Flack In Training – Volume I

By now, it goes without saying: The college graduates of 2009 had the extreme misfortune of graduating into the worst economy in decades.  Not only are they competing with their fellow classmates for jobs, they’re also going up against professionals who should be further along in their careers, but are being forced to apply for entry-level jobs due to lack of anything else.  This recession has taken the image of starry-eyed post-grads with their entire, exciting lives ahead of them and turned it into a picture of desperate young adults taking on part-time positions just to make some money.  It’s incredibly scary and disheartening.
Why do I care so much about this unfortunate state of affairs?  I’m one of those poor graduates—my four years at New York University ended in May.  Up until a week before graduation, I thought I was the luckiest girl with a communications degree in New Jersey (maybe even New York too).  Despite the terrible economy, I had managed to secure a full-time job with the small public relations firm that I had been interning at for the past year.  As an added bonus, the offices were less than 10 minutes from my house and I was going to be making more money than I thought was possible in entry-level PR.  What a surprise—it was all too good to be true.  The company lost some important clients in a short amount of time, and they regrettably had to let me know that they couldn’t take me on full time. Gone were my dreams of Tory Burch flats, my very own iPhone, and an unreasonable amount of Juicy Couture.
I’m not writing this to make you feel bad for me for missing out on all those terrific things.  I recently got hired at a terrific and exciting agency in Manhattan, so things are definitely looking up.  Instead, I want to offer you my perspective—it’s an understanding and sympathizing one. I know there are many more of you out there just like me.  I wanted to start my column on PR Breakfast Club called F.I.T.: Flack in Training, so I could take all the other recent college graduates (and anyone struggling in the industry) along with me on my journey to becoming a full-fledged PR professional.  I spent the entire summer searching for a position in PR, so I have a lot to say about the process.  Additionally, I’m hoping to learn a ton about the industry and my profession from my new job.  I think it’ll be interesting to explore the unique position I’m in as someone who is entering the business at a time when PR is going through some major changes, including the growing importance of social media and the struggles of most print media.  I’m definitely looking forward to writing Flack In Training, and I can’t wait to hear all of your thoughts and opinions.

By now, it goes without saying: The college graduates of 2009 had the extreme misfortune of graduating into the worst economy in decades.  Not only are they competing with their fellow classmates for jobs, they’re also going up against professionals who should be further along in their careers, but are being forced to apply for entry-level jobs due to lack of anything else.  This recession has taken the image of starry-eyed post-grads with their entire, exciting lives ahead of them and turned it into a picture of desperate young adults taking on part-time positions just to make some money.  It’s incredibly scary and disheartening.

Why do I care so much about this unfortunate state of affairs?  I’m one of those poor graduates—my four years at New York University ended in May.  Up until a week before graduation, I thought I was the luckiest girl with a communications degree in New Jersey (maybe even New York too).  Despite the terrible economy, I had managed to secure a full-time job with the small public relations firm that I had been interning at for the past year.  As an added bonus, the offices were less than 10 minutes from my house and I was going to be making more money than I thought was possible in entry-level PR.  What a surprise—it was all too good to be true.  The company lost some important clients in a short amount of time, and they regrettably had to let me know that they couldn’t take me on full time. Gone were my dreams of Tory Burch flats, my very own iPhone, and an unreasonable amount of Juicy Couture.

I’m not writing this to make you feel bad for me for missing out on all those terrific things.  I recently got hired at a terrific and exciting agency in Manhattan, so things are definitely looking up.  Instead, I want to offer you my perspective—it’s an understanding and sympathizing one. I know there are many more of you out there just like me.  I wanted to start my column on PR Breakfast Club called F.I.T.: Flack in Training, so I could take all the other recent college graduates (and anyone struggling in the industry) along with me on my journey to becoming a full-fledged PR professional.  I spent the entire summer searching for a position in PR, so I have a lot to say about the process.  Additionally, I’m hoping to learn a ton about the industry and my profession from my new job.  I think it’ll be interesting to explore the unique position I’m in as someone who is entering the business at a time when PR is going through some major changes, including the growing importance of social media and the struggles of most print media.  I’m definitely looking forward to writing Flack In Training, and I can’t wait to hear all of your thoughts and opinions.

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  • Great post, Jess! It is a crazy time in our economy and even more so in world history – we haven't seen economic data (though it's improving – thank gawd) like this in decades. As a result of some volunteer work I do with recent college grads and seasoned professionals looking for work, I know exactly what you're talking about. It's tough out there. And once you get a job in these times, you have to work extra hard to keep it. There are so many waiting in the wings to scoop up the job you've worked so hard to get. It'll be great to hear your advice to new grads on how to make sure to keep that job once they've won it. Really looking forward to this column – and to going shopping with you to get those tory burch flats and juicy couture everything in a few months!

  • jeffespo

    Great post Jess. I think the FIC column will be a good one for you to not only to hash through the trials and tribulations of your first year, but can also show some of the inner workings of what really goes on in PR. Similar to a spot I did with MTVU (do they even still exist?) during my time in Baltimore (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l99X4dacTYM)

  • heatherdueitt

    I commend you for your persistence during this tough time frame. Some of the young pups I mentor through my alumni get frustrated and move careers paths. You will do amazing things in the years to come. 🙂 Good luck with the new job next week.

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  • Disqus Ain't Workin! Congrats on the new Job & new Column Jess! Looking Forward to Reading – AND I'm still waiting on the guest post you promised me ages ago…. 🙂

  • Disqus Ain't Workin! Congrats on the new Job & new Column Jess! Looking Forward to Reading – AND I'm still waiting on the guest post you promised me ages ago…. 🙂

  • Great post, Jess! It is a crazy time in our economy and even more so in world history – we haven't seen economic data (though it's improving – thank gawd) like this in decades. As a result of some volunteer work I do with recent college grads and seasoned professionals looking for work, I know exactly what you're talking about. It's tough out there. And once you get a job in these times, you have to work extra hard to keep it. There are so many waiting in the wings to scoop up the job you've worked so hard to get. It'll be great to hear your advice to new grads on how to make sure to keep that job once they've won it. Really looking forward to this column – and to going shopping with you to get those tory burch flats and juicy couture everything in a few months!

  • jeffespo

    Great post Jess. I think the FIC column will be a good one for you to not only to hash through the trials and tribulations of your first year, but can also show some of the inner workings of what really goes on in PR. Similar to a spot I did with MTVU (do they even still exist?) during my time in Baltimore (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l99X4dacTYM)

  • heatherdueitt

    I commend you for your persistence during this tough time frame. Some of the young pups I mentor through my alumni get frustrated and move careers paths. You will do amazing things in the years to come. 🙂 Good luck with the new job next week.

  • Disqus Ain't Workin! Congrats on the new Job & new Column Jess! Looking Forward to Reading – AND I'm still waiting on the guest post you promised me ages ago…. 🙂

  • Disqus Ain't Workin! Congrats on the new Job & new Column Jess! Looking Forward to Reading – AND I'm still waiting on the guest post you promised me ages ago…. 🙂