Open Letters to People or Entities Who Are Unlikely to Respond
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An Open Letter to the Marketing Lady in My Office Who Asked Me What My Major Was in College, and When I Said English, Responded With, “You’ll Never Get Anywhere With That.”
BY IVY GRIMES
Dear Marketing Lady,
Yeah, I’ve heard that.
Well actually, I’ve just seen that sentiment expressed in gentler terms in Newsweek. English majors make less on average than almost any other major. I’ve heard various presidents say that it’s non-math majors like me who keep our country from producing the truly top-of-the-line killer robots we really need. And I’m okay with that.
I can’t defend the English major. But I do have a few words to say about the marketing major.
Marketing majors rely on two basic skills: being mean and knowing when boots are in style.
Since you are a marketing major, I want to propose a marketing strategy you might find intriguing. If someone wants to promote their business, they probably shouldn’t hire the most obnoxious person they can find to be their main company contact. That’s right, Marketing Lady. I propose that you and I switch places.
It’s not that marketing classes don’t teach you anything. I know they do. But they can’t teach you how to, say, wipe a dumb smirk off your face, or to stop talking about how many carats are in your engagement ring.
Making a nice person (ahem, an English major) the new marketing lady would make our clients feel a little more at ease. An English major wouldn’t sneer at you for wearing the wrong lipstick color or being a few pounds overweight. If you vomited in the middle of an important meeting, she wouldn’t judge you or tell her coworkers about it. She would just nod vacantly, wait a couple of days, and then email you a Frank O’Hara poem that reminded her of the incident.
How will this lead to big bucks and greater name recognition for the company? I don’t know. But if there’s anything I learned from my English classes—from Charlotte Bronte and Jane Austen and Herman Melville—it’s that people don’t like mean people, and they usually end up getting ditched at balls or marrying jerks who stick them in attics or becoming a little too annoying to large animals.
So my English major did get me somewhere. It taught me not to be insufferable.
Furthermore, since I am an English major, I would never get even with you by making a snide comment to you in the break room. I would simply address you in an online magazine you will (hopefully) never read.
- Ivy Grimes
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