One way to find out which PR environment you love and work best in is by trying it all during the “self-research” phase. Though I was lucky enough to experiment with PR in college it’s never to late to grab that hopefully-paid-internship to test the waters. Here’s the lay of the land of my experiences:
- Big Agency – This was the most enjoyable for me and needless to say where I am now. I like the big office, bigger teams working together toward smaller goals and working with really experienced people in various industries, the larger network of offices nationally, and the social environment. There is a sense of growth available at big agencies which is motivating for me and there is always something to do. Don’t get me wrong, until you get used to the people, culture, and environment it’s easy to feel like a small fish in a big pond. But once I found my place, swimming only became easier.
- Small Agency – This was indeed my second favorite because I felt like I got to do a lot more with my time, especially as an intern when I was drafting pitches and sitting in new business pitches all within the second week. My constant fear at small agencies is that there are fewer people working together who naturally become family – work and social life blend to one. Of course this sounds great, but what happens when you don’t get along with someone? #drama. #avoid.
- In-House – This was the most challenging for me since it was one client all day, every day. Sure I became an expert in the field but the client needs and pressure was constant. No down time ever. Some what felt like dealing with nagging mom, more more more. Do this and do it now. Endless access to my life and questions about everything I did. Also, speaking of blending work and social… there was no social. It became an endless circle of work. Not my cup of tea…at least not then.
- Non Profit – This was the most rewarding but the hardest to get results. Need a lot of patience to work in this environment since budget cuts could put projects on hold indefinitely and social media is almost taboo until you slowly show all the benefits of a social presence. It almost became a cycle of persistance and proving yourself. But, in the end, reaching goals felt so valuable and life changing.
Figuring out which PR environment you like is the easy part… determining what field of PR you like… well, that’s an endless story. Which environment do you prefer?
If I had a mirror to show me how my life would be as it is now on the west coast, I would need help from my long time bestie, the California PR girl. To change things up here is a little insight from an account coordinator from SF who works in hospitality PR… and then of course you have your daily tidbits from your NYC corporate consumer PR gal (me!) To help you figure out which side of the PR girl spectrum you fall on I introduce to you East Coast PR vs. West Coast PR Chat… Let the games begin.
What do you wear to work?
East: I mostly wear business casual with classic NY edge. Nothing beats a pencil skirt with your gold watch, perfect wedges and your big girl work bag during the day that transforms in to your city bag during the night (which I am on a complete mission to buying soon!)
West: My usual outfit is dark jeans, a cute botton-down or t-shirt, ankle boots and arm swag. Sometimes if I’m feeling fancy, I’ll pile on some rings.
What does the average PR day entail?
East: Average is not in my vocabulary. The only thing that is routine about my daily PR work life is that I push snooze at least twice. Oh and the average day usually ends after 6:30 pm. Hustle and Bustle baby.
West: This is what my average day looks like: I make some coffee, check and respond to emails, jump on conference calls, send pitches, tweet, flip through magazines, attend client and internal meetings, and read relevant food-centric newsletters.
Look out for more East Coast PR vs West Coast PR Chat to show you two different worlds with one mission: PR. If you have any questions for future PR Chats feel free to comment below or shoot us an email at email@example.com. Don’t forget to follow your calif PR girl on twitter (@rubinaj_) and show her some love xoxo
New York doesn’t get enough of the regular R&R but it get’s plenty of a different R&R: Rats and Roaches.
I have a serious fear of rodents. Yes, even dragonflys and lady bugs will involve some pushing and hollering. And to top that off you think you are safe at work… until you look up at the ceiling.. and there he is dangling by one foot about to fall on your desk. Naturally the above picture is an understatement.. It was a run, kick, shove to get out of my cube. The results: a bruised knee, a couple apologies to my cube mates (sorry again!!) and a sore neck from constantly looking up due to paranoia.
Here are my top tips to avoid R&R at the workplace:
- Clean up after yourself daily.. seriously, invest in some Clorox wipes and Lysol.
- Don’t keep food at your desk unless it is FULLY packaged. Sometimes I’m scared there will be a roach in my cereal.. so just take the natural and the unnatural precautions.
- Invest in an office cat to scare the rats. I’m all for this but will have work pretty hard to convince my managers.
Can you handle NY’s R&R? If so, can you teach me?
A part of creating a happy workplace is creating good relations with your team and enjoying their company, so naturally, it’s never easy saying farewell to a coworker as they embark on to a new journey – whether that be grad school, another agency or promotion they couldn’t say no to, or moving back home to be with loved ones. Seeing a coworker leave can change the entire atmosphere, making it pretty challenging to cope with. It’s even harder seeing people grab the “left overs” and calling dibs on the comfortable chair or organizer left behind. But worse of all, the growing fears of who will now occupy their cube and will we have to whisper when we talk about all the inappropriate ”what I did last night” stories.
After experiencing first hand, I realize there are few coping mechanisms:
- Stay Positive! Be happy for the new adventure your colleague has taken on instead of stressing on how you will possibly deal with all the work of two now on to one. And once you start taking on the extra work, you realize you can do it and self success is happiness on its own…
- Even though they are no longer a hop, skip and a jump away, you can continue to talk and stay in touch. Exchange cell phone numbers, personal email addresses, and twitter handles and share life stories through pictures on Instagram
- Celebrate new beginnings (as if we ever need a reason to celebrate more, but in case you do, here it is.) Take a toast for your colleague’s new adventures and then take another toast to starting over, to building new relationships, and new PR bridges.
- Say farewell! It’s hard to say goodbye but it’s even harder not saying it at all. Congratulate on the decisions they have made and let them know you really truly hope that the odds be ever in their favor ♥ ♥
Do you have any other coping mechanisms?
Weekends to the worker bees holds a magical place of promise, turning off your brain, enjoying the short break of 48 hours thinking of sweet nothings, taking in the full two day work detox… until you have to work on the weekend and you feel like everything you were taught in college is being tested.
Though working on the weekend is no one’s favorite thing to do, I’ve come to realize that working a couple hours on Sunday can have lasting benefits. For starters, no interruptions. No phone calls of urgent work due EOD, no one trying to schedule meetings, and no one to talk about Miley Cyrus’ engagement ring with. Just me and my research. And that alone guarantees productivity. Plus, I’d rather get in a few hours of work on the weekend than constantly stress about how much I will have to do Monday, which is a weekend buzz kill on its own. SO one measly hour, max 2, leads to less work and stress for the rest of the week which, trust me, is much healthier than screaming at your laptop on Monday mornings for being too slow and not giving good search results. So even if you have to talk yourself into it and keep reminding yourself of the benefits, work on a weekend can actually be more rewarding and not so bitterly annoying. After you survive work on the weekend you will feel like Harry Potter surviving Lord Voldemort
With that, I’m off to get in a couple hours of work…