This post was originally written for subscribers of the daily taryn, a writing project started in Dec 2017. Now's the perfect time to join, so I'll hold while you do so. Love u.
You have no idea how many times in my life I’ve been asked that question. It’d be weird if you did, actually. Would immediately try to figure out how to get you off this email list.
Before we get get started, here’s what I got up to after I sent out the newsletter:
So, what do I even do?
Today, she’s going list format, and finally answering one of your questions:
Marlo asked: “So here’s my question. You were first working at Tiger Beat Magazine, and I think you were writing. What is it that you do now? You’ve always been a prolific, funny and creative writer, just wondering if you are doing the same thing.”
Here’s all the things I’ve been paid to do, outside of stupid bets and lemonade stands. If you’re hoping these are in perfect order, you don’t understand the severity of my poor memory. My jobs, absolutely out of order:
1. Tennis academy
I worked at the pro shop of the country club I took lessons at. Selling grip tape, telling people what court to go to, flirting with my tennis-playing boyfriend. AKA, the dream.
2. Hotel pool attendant
One thing you’ll learn about me is that my parents are in the hospitality business — for as long as I can remember, my dad was the president and COO of a hotel company where my mom recruited the employees. They both just recently quit to travel, spend time with Mia, and probably daydream about how much they love me. They’re in Hawaii right now straight up chilllling and will start to work again when they feel like it. What a life. Also, this job was as dumb as it sounds. My dad got it for me because I wanted to do something over the summer in high school. They literally bought an ice cream cart just so I could sell ice cream to pool goers. I kid you not, I ate on average 3.5 Dove ice cream bars every shift. Thank the lord almighty I was playing so much tennis, or I’d be a straight up oompa loompa right now.
3. Hotel front desk agent
This is when it got fun. At the same hotel, I worked with my brother and 4 of my best friends. The boys were getting tips for absolutely nothing as bellmen and valet attendants while the girls were handling the real shit at the front desk, making less money but having fun regardless.
4. Kids tennis summer camp coach/counselor
I’ve done this job on and off in between other jobs for probably a decade now. I’ve taught summer tennis academies at UCLA, country clubs, and tennis academies. Being paid to get a tan, work out, and teach kids to play your favorite sport is actually heaven on earth.
5. ASU health inspector
I could cry laughing thinking about this job. It was *the* most bullshit job I’ve ever done in my entire life, which, as you can see (scroll up), I’ve done some dumb stuff. This one was just so, so, so dearly pointless. My college boyfriend (who will remain nameless although many, many recipients of this email know him well.. hello to all of you) and his friends all worked for ASU as dorm room health inspectors, where they would go from dorm to dorm making sure student’s smoke alarms were on. My boyfriend told me that it was stupidly easy money and you get to drove a golf cart. Fast forward a few months — now all of my friends and I worked there. It was, as the promised, stupidly easy money, with unfortunately fewer golf carts than anticipated. I basically got paid to look at people’s dorms, which was dope. I love snooping. Weirdest was inspecting a students room for about 10 minutes until noticing that his girlfriend was straight up naked on facetime the entire time. Real weird. Not my jam.
6. Marketing events and social media manager at Primavera/Strongmind
I’d say this was my first big kid job. When I graduated college, I wanted to stay in AZ for another year to tie up loose ends with some friends and a more-than-friend. My buddy Ben told me to apply for this marketing position at an online high school called Primavera, which is actually Arizona’s largest high school (in number of students). I did not think I would get the job — I didn’t take ONE marketing course in college. And yet, I was apparently exactly what they were looking for. Our team eventually spun off into it’s own creative/marketing agency, so I spent my year surrounded by infectiously creative people who helped me jumpstart my career. My days were filled with managing social media, traveling around AZ to recruit new students, and creating marketing content (if you live in Arizona, you may have heard my voice on the radio a few times… no joke. Had approximately 1million friends reach out and ask if the girl saying, “hey guys, it’s taryn from Primavera” was really me. Twas.). This job was special. It taught me that even when you have no related experience, your soft skills and work ethic can earn you trust and responsibility quickly.
