Imagine sharing an office with hundreds of toys and games. Better yet, imagine getting to play with all of them on a daily basis.
For Maddie Michalik, this dream became a reality when she landed the job everyone grows up wanting to have. I had the pleasure of interviewing Maddie to learn more about her toy-tastic career, so take a look at what may be the coolest job ever:
Where do you work and what is your position?
“I work at Adventure Publishing Group as an assistant editor. I write, lay out, and edit articles for leading trade publications The Toy Book and The Licensing Book. I am the lead editor of The Toy Book’s blog and weekly newsletter. I also report on news and trends, and write weekly product reviews for The Toy Insider, an online consumer website for gift givers. We also produce two holiday gift guides, an online spring/summer gift guide and a print holiday guide in Family Circle magazine. Last, we host two events, Blogger Bash and Holiday of Play, which connect press and digital influencers with the brands they love most!”
What skills or traits helped you to land this job?
“Experience outside of the classroom really helped me. I always say that you could learn more in one day putting an article together than reading how it’s supposed to be done. For example, you can read a textbook perfect definition of conducting the perfect interview, but you’re never going to know how you’re really going to act until you’re sitting in front of someone who doesn’t want to talk to you (and only agreed because “you’re going to write the article anyway”). Some of the best classes I took during my time at Hofstra University were ones that put us out in the field and reporting like the pros. My year as editor-in-chief at The Hofstra Chronicle also taught me valuable copy editing skills, the best way to interact with professionals, how to write a fair, balanced, and correct article, and how to run a real publication.”
How did you get involved in this industry?
“I’ve always had a nose in my book, a love of writing, and a passion for the news and events going on worldwide. My mom told me that I would always be watching the news when I was younger. Naturally, I combined all of them! One of my favorite quotes from Henry R. Luce puts it best—“I became a journalist to come as close as possible to the heart of the world.” I was lucky in that I knew I wanted to be in this field since early on in my high school career. That really helped me develop my skills, and I also completed two summer journalism programs at Hofstra University and the University of Connecticut. Then, I majored in journalism and political science in college, landed a few internships, finished in three years, and got a job right away in my field! I also never thought that I would end up in the toy industry!”
What’s your favorite part of this job?
“I really love writing toy reviews for Toy Insider and being part of a team that puts together gift guides to make sure kids have the best holidays ever! In terms of the magazines, I’ve always been an InDesign nerd. I love taking content, putting it on a page, and making it look really good and clean. Also, one of my pride and joys is running the Toy Insider’s Instagram [https://www.instagram.com/thetoyinsider/] page. I need to stop myself now, because that’s clearly more than one thing!”
What’s the coolest toy/game you’ve ever reviewed?
“I feel like I get asked this question so much, and it’s so hard to pick only one! Last holiday season, one of my favorites that I actually wrote a review for is the Meccano Meccanoid G15, from Spin Master. [http://www.thetoyinsider.com/meccanoid-g15-review/] I built this robot from scratch, programmed him, and got to see exactly how he works. Meccanoid is really one of the pioneer products for a giant tech-driven holiday season this year, including more advanced models and versions of it, drones that fly themselves, tech pets, and more. I can probably go on and on about all of the really cool toys kids will be putting on their wish lists in a few months!”
What advice can you give to individuals hoping to follow a similar path?
“Set a goal and do everything in your power to achieve it. Work hard and don’t make excuses. This will not be easy, and there will be a lot of sleepless nights, endless days, and times where it seems as though there isn’t enough coffee in the world. That just means you’re doing it right! Always do a little extra—people will notice this and gravitate toward you. Follow your passion and have an open mind.”