I get that a lot. Well, to be fair, looking back, I’ve always gotten that.
When at the university, they asked what I study.
I said aerospace engineering. Then they concluded “So, can you fly a plane!”. No, no, you … ignorant person. It’s in the name right there – aerospace en-gi-nee-ring. So I engineer planes. Well, in the end I didn’t get to do that really, but that was the goal anyway.
When at TUM I bragged about doing my PhD.
“What’s it about?” they enquired.
“What are those?”
“Supersonic combustion engines.”
“So can you fly a plane?”
True that sometimes we’d get a little further and I’d try to explain that I simulate flows, point at which I’d lose them. What does it mean to simulate a flow?
When at Airbus Helicopters they’d enquire again if I can fly a helicopter.
“No, I simulate the noise a helicopter makes, it’s called aeroacoustics.”
Pause. Probably it wasn’t as cool as flying it. Not probably, DEFINITELY. But hey, I got to wear neon green wellies and be in the field at 5am to set up mics, beat that!
Now, well.. now it’s a little easier.
WAS, it was a little easier for a while.
“So what do you do?”
“I am a copywriter.”
“So can you fly a plane?” (kidding). “What does a copywriter do?”
“Well, we write. I write for digital. Websites, ads, social media posts, blog posts, taglines, pretty much anything that is needed.”
This was the best of times. People didn’t leave the conversation frowning or frustrated “What’s this lunatic really saying?” kind of thing.
But, like all great things, it couldn’t possibly last for long. I started to dip my toes into UX. Wireframing, user-centred design seems to go hand in hand with a well-crafted message. I started to do that as well – for projects that lacked that type of organised approach. What do I call myself now? What am I?
Dear recruiter or person who tries to understand the jungle of my professional career,
I am a creative, yes,
One centred around communication – copywriting.
Someone who speaks for what the user needs – I like to make web experiences engaging, easy to navigate, seamless, I am an adept of the “don’t make me think” philosophy.
And, to makes matters even more complicated,
I am someone deeply rooted in engineering – with a “how-does-this-bloody-work attitude”, and science – yes, I do know what a logarithmic scale is, I solve trigonometry problems for fun, I ignore but am familiar with a Fourier transformation, a discretisation scheme, even some programming languages. And yes, I could explain why airplanes fly.
It is NOT easy to speak about what I do because every project is different. And I became who I am because in each of them I tend to fill the blanks.
Kind of like a nanobot. Only that I am not a robot. Or small. Just fits in the allocated spot and improves things. Kind of like Elastic Man. You know what, find your own geeky reference.
Sometimes user journeys are messy, so I propose a smoother way of doing things.
Sometimes I just polish a message to hit the sweet spot.
Other times I just gather requirements, make audits and spit out pieces of a comms strategy. Or a calendar. Or wireframes. Or a script. Or I fumble with key messaging. Or even an entire website.
What I do varies, but there is one thing that is constant. I ask a lot of questions and one of them is always ALWAYS about the target audience.
So you see, that is what I do. I am kind of like a Oana-bot. There!