Lessons learned during my first year in PR
January marked my one year anniversary as an FFW Wonder Woman. It’s been an incredible first year. FFW has a lot of great fringe benefits to working here, from monthly lunches celebrating staff birthdays to an overflowing snack basket in the office, but I think my favorite thing is the remarkable environment in which we work. I’ve learned a lot during the last year and had some really incredible opportunities to do super cool things.
There were a lot of things I didn’t know about PR before I started here. Things like, it’s entirely possible to work for 14 hours in a pair of high heels and your feet won’t actually fall off, no matter how much it feels like they might. You will have wine and Doritos for dinner on occasion, probably more often than you care to admit. You’ll meet people six or seven times before either of you commit the other person’s name to memory. Sometimes that person might be the Mayor or a celebrity chef or a budding rock star.
I didn’t realize how addicted to checking Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Google alerts I would become. It’s not unusual for me to wake up in the middle of the night to check a client’s Twitter feed to make sure nothing new (or horrible) happened. I’ve become somewhat of an expert in everything from top level domain names to small businesses operating in downtown Las Vegas. Need a recommendation for a place to eat or grab a drink in DTLV? I’ve got you covered.
I’ve also learned that if you’re overseeing a photoshoot in a coffee shop you do not need to drink all the coffee being photographed so it doesn’t go to waste. I’ve learned that you don’t wear high heels to give a tour of the 18b Arts District, the sidewalks are uneven and you’ll likely turn an ankle. I’ve learned to keep a healthy stack of business cards on my person at all times and if not cards, then a pen and scrap paper to write down contact information in a pinch.
It’s a good idea to keep snacks in your purse in case a meeting/event runs late or starts early and you’re not able to eat a proper meal. (Almonds are super food. Carry them at all times.) You should own outfits suitable for all of the following: charity races, cocktail parties, Kentucky Derby luncheons, dodgeball tournaments, black tie weddings, magazine photo shoots and client dinners at upscale Italian restaurants. Sometimes you’ll need all of those in the same week. Find a good dry cleaner.
Mostly though, I’ve learned that the best thing you can do for yourself in this field is to ask. Ask for an introduction to someone new. Ask someone who knows more than you for help or just an extra set of eyes on that press release, accept advice and help from wherever you can get it. Ask for clarification from the client about what they want or need. Ask for more work, ask for new tasks and new responsibilities. Ask for a random Friday off if you’re able so you can take a break. Just ask. It’ll make you better at your job and it’ll make you a better person.
Working in PR has turned out to be so much more than I thought it would be.
But mostly the thing about wine and Doritos. That’s the big one.