I know there are a lot of prejudices about studying in the Humanities, especially in Philosophy. But I think with a Humanities degree you can do a lot. You just have to find your own way. Here I want to tell the story of how I went from Philosophy to Marketing, specifically Advertising in 1,5 years.
Chapter 1 – why I was done with Philosophy
On the 19th of December 2016 I turned 28 years old. I just finished my Philosophy M.A. with the attribute ‘outstanding achievement’. Professors of two different universities offered me a PhD position. I had several testimonial letters in my pocket. I could be successfull at an academic career, I thought. People that accomplished exactly that told me so.
But I felt that something wasn’t right. I wasn’t convinced anymore to approach an academic career. I felt the itch to change my life. I felt like I was done with university, wanted to do something else, needed a career change.
I knew what was happening but I was lacking the words to describe it. While listening to a podcast I heard Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft, explain the idea I was looking for on the Freakonomics Podcast (at 36:00 mins):
[…] if there is anything that we can learn, I think — whether it’s for us as individuals, whether it is us as institutions or organizations or as societies — it’s hit refresh. Nothing can be taken for granted. There’s no such thing as a perpetual motion machine. What you have to do is be great at being able to hit refresh at the crucial times and know that not every one of those moments of refresh is going to work out. But that should not dissuade you from going after the next opportunity you get.
Not following my academic career but starting Online Marketing Services as Copy- & Content Writer and Podcast Producer was me hitting refresh at the most crucial time in my life so far. And I couldn’t be happier with the results. It was so crucial because I really knew that I needed new tasks, another challenge, a different objective I aim at. I was also convinced that I could succeed in other professional fields with the skills I learned in academic philosophy and in … well, in life generally.
Chapter 2 – what was next?
or: am I a “catastrophe for every company”?!
In January of 2017, just one month after graduating with very good grades and with recommendations of well respected professors. A career advisor told me that I am “a catastrophe for every company” and “an idiot“.
FROM PHILOSOPHY TO GETTING MY PROFESSIONAL AMBITIONS ATOM-BOMBED BY A RANDOM “”CAREER ADVISOR””?!?!
Well, OK. That was interesting to hear. But I dare to disagree. What lead me to start and succeed as Freelancer was, I think, the following combination of writing skills, curiousity & ambitions:
What I was interested in for many, many years – going back even to my days in school – is writing. When other kids in school complained about writing long texts in the German classes, I was happy about it. Why? Because it came easy to me. It came naturally. In my 20s I practiced writing essays and academic papers a lot. I became obsessed with books about writing. What was really good non-fiction writing? My hard academic work was rewarded with very good grades. I also got jobs as Student Assistant that many other students wanted to have.
I am also a very curious person. I love learning new things. I love diving into new topics, working in different enviroments, using new technology etc. In my degree I had the great fortune to study not only Philosophy but also Political Science and German Literature and thus gained solid general knowledge while also acquiring specific knowledge about Moral Philosophy and Ethics.
In my twenties I developed a very ambitious mentality. I set myself free from the fixed mindset that holds people back and gained a growth mindset that enabled me to take on big challenges and grow with these challenges and not in spite of challenges. That way I could envision myself as successful Copy- & Content Writer and I could take on the challenge on working on this endeveour with open arms.
Chapter 3 – from “catastrophe” to high praise by clients in Marketing
This is what I was doing in 2017 and ’18: Producing podcasts. In the title picture above you see the audio editing situation I was having in a train from Leipzig to Frankfurt.
Meanwhile, past clients didn’t seem to think of me as “a catastrophe for every company” and “an idiot“. This is what Contas KG says about my work as Podcaster & Content Writer:
We regard Mr. Gleitze as very qualified and recommend him as profitable investment in the field of Online Marketing.
And this is what Marburg Medicine GmbH wrote about my service as Copywriter:
Thanks to Mr. Gleitze our medical start-up was supplied with very attractive texts for our homepage and print material. Without a doubt he hit the right tone for our target group and helped us shape our corporate vocabulary.
After initial experience as Freelance Copywriter I got jobs at advertising agencies. My job was and is developing creative advertising concepts and writing copy for Jaguar Land Rover, BMI, Bora, Vodafone, Lexware, Haufe and others.
Do you want to change careers? You can do so! Be adacious and bold. And put in a lot of effort.