7. Luxury Hotel Secret Shopper
Yes, this one was as good as it seems. I flew to world-famous resorts to go undercover and grade the hotel staff on everything they did. I’d try the nicest restaurants, get full spa treatments, “accidentally” break lamps, and report back on how the staff handled each situation. My boss would turn the findings into action items to train the staff on in the following weeks. At a few hotels, I was able to bring a friend, all-expenses paid. We’d make up stories about why we were traveling and stick to them for the whole weekend. This job was KUSH. Highly recommend.
8. Writer and reporter at Tiger Beat
Now the others were good, but this one was a dream come true. I was reading through job boards and saw one for Tiger Beat magazine that started with, “If you’re a 12-year-old at heart,” and immediately knew I was home. I think I got the job because I was, in every way, made to work at TB (and write killer cover letters - never underestimate cover letters). I am obsessed with pop culture, interviewing people, and writing. I could get down with Disney Channel and Nickelodeon shows, no matter how repetitive they were, and my lifelong obsession with Justin Bieber will never, ever end. This job ruled. I worked in LA with some hilarious, talented, likeminded people. We pitched stories about teen stars, then retreated to our own offices to write them. Why I had my own, huge-ass office at 23 years old, I’ll never understand, but I won’t regret it. I also rode a scooter around the office until the dreadful day where it was deemed “unsafe to other employees.” I got to go to award shows where I interviewed all the Disney-hunks of the day, and where Rihanna and Miley Cyrus smiled at me. My favorite interviews were Ansel Elgort, Fifth Harmony, Ed Sheeran, Ariana Grande, Drake Bell (because lol), a cancer-patient who Taylor Swift visited, and many many more. It was a dream job, except it had the same traces of every romcom ever, where the journalist has to write horoscopes when she really wants to write about the wars overseas. It was just like that, except I didn’t want to write about wars AND I made up the horoscopes. IT’S TRUE PEOPLE. I would loosely look at what kind of month a Libra should be having, then make it up from there. If she had a good month last month, I’d give her a tougher one next. It’s true, people. I WAS ON THE OTHER END OF YOUR HOROSCOPE, deciding your fate, and I’m sorry that you didn’t meet your homeroom hottie this month. I see good things in your future, though. Check your locker ;)
In a coming issue, I’ll write about my favorite possessions - one being the letter of recommendation my Tiger Bear editor in chief wrote about me. It still makes me tear up, without fail, every time I read it. Stay tuned.
9. Brand marketing at Patreon
And this is where I am today. After TB, I moved up to San Francisco because 2 of my best friends were working at this company no one had ever heard of called Patreon. I joined when we were just about 20 employees, and this week, we hit well over 100. To answer Marlo’s original question, yes, I still write here. While my title is Marketing Manager, I am often introduced as “the keeper of the words” at Patreon. This means that I’m in charge of Patreon’s tone and voice. I’ve helped define our brand personality, how we say/don’t say things, and am the final stop on all things copy. In short, that means that every email Patreon sends, every word on our website, every tweet and post, every piece of marketing material or ad goes through the “brand check by taryn.” I also run our socials and direct/produce our video content, including traveling to and interviewing the biggest creators on our platform. Lastly, I do a bit of culture work here as well, like kicking off our all-team weekly meetings with a ~7 minute thing called 60 seconds. I call it a “thing” because it’s unexplainable — sometimes I make presentations full of employee’s first facebook pictures, sometimes I run company wide trivia, sometimes I talk about how hard the world is and offer a moment of silence. Whatever it is, I try to give energy to the company and subtly remind us that we’re all connected, and when we experience that connection, we can build a better product for our users and a better life for ourselves.
That's what I do.
Girl talk tomorrow,
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