“Circulation is not a discipline for the feint of heart,” begins Folio
’s 2007 salary survey circ jobs in the US
. With the recession, this statement has never been more true. There was a time when a circulator did just that⎯circulate a magazine. Now the job description can include anything from ad sales, to events and fairs, to grant writing, to ordering office supplies, changing light bulbs, and picking up the publisher’s dry cleaning. As budgets shrink and economic demand increases, the role of a circulator has gotten all that much harder, and in many magazines has an ever-increasing definition, without the ever-increasing salary. More necessary job skills, more responsibilities, and a much a longer to-do list. Tired yet?
I’ve been in this industry in some form or another for about seven years now, and I don’t remember a time when my circ job didn’t involve event planning, sponsorship acquisition, staffing fairs and parties, lugging boxes, or booking caterers. Not only do you have to be good at coordinating mailings, building budgets, and analyzing data, you’ve got to write fantastic marketing AND grant copy, coordinate shindigs, and be charming at a cocktail party. Many of us need to excel at both the 9-5 p.m., and the 7-3 a.m.
So why do the duties of circ seem to creep out of control while salaries seem stuck? Folio
’s survey offers up at least a partial answer; “The greatest challenge of the job, one said, is ‘educating my boss about circulation when he is not that interested or willing to fund my efforts.’ Another said, ‘No respect from publishers. Everyone thinking they can do my job.’ Yet another: ‘Circ is not fully understood or treated as important as other disciplines in the industry.’” Some of us are lucky enough to work with publishers and editors who understand the complexity and value of what we do, but how do the remaining circ professionals left out in the cold get the respect they deserve?
As circulators, what does your job entail that is clearly not in the realm of circ? Does this scope creep make for a more well-rounded career experience, or does it just make you tired?