My first job in San Francisco, in the halcyon net-addled days of 1999, was with an Investor Relations firm. Investor Relations is a specialized sub-category of Public Relations, and operates along the same lines- you, the agent working at the agency, have various clients, for whom you try to garner positive coverage and prominent participation in media, events, etc. The wrinkle with IR as opposed to PR is that the clients are corporations listed on some stock exchange or another and the kinds of audiences you promote them to include the financial press, investor conferences and mutual funds.
The place being San Francisco, and the time being the halcyon net-addled days of 1999, the clients whose accounts I worked on were all Internet or other Hi-tech firms. This was all very heady, and I liked it tolerably well, but I never felt entirely comfortable with it. Promotion and all it involves didn’t seem like an instinct that came easily to me. I felt the same way with professional self-promotion. I remember milling around at various young tech business networking events of the era, trying to summon up the energy it took to interject myself into a conversation in progress or hand my card to a complete stranger and start hyping myself, thinking, “This just isn’t my thing.”
In all fairness, as a more-introverted-than-not, more-sensitive-than-baseline type, aggressive self (or other) promotion isn’t a natural strong suit. But I’ve come to realize since that a lot of this feeling had to do with right livelihood. (Apologies for not signaling in advance the abrupt shift into Buddhist discourse.) That is to say, projecting business interests with passion did not come naturally because my natural passion does not lie in business interests. It wasn’t the right focus of energy for me. No quarrel with that as a passion by the way, for some people it is their thing, and you can fairly see the energy of it come crackling off of them, which can be an inspiring sight.
My passion, which was largely dormant at the time but kicking to awaken, is for creative endeavors. And when it comes to promoting my own creative projects, or those of others that I admire, or just generally hobnobbing with creative types and hearing about what they’re up to, lo and behold, the needed energy and confidence is there. Case(s) most recently in point:
I’ve been working on this film, Echo’s Wonder (http://www.echoswonder.com/), that’s going to be screening at the Victoria on June 1st along with other films from the same filmmaking group I’m part of. The director asked me this week if I could take a stab at writing a press release to try and maximize turnout and interest. Also this past week my roommate/musician/budding producer Alex Mikes (http://www.myspace.com/alexmikesmusic) asked me to work on a mission statement for In Bloom, the independent record company he’s starting.
I have wanted to be involved with film and music for literal decades, and it’s so gratifying to harness the energies of my natural bent for writing in promoting these activities. Although they have nothing to do with my day job (financial analyst for a non-profit), working on these two ventures was the most energizing, satisfying work I did all week.
Three cheers for right livelihood!