A letter to oneself one year later – what I’ve learned working in PR

Dear Kate,

One year and four months has passed since you embarked on your career in the field of agency public relations, and boy, have you learned a lot! Congratulations.

Just for fun, here a few pointers and tips I wish I could have told you back when you first started:

  • Do not take anything personally. Do your job 110%. If anyone attacks you, questions your character or scolds you (and they will – just the “nature of the biz”), don’t take it to heart. It will just wear on you. If you know you do a good job daily and your firm stands behind you, be assured you will be A-OK.
  • Get a crystal ball. People will ask you to predict the future and ask why you didn’t know something that happened would happen. You have no other choice but to get a clear sphere of magic.
  • Get on Twitter! You will meet some highly respected thought-leaders in the field of communications, explore and benefit from many of their ideas and grow as a professional. Something called the PR Breakfast Club might even come out of it! More on this will come…
  • Ask questions!  Better to get something right the first time than to mess it up and re-do wasting clients’ time and money.
  • Do it all. While you are young with no husband or children to feed at home, go out to those networking events, meet new people. You will even land a client or two of your own out of it. Oh, you’re tired? Too bad. Remember, you love coffee.
  • Don’t ever get excited (well maybe that’s an exaggeration). Journalists might sound like they can definitely run an article on your client, but because of spacing issues, different schedules and other reasons, it won’t run. I’m not saying be a perpetual pessimist. Just be realistic with your own expectations so you in turn can do the same for clients.

Well, this really is a short list from all of the things you have learned over the last year. And you will learn so much more. Keep at it, kid!

Best,
Kate

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  • i <3 you Kate… fantastic post 'kid,' i needed this 5 years ago!!! All valuable, even if cheeky, advice that is key to a sound personal baseline of emotion in this roller coaster of a business service industry… what's next then for year 2? and beyond? Get that crystal ball workin'!

  • I'm with Alex – I also love this post Kate! It is so important not to take things personal. I used to do that and it is terrible! I am a big believer in asking questions. However, my former supervisor taught me that you can ask too many questions. Sometimes if you think about the possible answer to a question you are about to ask, you already know the answer! Great tips Kate 🙂

  • Totally agree with you here, Chevis! Thanks for making that point. As the intern coordinator here, I’ve seen interns ask questions they already knew the answer to. You must display confidence, drive and self-determination. There is such a thing as too many questions.

  • KreeBeau

    Kate as I mentioned on Twitter this is a great post! One thing that cracks me up is 6 years into this business I am just starting to learn some of these lessons now – in particular “don't take things personally.” I feel like my real problem with this is an experience can differ where and who you work with. I think my note to myself would remind me some people are just mean but for that one debbie-downer there are 10 other people rooting you on wishing you success.

  • beccameyers

    This is why I appreciate you guys. You are team players. This info is really helpful to newcomers. I cant stand the people who think “I had to figure it out on my own so you can” types, but in a spiteful and very unhelpful way. I always try to give as much advice and info to newbies as possible. Yea some things should be left for them to figure out but other things should just be told. Like how to make a list instead of waiting 3 hours for them to not figure it out and then you have to end up telling them anyway! Or how to scan something to the desktop from the machine across the room…Not that that has happened to me or anything… 🙂

  • Nice post, Kate. As someone who's trying to break into PR, these are useful tips to keep in mind. Sure, some of them are things I already knew (or assumed), but it's always nice to get affirmation from someone who has already been there.

    That said, I have a crystal ball on my x-mas wish list. 🙂

    @abschoff

  • Thanks Kristen! That’s a perfect way to keep it all in perspective. If I ever get a ‘tude or yelled at by someone, I always remember we are all working a lot more with a lot less resources. Times are tough and people can get testy. Still doesn’t ever give an excusable reason for rudeness…but you never know how someone’s day is going. We can’t take it personally.

  • kathyhokunson

    Kate-
    Great post, you are wise beyond your years “kiddo”. You have tuned into some excellent guiding principles early in your career. I dusted off my crystal ball and it predicts amazing things for you!

  • Nice post. Kate, if you get that crystal ball, please let me know so I can borrow it.

  • Great post Kate! I can't agree more with what you've said. Working on my third year in the field and I still learn the lessons every day.

  • Great post Kate! I can't agree more with what you've said. Working on my third year in the field and I still learn the lessons every day.

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