I’ve now gotten two months under my belt at the new PR job, and the verdict is in: I was born to do publicity.
Based on what I know about the responsibilities associated with working in public relations, I figure I’ve had the requisite experience all my life. Let’s break it down:
- Knowledge of media outlets: I’ve been reading since I was three and watching TV just as long. I remember all sorts of crazy shit about TV shows, movies, magazines, books, you name it. If there’s a pop culture angle, I’m on it.
- Ability to connect with people: I connect with people constantly – on the bus/train, in the grocery store, in Target, at Starbucks. I am always yammering about something.
- Excellent oral skills: If my marathon phone and IM conversations with T-Wizzle are any indication of my chattiness, then yeah, I got skills.
- Writing skills: I’ve been writing since I could hold a pen. I’ve written soap operas for my Barbie dolls (which gets interesting when you have at least 6 Barbies and only 2 Kens), poems, short stories, feature articles, product reviews, a nearly completed screenplay (I think that is the law in LA County: everyone must have at least one script in progress). You get the point.
- Quick thinking: T-Wizzle pointed out recently that I keep trying to portray myself as a slow, methodical thinker, but that I’m much more snappy and spontaneous. She’s right – I am a quick-thinking kind of girl. Give me a latte and I can cogitate at Mach 10 speeds.
- Crisis management: In junior high, a friend and I cleaned up some graffiti in the girls’ bathroom – not because we did it, but because the vice principal had insisted we would have to use the kindergarteners’ bathroom until someone fessed up. I got angry and impatient, convinced my friend to help, and within a couple days we got our bathroom privileges back. Then in high school, a huge waterbug appeared in the girls’ locker room after P.E. I looked up to see that everyone had left the room. I assessed the bug, stepped on it, then yelled, “It’s dead, you can come back now.” The girls filed back in as if nothing had happened.
This job has stretched me and challenged me in ways I could have never expected, and yet it all comes pretty easily once I stop thinking, “Oh crap, can I do this?” I’ve never worked harder, and I’ve never felt better about my achievements. I have a sense of ownership that I never had working for magazines. I can put my inner rebel to work by taking on a challenge to get coverage in a particular outlet – and believe me, I’ve set some big goals for myself. Already I’ve gotten some pretty sweet placements for my clients, which makes my boss happy and makes me feel like King Kong. I don’t mind working on projects during my off-hours – I don’t do it all the time, but when it’s in my flow, I actually enjoy it.
I work with several interns that are fresh out of college. Working with them has been a learning experience as I attempt to put aside my judgments about Generation Y. They occasionally look to me at times for guidance, and one intern asked me if I’d be her mentor. In my head I feel as young and inexperienced and fresh as they appear to me, so it’s still a little bit of a shock to have them ask for help, work assignments or general advice on life. In other moments I hear them carry on about relationships, financial struggles and other drama, and I want to tell them, “You’re young, don’t sweat this.” But I shut up as much as possible, because I know the only way they will figure it all out is through personal experience.
So there it is: I found my calling, and it’s in PR. Sometimes I feel a little sad that it took me so freakin’ long to get here, but the reality is that I needed to go through all my other work experiences in order to truly be ready for this role. And ultimately, I can be with that.