Cocktails, Cats and Continuous ‘To-Dos’ – a fortnight with a PR agency

Intern Programme

My first two weeks at and award-winning Scottish PR agency

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By Jane Blackhall

AFTER working for a bit of a PR “Mad Hatter” for a short time last year, which involved little sleep and even littler time off, I arrived at Holyrood PR on Easter Monday wondering where my journey down the rabbit hole was going to take me this time.

With my first day catching the tail end of Easter weekend I did get the feeling everyone was in holiday mode and shortly after the first of my morning meetings with the team an email was sent round by Brian, Account Director, that read “we’re going to aim to finish at 3pm” but ominously finished with “Jane- this isn’t normal by the way!”

And so it proved! I’ve been so kept so busy I couldn’t event write a blog for my first week in the job and, as a result, this post is actually covering the first fortnight.

Before coming to Holyrood PR I have to admit that I had been a lady of leisure of late; who was probably lunching, brunching, lounging and ‘late-nighting’ a bit too much and for a bit too long.

With two degrees behind me I may be making myself sound rather like I loved being a perpetual student – I did – but I am also no stranger to the big bad world of work having worked all the way through study and at managerial level. Only in the last year have I slowed down and thought hard about a possible career path.

My previous PR experience has been in entertainment where it was easy to get swept up in the ‘glamour’; attending events, shows and ‘schmoozing’ the people who needed to be ‘schmoozed’ without ever getting to peek behind the curtain to see how the cogs in the machine really worked.

I came in knowing what a press release was and its purpose, and the importance of media coverage in relation to how well a PR agency performed for its clients but I didn’t really know how things were measured, in terms of PR as a viable product. Something I’ve already been learning in my first week and the lingo that comes with it.

I’ve quickly gotten used to the routine morning meeting where tasks and ‘to-do’ lists for each member of the team are generated.The team appear to bounce wonderfully off one another and ideas are generated quickly and abundantly with everyone having an input.

The morning meeting serves also a chance to discuss, as a group, any other important issues – occasionally including someone’s impending holiday, weekend plan or this week the pressing issue of the Grand National office sweepstake.

On my second day in, in the morning meeting I was told I was already being afforded a day off, with the team spending the day training– this news again finished with “this isn’t normal by the way!”

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That’s definitely not to say I haven’t been busy, I have. Blog ideas have been generated, uploads have been uploaded and media coverage written. In fact this very blog piece has been finding itself being pushed further and further down my own ‘to-do’ list. Now writing it already well into my second week, my first ending with a few cocktails at staff drinks.

My second week being no different in that I’ve had a variety of tasks which have kept me preoccupied. I’ve been busy uploading more content to the company website and drafting, redrafting and finalising a press release about cats, and what a clients Very Sheltered Housing development has been doing for them.

I’ve even had a little glamour thrown in, attending a restaurant refurbishment party where a few more cocktails were had.

I’ve found the work enlightening and enjoyable and although still ploughing through a sector analysis report I started last week I have to admit the most daunting task I’ve faced so far has been what to wear on dress down Friday.

I’m looking forward to seeing what the rest of my time here has in store. Maybe more cats? Let’s hope its more cocktails…

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