How I got into advertising.

One of my therapists once told me that each of us makes up stories about our lives. We take moments–happy, painful, and otherwise–and try to connect them with narrative threads.

Live is chaotic, unpredictable, random. The stories we make up aren’t reality. There is no cause and effect. But the stories are real to us because we’re the ones connecting the dots, we’re the ones living our stories..

“First this happened to me. Then that happened to me. Then this other thing happened to me. And that’s why I take Xanax today.”

It’s a theory I subscribe to. So keeping this in mind, this is how I got into advertising. This is how I connected my dots.

  • It’s a harsh winter in Fort Wayne, Indiana.
  • My mom slips on some ice.
  • She is six months pregnant with me.
  • We are rushed to the hospital.
  • I am delivered.
  • I come out way too small.
  • I am set aside so the doctor can work on my mom.
  • Out of the corner of her eye a nurse thinks she sees me move.
  • I am not dead after all.
  • I spend my first three months in an incubator.
  • I spend my next six months sleeping on a heating pad.
  • I grow up skinny and shy and with an irrational fear of heating pads.
  • I like to read.
  • My fifth-grade English teacher gives the class an assignment. Read a short story and write a one-page paper on it.
  • I ask if instead of reading a short story, can I write one? My classmates look at me as if I have Mad Cow Disease.
  • I write some articles for the high school newspaper.
  • I get into college.
  • I major in Psychology.
  • I am failing Psychology.
  • I am especially failing calculus, chemistry, and physics.
  • I switch my major to Advertising.
  • They give degrees for that?” my parents ask.
  • I graduate from college.
  • My portfolio includes a talking baked bean.
  • The economy is bad. I move back in with my parents
  • Nobody is hiring a kid right out of college, especially a kid with a talking baked bean in his portfolio.
  • I wonder if it’s too late to get back my job bagging groceries.
  • Using her connections, my mom gets me my first job in “advertising.”
  • I write articles and take pictures for an electric utility’s in-house magazine.
  • I’m on my way?

Published by bassetts49

50 years in advertising, 20 years as the creative lead on Geico. A life in creative thinking.

2 thoughts on “How I got into advertising.

  1. This is awesome. Now everything about you makes sense to me. I’m going to try my version of how I got into advertising. It won’t be as cool, but it might be good for my psyche.


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