One of the character traits I find least attractive is status anxiety. It not only reveals an ugly side to otherwise pleasant people, but I also can’t understand why people are willing to lie, cheat and steal – simply to crawl a delusional extra millimetre up some social pyramid.
Besides, in my line of work, social insecurity would be commercially suicidal – I’m supposed to be helping people use words. Fat lot of good I’d be at it if I spent my life worrying that some clients weren’t worthy of my services, or feeling uncomfortable about the ones whose social position I coveted.
We’re in the same boat
Even more to the point, I’ve got fairly simple tastes (though I do appreciate quality), and I have an aversion to wealth for wealth’s sake. Naked celebrity leaves me cold (though I admire character and talent). For what it’s worth, my attitude could best be summed up by Jerome K. Jerome in Three Men on a Boat:
Let your boat of life be light, packed with only what you need – a homely home and simple pleasures, one or two friends, worth the name, someone to love and someone to love you, a cat, a dog, and a pipe or two, enough to eat and enough to wear, and a little more than enough to drink; for thirst is a dangerous thing.
I’d probably not opt for the dog, and it’s been a while since I gave up smoking; so I’d swap those items for music and films. But the gist is about right.
But do copywriters have status?
It’s a reflection of how little I care about the question, but today was the first time I asked myself whether copywriters actually had any social status.
I thought about it for a bit, and then concluded that the answer was ‘yes, no, and so what?’.
Copywriting is a broad church. Effective marketing copywriters can haul in millions and live a playboy lifestyle. Enthusiastic online copywriters like me can earn more than enough for the homely home and simple pleasures, and stick what’s left under the mattress. Sadly, some copywriters scrabble for work and settle for tuppence per word from some copywriting mill.
Copywriting to organised crime
And that led me to conclude that copywriting as a livelihood doesn’t have a social standing in the same way as, say, medicine, the law or organised crime. Depending on what we copywriters can do, what we can earn from it, and what talents we bring to the job, we can fit chameleon-like anywhere into the social structure.
Personally, I’m happy where I am – wherever that may be. I work hard, try hard and – on occasion – think hard. And I’ve built up a loyal crowd of clients who judge me on the basis of the work I do, rather than by my job title. And they like it and come back for more.
Which, I think, is the reason I’m very happy in what I do.
What about you?