What it’s like to be a 25-year-old marketing manager (and mustache supporter)

We’ve set out to ask 20-somethings about how they’re making a living, fulfilling their goals, or just trying to get by in this crazy quarter-life journey. Needless to say, we’re loving their answers. In the latest installment of our career questionnaire, we talked to someone rising the ranks in marketing at a non-profit best known for its mustache-growing challenges—yes, you read that right. Part of the job is challenging men to grow facial hair every November for a good cause, and that’s not all. 

Name: Katelynn Whitaker

Job Title: U.S. Content Marketing Manager for The Movember Foundation

Age: 25

Can you describe your job and place of employment for me?

I work for the Movember Foundation as the U.S. Content Marketing Manager. The Movember Foundation is the global charity raising funds and awareness for men’s health. We want to help men live happier, healthier, longer lives through investing in four key areas: prostate cancer, testicular cancer, poor mental health and physical inactivity. Every Movember, we challenge men to grow, and women to support, a mustache or to make a commitment to get active and MOVE, both of which spark conversations and raise vital funds and awareness for men’s health. The Movember Foundation is an incredibly supportive, fun and innovative place to work. Everyone is always shocked to know that there are actually more women than men who work in our office.

What were you doing before?

I began working for Movember three days after graduating from University of Southern California with a degree in journalism. I was looking for a temporary role while I figured out what was next. Turned out, Movember was where I’d stay. I serendipitously fell into the perfect environment for me as a new post-grad.

What’s your dream job?

When I was 16, I would have said that my dream job would be to be Anna Wintour, editor-in-chief of Vogue. I went into journalism to follow of my love for publishing, and could still see myself someday in New York in the magazine industry. Today, having a bit of real world experience I would say my next dream job will hopefully be an expansion of what I’m doing now, content creation and marketing.

What’s your money situation? Do you have benefits? What about savings?

As the typical millennial I moved home for a few years after college to get my feet under me and figure out where I wanted to live, what I could afford, etc. It’s still a struggle to balance necessities in life and the cost of fun, but slowly I’m figuring it out. Deciding what’s mandatory and what’s a nice to have has been humbling at times. To keep things simple I tried to stay on my parent’s health insurance as long as possible. They’ve slowly weened me off everything else.  I like to take baby steps into the real world. I try to contribute monthly to a savings account (every little bit helps, right?) and I have a Roth IRA – the adults told me I’m supposed to do this. Money is a bit of a daunting topic to me, but I try to remind myself I’m only 25 and don’t have to have it all figured out quite yet.

What are your short-term goals?

Really short-term goals are to have a successful Movember campaign and help raise as much funds and awareness for men’s health as possible. It’s always a struggle to keep my eating habits and exercise routine in check this time of year, so I want to do my best to take care of myself physically and mentally over the next few months. This Movember I’ve actually signed up for the MOVE challenge and committed to be physically active everyday of the month. It’ll be difficult, so it’s definitely a goal to push myself during this busy time and keep an eye on my fitness.

After Movember we’re really lucky to get some time off for the holidays and I’d love to visit some friends who live out of town or finally plan a trip with my boyfriend that we’ve been talking about for months. My mom and I take an annual mother/daughter trip in January so I’m trying to talk her into a yoga retreat in the South West – we’ll see if she goes for it! I love taking on projects outside of work (editing books, articles, helping with social media) so I guess a perpetual goal is to seek out opportunities that inspire me outside of my 9-5 commitments.

What does your day look like?

My day usually starts at 7:30 am when three variations of alarms go off on my phone. I’m not a morning person, so that’s usually not a fun part of my day. I wish I could workout before work and be bright eyed any bushy tailed in the morning, but I’m not and I’ve learned to accept that. And the fact that I’m always 5 minutes late for everything despite my best planning. I head to Movember HQ where no day really looks the same, especially during the busy months leading up to the campaign. This is really the fun time of year when days can be a mix of everything from a photo shoot or video shoot, to corporate partnership meetings, to content strategy execution, to me locked away building database emails that go out to our community. Mustache season is when all of our months of planning is put into practice. Usually my day wraps up after 6pm, hopefully with a workout, a relaxing dinner with my boyfriend, or some couch time with a bit of Real Housewives TV. Then a few more work emails before bed.

What do you do outside of work?

Outside of work I stay super busy, with friends, family, fitness activities or fun LA adventures. I’m involved in a few organizations, but my newest venture is with the Alumni Association at USC. Being busy makes me happy. While I definitely need time by myself to decompress, I love to be on the go, making the most of my time.

What’s your work culture like?

My work culture, from what I hear, is very unique. I have worked for companies before Movember, but this is my first full-time role so I really know of the real world is Movember, which I’m told is very different from most office environments. We have an open floor plan office build in an old dance studio with a working barbershop that’s open every Friday for haircuts and shaves. Beyond the space being fun, my colleagues are some of the best people I know. Everyone works passionately toward a common goal and has a lot of laughs along the way. As we like to say, we’re “having fun, doing good.” When I started working I gained this huge work family, not that I needed a handful of new older brothers to tease me and keep me away from guys, but in many ways I have grown up at Movember and am a different person than I would have been without them.

Read more entries from My Quarter Life Career here.

(Image courtesy of Katelynn Whitaker)