If anything is near and dear to my heart, it’s freedom of speech. I was born a writer. My Mom was a high school English teacher who loves and values language and communication. Growing up in an emotionally repressed, uncommunicative Irish Catholic culture, I had an abnormally strong desire to connect with others through communications. While I couldn’t get a date to save my life, I could almost always guarantee an A in English class. I also wrote and gave good speeches. I was president of my class, like Reese Witherspoon in Election but not as mean (I hope). A verbose overachiever. It was the best way I knew how to get attention (and apparently still is: hello colsblog readers!).
As the years have collected and I learned more about how to connect with others on an intimate emotional level, I haven’t needed the public props the way I used to. Racking up achievements and being known as a Super Woman isn’t that fulfilling if at the end of the day you come home exhausted to an empty apartment and a barren fridge, feeling lonely.
At some point, after a few years in the corporate world which can strip even the smartest, most creative and resolute of individuals of their basic joie de vivre, I found a job there that suits me: executive speechwriter.
I stopped openly fighting the counter-productive macho bullshit I’d see every day on the ground level and instead embraced silence. I took all my juice and energy and good ideas and went behind the curtain to support and learn from the honchos. My excellent listening skills really come in handy here … and my reticence is an asset to me and to them.
I give them my ideas and my words, marketing savvy, and deep understanding of human emotions … they gave me a steady paycheck and incredible knowledge of how large organizations work, how people think about and respond to power, and how to get things done through influence versus sheer force of will.
It’s been an amazing experience. Sometimes I feel like I am still in grad school, except I get paid nicely and don’t have to suffer through pie-in-the-sky theoretical BS. I still have to pull all nighters. I still have to put my ass in the chair and power through long writing assignments. Those things don’t bother me much. And the payoff of constant learning … it’s awesome.