Career Change

Career Path Reality Check for a Marketing Manager

Career Path Reality Check for a Marketing Manager

This Marketing Manager learned the hard way this job is not as glamorous as he thought. This is a true career story as told to and it will take you down the career path of a Marketing Manager including the ups and downs you may experience in the position, what it takes to land the job, what you can expect to earn and more. This is one of many interviews with professionals working in Chicago, which among others include a Sales Representative and a Community Organizer.

What is your job title? How many years of experience do you have in that field?

My job title is Marketing Manager. I have been in this position for three years.

Would you describe the things you do on a typical day?

My specific focus is pricing. My responsibilities include taking write ups from the analysts and determining price points for different products in different regions.

What’s your ethnicity and gender? How has it hurt or helped you? If you ever experienced discrimination, how have you responded and what response worked best?

I am a black male in Chicago, though I don't think that has much affected me in this role. I have never experienced any outright discrimination, but I have been the recipient of a few borderline racist comments. I tend to not rock the boat, so I just let them slide.

Do you speak any language other than English? If so, how has it helped you in your job?

I speak both English and Spanish. In this particular role, speaking Spanish doesn't add much to my marketability. All the reports are in English, and I don't have direct contact with any customers. I know it would be a great asset if I worked for a multinational company that did business with Spanish speaking countries or a company that markets products or services to the Spanish speaking community in the city or the country.

On a scale of 1 to 10 how would you rate your job satisfaction? What would it take to increase that rating?

I would rate my job satisfaction at a 3. I really don't have much to do in a day, other than crunch numbers and hypothesize some trends. As you can see, I'm very dissatisfied with my job. Less hours and more pay would help increase that number.

What did you learn the hard way in this job and how did that happen?

My hardest lesson to learn was that not all glamorous sounding jobs are actually as good as they sound. I sit in a cubicle all day. I really thought with this job I would have an office, and people to work with, like in the television shows. If I don't go out of my way to speak to someone at their desk, I can go my entire shift and barely utter two sentences.

What don’t they teach in school that would’ve been helpful to you?

They don't teach you in school how tedious marketing work can be. That would have been nice to know, I believe I would have decided to change careers while I was in school had I known this fact.

How did you get started in this line of work? If you could go back and do it differently, what would you change?

I was recruited out of college by a local company with the promise of the company's expansion overseas. That expansion did not occur, and after a year I was one of the lucky few to still have a job. If I could go back, knowing what I know now, I would definitely go with another company, even if it meant waiting some time. I will also, from now on, research the company that wants to hire me a lot more, I don't want to end up in this position again.

What’s the strangest thing that ever happened to you in this job?

Nothing really exciting has ever happened in this job. We once had a car catch fire in the parking lot. That wouldn't have been all that memorable except the owner of the car didn't seem to care all that much that her car was engulfed in flames. In fact, the gentleman that was unfortunate enough to park his Corvette next to it was much more concerned with the situation.

On a good day when things are going well, can you give an example of something that really makes you feel good?

On a good day, I may get some form of congratulations from my boss. I really enjoy the praise. This does not happen very often, though. Not that I am not good at my job, but my boss is not in the office very often.

When nothing seems to go right, what kind of snafus do you handle and what do you dislike the most?

The worst of days come when our numbers come in and we have to justify our pricing schemes. A more accurate way to term this would be this is when we have to justify our jobs. Honestly, all we marketing managers do is take educated guesses. If the numbers are good enough, we get some minor praise. If the numbers are bad, however, we are "taken to the wood shed" as my boss calls it. A few team members have walked out of those meetings, and their jobs, because they couldn't take being yelled at. I just tend to keep my head down and think happier thoughts.

How stressful is your job? Are you able to maintain a comfortable or healthy work-life balance?

My actual job is pretty low stress. It is the aforementioned meetings that produce the most stress in my career. It isn't hard to leave work at work and enjoy being home until the month end reporting starts looming.

What’s a rough salary range for the position you hold? Are you paid enough considering your responsibilities?

I am around $35,000 annually. I don't think I am paid nearly enough, though I guess it is fair considering a lot of days are pretty non-productive. However, this same position a few years back would pay around double in this same company and if you get a job with a bigger company or a company that hasn't been hit as badly as mine was by the economy, someone could be making over $75,000 easily.

What’s the most rewarding moment you’ve experienced in this position? Of all the things you’ve done at work, what are you most proud of?

I am most proud of the three times I have been called out, in a positive way, for my projections and subsequent pricings. The recognition went a few levels higher than my boss, which led to some pretty nice recognition from some high ranking company officials.

What’s the most challenging moment you’ve experienced? What would you prefer to forget?

All of the most challenging moments have been during our team meetings. I would rather forget most all of them.

What education and skills do you need to get hired and succeed in this field?

Official company documentation states a college degree is necessary for this job, but I don't know why anything more than a high school degree would be necessary. This is an entry level position if I have ever known one.

What would you tell a friend considering your line of work?

I would not advise any friend to get into this line of work. I am ridiculously bored on all but maybe three to five days out of the month, during those days, I'm stressed to the max.

How much vacation do you take? Is it enough?

I have to admit I have a very good vacation policy at my company, one of the only things that helps the ranking. I spread the days out so I can take a full week every fourth month, and have a few days to spare for mental health days in the interim.

Are there any common misunderstandings you want to correct about what you do?

The misunderstanding I would look to clear up would be for anyone considering being a marketing manager. Don't let the title fool you. This is a boring, slow, mostly thankless job. I have even been blamed by a person in the grocery store for the price of milk being too high. Let me be clear, I do not price milk, or any type of food for that matter.

Does this job move your heart? If not, what does?

This job does not move my heart. I am not even sure it is safe to think about what may, at this point. I am very disillusioned about that particular subject at this point in my life.

If you could write your own ticket, what would you like to be doing in five years?

In five years, I would love to be independently wealthy. I am convinced the only way that will happen will be if I win the lottery. That will be difficult, though, as I have never even purchased at ticket.

Is there anything unique about your situation that readers should know when considering your experiences or accomplishments?

There is nothing terribly unique about my position. I was an average student, and now I have a job where I'm not really satisfied. is a job search engine that finds job listings from company career pages, other job boards, newspapers and associations. With one search, they help you find the job with your name on it.

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