Today is my work-iversary at Tecmark. 12 months ago to the date, I was a timid (and not afraid to admit it) final year student walking through the doors of Portland Street for the very first time. Not really knowing what to expect. One thing I didn’t expect and never could have comprehended though is that just one year down the line I’d be walking through these very same doors as an actual PR account executive.
From an intern to an executive
I’m not usually one for self-gloating and I’m far from conceited, but in this instance, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t proud of myself. I’ve gone from asking on my first day how to turn the Mac on, to running my own campaigns, handling my own clients and learning so much about Public Relations, outreach, SEO, social media and digital marketing combined in just 12 months.
My own drive to learn and succeed, combined with the incredible expertise of my team and their willingness to train me has helped me to do so much more in my job than I ever originally imagined. In fact, PR is just one of the things I do at work now. Though by appointment, I’m classified as a Digital PR & Outreach Executive, I also manage a whole range of other tasks revolving around SEO and content marketing.
But enough of the self-credit, I’m actually starting to cringe a little now. Let’s move on to some things that I’ve learned from my first year in the PR industry.
My year in PR
I recently wrote a post about things you can expect from your first job in PR. So I’m going to stay away from repeating myself there. Instead, here’s my reflection on a successful year. The lessons I’ve learned, the challenges I’ve overcome and the things I’ve realised along the way.
It was so, so worth it
The 5am get ups and the 13-hour days when I was commuting from my hometown to work did have me questioning whether this whole affair was worth it. I mean, I’m always one for putting in effort and going that extra mile (or extra 70 in this case), but spending the most part of your time, 5 days out of 7 a week, commuting and working can certainly put a strain on you.
This is when I realised, however, that going to work doesn’t really feel like work to me. I love my job and thoroughly enjoy the hours I spend there. I mean the miles I travelled every day speak for themselves in that respect. I’m a big fan of the saying “find a job you love and you’ll never work a day in your life” because it couldn’t ring more true to me right now.
My learning didn’t end at university
The saying “you learn something new every day” is so cliché, but it truly should be trademarked on PR. Whether it’s to do with your actual job or one of your clients – you’re going to obtain heaps of knowledge before you know it in this job.
Not only do I pick up a great number of weird and wonderful facts and figures on the daily, but I’ve also learned so much in the past year about this industry and beyond. I didn’t know what SEO even stood for 12 months ago, but now – I could talk to you about it for hours. This goes for plenty of other areas too, including PR. I had a university-standard knowledge of the subject, but nobody tells you just how dissimilar university-knowledge and industry-knowledge actually is. A year ago I could quote you countless PR academics, but tell you nothing about how to build a relationship with a journalist or run a great campaign. Now, I can confidently do both.
I should have avoided comparing myself to others
I don’t know why I do it, but still, to this day I always end up making myself feel inadequate compared to other PR-people. Bloggers in particular. I’m actively trying to overcome this as I begin to realise that comparisons are pointless as you should always be your own person and be happy with who that is.
On reflection though, this has been a really big thing to me this past year and definitely worth bringing up when looking back. In my early months at Tecmark, I felt as though I’d never be as good as some of the great people there. I really did feel like giving up, thinking I’d never be able to possess their confidence or creativity. Little did I know, however, that all I needed was time to blossom and to find myself in this industry. I’ve realised now that I don’t need to be a mirror image of anyone. As long as I’m doing my job well, while remaining true to myself then that’s all that really matters. It took me a long time to be able to say that – but it’s good to finally (and truly) feel it.
I got there in the end
I’m meant to be reflecting my past year, but I suddenly feel compelled to time travel right back to 2013, when I first started sixth form. 16 year old me soon felt as though she didn’t belong there, and would never be able to cope with A-Levels.
It wasn’t far from the truth, to be honest. I didn’t do great in my A-Levels, I’m never ashamed to say that because of the things I’ve gone on to achieve after them.
The past 5 years or so have been filled with doubtfulness and uncertainty. I’ve endured such big changes in my life and have roller-coasted through various emotions. Looking back on the past year (and those before it too) though, I can finally say ‘I got there’. I’ve landed myself in a great role as a fresh graduate. And that’s thanks in no small part to the hard work I’ve put in over these last 12 months.
It’s gratifying to say it; the last year of my life has no doubt been one of the most challenging. But sitting here now I can confidently say that everything I’ve been through was absolutely and undoubtedly worth it. And I wouldn’t have changed a thing.
A big, no a huge, thanks to my friends, family, boyfriend, tutors and colleagues for helping me out every single step of the way. Putting up with me when they’ve had to and always encouraging me to better myself. I’d never be in the place I am today if it wasn’t for you guys, so thank you so much.
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