Did Cosmo’s ‘birthday cake’ article touch a raw nerve?
It’s a few weeks now since Cosmopolitan, the women’s magazine better known for its sex tips rather than career advice, published the latest in a series of regular columns looking at jobs its readers might want to consider.
‘The internal comms strategist’ was the role under the spotlight and in an introductory paragraph that outraged many, and amused others, Cosmo said: “identifiable by their hands-free handset and their ability to look like a LinkedIn profile photo at all times, the IC strategist is always busybusyverybusy – despite their whole job seemingly being about organising people’s birthday cakes.”
My first reaction to this was to laugh. My second reaction was to note the free publicity for the Institute of Internal Communication in the article. At last, I thought, our profession is on the radar even if Cosmo’s view of it might be a little misguided.
Others were less sanguine. Horrendous, unintelligent, out of touch and abysmal were just some of the words used by IC pros who took to Twitter to complain about the article. Cosmo, they said, was painting a completely false picture of the industry and discouraging readers from looking at a career in IC.
I get why there was some disquiet. We all know that the role of an IC strategist is more than baking cakes – we are increasingly being seen as important cogs in the corporate wheel. The Cosmo article is proof that we have a profile in the marketplace. Hurrah!
However, is the ‘outrage’ on social media a little over the top? Other articles in the same series have been similarly written and don’t appear to have generated the same reaction from other professions. Who reads Cosmo for career advice anyway? And if anyone was put off joining our industry by one throwaway article (tomorrow’s fish and chip wrapper), are they the calibre of candidate we want?
I wonder whether the rush to Twitter and LinkedIn to express our disgust is symptomatic of a more serious issue – that despite the progress we have made as a profession, we remain inherently insecure about the impact we make in the modern corporate workplace?
If that is the case, it shouldn’t be. We know we’re doing great things. We should be proud of that. Shouldn’t we have the confidence to ignore this kind of article and get on with the job in hand? Let’s get ‘busybusyverybusy’ demonstrating our value every day!
Nick Andrews, Business Development Director, Sequel Group