, and social media materials. I was not so much suddenly, but now exclusively, in marketing.

Years ago as project director, I had written press releases, created web and social media content, and worked with the press. But I had not seen these things as an end in themselves. Marketing served the purpose of growing the projects I loved. I had goals. I followed data. I knew audience and created narrative. Every piece (or byte) of content served a purpose.

Now, I was writing press releases that served no particular strategy or even logistics I knew (I asked!) except that I was told to. "Make it interesting, Bryan. And post about it. On Facebook. Because it's Tuesday, and we post to Facebook on Tuesdays."

This acknowledgement is not a complaint:

Nearly all employed people find themselves in a similar position.
Whether it is a feature writer who finds her gift for 140 character Tweets more marketable, an artist in demand for corporate logo design, or an outreach specialist for Autism Spectrum kids who is hired at a community college writing center, we all give in to what the market demands to move along in our respective careers.

It’s a remarkable win any time someone is willing to invest in hiring you. My personal decision to leave an easy life isn’t advice, and it would be foolish advice for nearly anyone. Probably even me.

But in some cases, for some people, a course correction is worth the gamble. Having an ear out while employed is one thing. Missing one day of work for a first interview followed by three more for travel to a second I simply have not found tenable. It's more a problem of logistics than ethics. Time to go!

Bryan Lindenberger has worked in digital communications since 1996. He caught the bug for entrepreneurialism and assisting small business while at the Arrowhead Entrepreneurial Institute at NMSU, and for community service while with the National Science Foundation for New Mexico State University. His clients have ranged from Disney Television to small farms in New Mexico. He maintains a hobby website and portfolio at and invites connections and correspondence.