You Run Like a Boy

Brad Brinegar
Partner, Chairman, & CEO
c/o Kylee Kirk, Talent Recruiter
318 Blackwell St
Durham, NC 27701

via tweet to: @mckinney

Dear Mr. Brinegar, Ms. Kirk, and the rest of the McKinney Team:

Who knew we would have so much in common?


Set in lead and printed letterpress with my own two hands.

Our shared love of the humble ampersand.

Your hard work attempting to build empathy for the homeless, a compassionate and pragmatic solution for that problem of those $6 boxes of tampons.

And of course pink sneakers.

But if I’m the one art directing the shot via Twitter that nets one of your clients brand recognition in the editorial, and not just the lowly ad section of the national press a full year later, then how come you’re the well-respected ad exec with the fat paycheck, and government bureaucrats, advertising professionals, and my own family treat me with disdain?

May I make one suggestion for improving Spent? Three clicks in, before I don’t have time to play this game outside of job research, where even after six years I have yet to run out of professional jobs to apply for: dire poverty, for me, is not a game of running a circular loop between low-wage, subservient job options, but time. The bigger problem is the popular conception that the poor are stupid, lazy, and magically to blame for the Great Recession.

Toward solving that problem, could you more directly target your market to the folks on the opposite side of the counter from the destitute, strangely, the people who would not themselves have jobs if they did not have impoverished clients to serve? Could we work together on a communications campaign to shift that attitude from disdain to gratitude? Maybe something along the lines of fast-track hiring for six-year veterans of America’s war on democracy?

From my perspective, my time is more valuable than filling in redundant data on forms like these:


Screenshot, McKinney hiring platform.

Having been on the other side of the hiring fence, I understand being swamped with apps. But why reduce your candidates to text data in this richly visual, interconnected era? How does that help them or you?


Screenshot, scroll down.

May we skip all this boring, busy work and just communicate directly?

I never thought of myself as an advertising person. Ick. No offense, but your field has kind of a bad rep. But then I attended a lecture given by an advertising professional in Seattle who kicked off her talk by asking what makes the world go ’round? Unpredictably, she did not answer, “Money,” instead, “Communication.”

Then it clicked for me.

Unfortunately, the rest of her talk began with I, ended with I, and chattered a whole lot of I in between, which is when I realized that advertising veteran had nothing to teach me about communication. She was telling what in human psychology is called a wound, or trauma narrative, more appropriately worked out in psychotherapy, drawing studio, journaling, yoga, or, okay, running, if that’s your game.

Despite the theme of her talk ostensibly being to help the unemployed network into jobs, there her communications fizzled into avoiding an inbox filled with a roomful of résumés.

Facing immense hurdles thrown in my path, I think I’ve nevertheless kicked ass in communications, and I am happy to see that you encourage your crew to bring their own projects on board.

If you have never been told, “You run like a boy,” with that communications intended as an insult, then you have some idea of just one bias I face in the uphill battle of today’s job market.

How do you feel about calling what you do communication instead of advertising? In some ways, the field of advertising poorly advertises itself. Maybe I can help you change that? Every time I read derisive comments about a major rebranding, I think, if the marketing folks would just explain you have to have something there. And a healthy identity evolves over time. Just making a mark on a page or a screen, you’ve already started to communicate. Branding keeps an organization’s communications coherent. It’s visual metaphor.

And now you’re talking my expertise.

Of your available positions, Digital Producer sounds well suited to my past experiences and range of skills, though I am very happy to read that you will make exceptions to the required decade of experience in the field of advertising “based on maturity, level of work pertaining to creative product and creative management abilities” for the position of Associate Creative Director.

While I think my maturity and depth and breadth of skills vastly exceeds your expectations for Senior Image Artist, that still sounds better than cat in backpack, rooflessness, and snow.

Thank you for your willingness to play my commitment toward transparency in human resources for however many more days or months or years this recession continues for me. I welcome questions from your team in comments, via Twitter, or connect via email. Though I always swore I wouldn’t run unless there was a nearby beach with sand to run in, shoes from your client would be much appreciated too. Just for walking without holes in my soles.


Jana Brubaker

One thought on “You Run Like a Boy

  1. Pingback: Resetting Your Moral Compass | journal6other

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