The Definitive Word on Working in Advertising

Not so long ago, I wrote about how one of my favorite authors inadvertently hurt my feelings by dismissing a career in advertising as the lowest form of hackism.

Yesterday, my gallant friend and advertising colleague Ryan forwarded me this letter, which was originally sent to a fan from Kurt Vonnegut.


Given a choice between being Jennifer Weiner’s shiller of crap and someone Vonnegut might consider witty and well read, I’ll choose Vonnegut every time.

So it goes.

4 thoughts on “The Definitive Word on Working in Advertising

  1. Pingback: A Short List of Things That Did Not Kill Me (And Therefore Made Me Stronger, I Guess. No Definitely. Definitely Stronger.) | Working Without a Net

  2. You know….I’ve been telling story about choosing between journalism and advertising for years. Nobody — not one single person — ever took it as an indictment of advertising or people who work in that field. Everyone else understood that it was, instead, an indictment of clueless, entitled, 21-year-old me, who was snotty enough to believe, a la Lloyd in “Say Anything,” that she didn’t want to sell anything, but anything, or process anything as a career. The joke was on *me.* And everyone got that but you.

    You should know that I was thrilled for you when I saw your first Facebook “hey, I got a piece published!” post. I don’t know you personally, but I am always happy to see newbie writer/Facebook friend succeed. clicked on the link, feeling nothing but thrilled for someone who chased a dream and worked hard and made it. The I read your piece. Touch. I still can’t quite believe that you genuinely felt “stabbed in the front” by what I had written… or that you couldn’t have taken the 10 seconds to unfriend me and make sure I didn’t see it. I mean, clearly you don’t think of me as a friend, right? Maybe you wanted me to see it. Maybe you hoped I’d get angry, and link to your piece, and share it far and wide, and get you the attention that few pieces on Medium ever seem to receive. (Since I’ve already hurt your feelings, I can tell you that a friend consoled me by saying “Eh, it’s Medium…where the pieces are neither rare nor well done.”)

    I don’t know whether your intention was to wave your (possibly inauthentic) hurt feelings in front of me like a red flag, or whether you are, in fact, the only person who didn’t understand that the joke was on me and not advertising. Either way, you got my attention. Congrats on that. And you hurt my feelings. Huzzah.

    I wish you every success in your writing life, whether you’re writing to express yourself, or tell a story, or sell hemorrhoid ointment. And, regarding hurt butts, I do hope you find something that helps with yours.

    • Jen — I’m sorry to have hurt you. I have been a tremendous fan of your books going all the way back to Good In Bed. No matter what, I will always read (and no doubt love) everything you write.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s