Interviewing for Focus on the Family was an exciting experience, and though the job I applied for had not been something I expected, nor was it in my degree field, it offered an opportunity to grow, and to trust God.
So I interviewed and ultimately came work at Focus on the Family, as an application support specialist. In my role I had to learn whole new skill sets and begin to understand information technology. One huge benefit of that role was that I got to know lots of people at Focus on the Family, and work with lots of departments. This made getting integrated far easier, than a job that may have been more isolating. Plus I also got to work at a ministry that truly changes lives.
While I started in IT, that's not where I ended up, and over the course of about 7 years I had the opportunity to work for a brand and indeed set the course for its future. That brand was Adventures in Odyssey.
One year into the role at Focus on the Family I had the opportunity to become the product marketing manager for kids and family products, which included Adventures in Odyssey.
My very first task was to launch the new brand look of Adventures in Odyssey, a new look for the characters, and a new logo.
See the cover where we revealed the new look of Eugene and Connie, you could actually see Eugene's eyes. And also see below for the old Adventures in Odyssey logo and the new one. (Sometime I'll go in to more detail about the brand revision process, in fact I am experiencing that again with The Action Bible at David C. Cook)
Through my new role as Product Marketing Manager (Kids & Parenting) I began to get into my degree field of marketing, and learned about managing an expansive multi-million dollar brand, content marketing, working with talented storytellers, and collaborating with partners like Tyndale and Christianbook.
My role continued to change and expand, and soon not only where we releasing new Adventures in Odyssey albums and episodes, but launching new book series (The Imagination Station) and repacking older titles.
Side note is that I got to write Imagination Station #5, Showdown with the Shepherd, as well as the outline for Imagination Station #10, Challenge on the Hill of Fire.
Another fun note is that my favorite episodes from Adventures in Odyssey while growing up were Camp What-a-Nut (1 & 2). In my role, I was responsible to lead the design of the Album covers for Adventures in Odyssey, as well as all the repacks, bringing them into the new brand look and feel.
So I had the opportunity to make a change to my favorite album, one that I felt quite passionately about. So I changed the cover for Album #2 as well as the title to reflect what I thought was a better encapsulation of the album. Working with Gary Locke I directed him to to feature my favorite moment from Camp What-A-Nut, where Whit and Donny have to escape a bear by climbing a tree.
This post has already become too long, so I guess i'll continue the next part of my time at Adventures in Odyssey in Part 5. Stay tuned!
*PS this is also when I became a published author with Taken, Showdown with the Shepherd, and HowlSage all in the same year! I'll be sure to cover that as well in a future post.
Do you listen to Adventures in Odyssey? Let me know your favorite episode in the comments below.
So what did I end up choosing for my career? Or at least what degree would I go to college for?
The answer is...
This degree is every kids' absolute dream job, well maybe not, but it is something that is all around you. It's on your clothing, it's on your car, it's on every package you purchase whether that's a toy or food at the grocery store. It's between the songs on the radio, and every TV show you watch... In fact you could argue it's the reason TV shows are made, to sell more of this...
What is this?
Marketing, advertising, promotions!
I went to get a degree in marketing at Illinois State University in Normal, IL.
Okay so maybe not every kids' dream job. It's not a very glamorous sounding degree I know, but I knew that it was stable, that I could get a job at one of the two major companies in central Illinois; Caterpillar and State Farm. (Indeed upon graduating I had offers at both of the companies.) I knew I could make a career of it, provide for my family, and be creative.
I ended up selecting a company called MultiAd. I wasn't there long though, before suddenly I got a call to work for a company that would change the trajectory of my life.
In fact newly married I turned to my wife and asked do you want to move to Colorado?
To this day I can not remember applying for the job they called me about. A job that had nothing to do with my degree, or chosen career field. No indeed, I would find myself in IT (information technology) at a company called...
Want to know a secret?
My interest in marketing, and how to indeed market books, became core to The Quest for Truth series' very cover designs and even the titling of each and every book in the series.
Maybe you have already noticed this very cool feature. Take your Quest for Truth books, put them in order from left to right starting with Taken and ending with Hope, and with their spines facing you.
What do you notice?
Don't have your own set? Let's fix that.
You can also scroll down to reveal the super cool secret.
Scroll to see the spines of The Quest for Truth!
Just a bit more...
I was always fascinated by airplanes, and spaceships. My second largest collection of books, were airplane books, primarily military aircraft. The shear speed of the airplanes, the sophisticated weapons they carried, all interested me. I enjoyed attending airshows, and in particular recall my first experience seeing the Blue Angels. In fact I still dash outside of my house, as air force planes fly over where I live.
I call out the airplane type, F-22 Raptor, V-22 Osprey, F-18 Hornet, etc. In fact I followed the competitions for the JSF (Joint Strike Fighter) which is known as the F-35 Lightning II. And I still have my copy of Popular Mechanics issue covering the JSF!
Interesting Fact, before the F-22 was officially called Raptor, it was referred to as the Lightning II. I had a video game called F-22 Lighting II. But then they corrected it with F-22 Raptor.
So any guesses so far as to what my career choice was as a junior in High School?
I found myself intrigued and inspired by the F-22 Raptor, and I wanted to be part of creating such a fantastic powerful machine. One that could continue giving the United States air superiority.
Of course I had watched the movie Top Gun (F-14s), and the idea of out matching our enemies in the sky, was exciting. But I didn't have a desire to be a pilot, nor did I want to join the actual air force.
In fact I didn't even fly on an airplane, until my senior year of high school.
I was fairly good at math and science, and so Aerospace Engineering made sense as a career path. I could apply my skills in math and science, to creating something I really enjoyed thinking about; airplanes.
So I applied and was accepted to several universities that excelled in aerospace engineering, and so my career path was chosen.
Well at least until I realized maybe engineering wasn't what I thought it would be. As a boy I loved to draw, and so I would draw all sorts of things; dinosaurs, Civil War murals, construction equipment, and of course airplanes. But I wouldn't just draw one small piece or component to the airplane, but the whole thing.
And now, many years down the road, with a bit more insight into who I am, I realize that I was always more of a big vision person, a macro idea person. And while I have played my small part in many larger projects, when I was determining my career choice for the 'rest of my life' I didn't picture myself at a desk, drawing one small component for an airplane.
So alas, I still had yet to discover what I wanted to do for my career, and the countdown to graduation had begun.
...and owned lots of dinosaur toys (which I still have today)!
I love dinosaurs!
Did I want to become a paleontologist to discover what happened to them—volcanoes, asteroids, disease, a flood? In truth, no, that’s not really what I was after.
What I wanted as a kid was to see a real live dinosaur… okay, what I really wanted was to ride one.
So alas, what I wanted to be in my career began to change as my interests shifted.
Reply with your guess what that new interest was!
Read What do you want to be? Part 2 next month.
By Brock Eastman