Monday, June 14, 2010

PR not ER

We had an intern in the office last week - the son of a good friend, and a lovely young man. I say man, he was 15, with a confidence that belied his years (is this the case with all teenagers these days? Is it just my age?!) and a great attitude towards work and life in general. Something that young people in this region could learn a lot from. Anyway, I digress.

It fell to me to sort his schedule, and it got me thinking back to the days when I did work experience. Mine was mainly journalism based - the Jersey Evening Post, Island Eye (a short-lived weekly freebie) and then in later life, and on a more permanent, if unpaid basis, the Sheffield Star. I was never one of those teenagers who didn't know what they wanted to do. I only ever wanted to be a journalist. My degree was in journalism. And then somehow I ended up in PR. How?

Back in those days (ha ha) PR was in its infancy. It certainly wasn't a well-know career choice - unlike now where every 12 year old or 21 year old that I interview seems to want a PR job. When I ask them why, they can't articulate it. At best they come out with some clap-trap about 'being good with people'. There's no understanding of the fundamental skills needed such as writing, and don't get me stated on strategy, new business, pitching, handling clients etc etc.

I think I fell into PR as seemed to have a lot of transferable skills: writing, interviewing, and a strong news sense (or nosiness you could say). If I’d known then what I know now about just how hard it was going to be, would I have made that choice? Hard to say.

For the most, I enjoy my job – just as well as I’m not really equipped to do anything else. In an ideal world I’d be a zoo keeper or veterinary nurse (in no way influenced by Frank Harvarde’s very hot vet back in Manchester, honest) but the amount of studying needed, combined with pitiful salaries has always ruled out those options. So for now, I’ll keep slogging away at the coal face. But there are times when I think longingly back to those early work experience days, and wonder…what if…

1 comment:

Running in (designer) heels... said...

I'm so glad I'm not the only one trying to explain to people that PR is actually bloody hard work and not as it looks on the movies (all the time!)... My Sister wants to do her work experience with me because she thinks it would be 'fun to work in PR and go to parties every night' (thanks to Samantha from SATC).