Month One

Well, I completely flew by my one-month anniversary of agency life. Taking a deep breath, I thought I’d provide a little bit of a retrospective of that month.

The most difficult aspect of this time has been pairing my education and experience with the realities of what faces me as I sit in my office on a day-to-day basis. There shouldn’t be a disconnect, but somehow there is. People hand me things or ask me to fulfill requests and I have hesitated. Looking back on it, I can clearly see that I have been properly trained, I was just apprehensive about performing a task for which I’m getting paid as opposed to graded. So, what, I can pay to make mistakes, but don’t want to make them when I’m getting paid? Sounds about right.

But it’s more than that. My reputation is on the line. I have a sincere desire to please my employers and supervisors with my work. I have a vested interest in not getting fired. In case you didn’t know, Ohio is one of those at-will states. So they can fire me at will. Ever hear a movie line where the captain of a vessel (boat, submarine, space ship) yells, “fire at will!”? They weren’t talking about a guy named Will; they were campaigning for easier ways to fire people.

And since I now spend so much time in the car, I can really dive deep into the podcasting world and continue to learn more from the loquacious of our field. These individuals take the time to share their knowledge with anyone who wants to listen. Social media is a beautiful thing, not sure exactly what the benefit to some of the podcasters and bloggers is, but for me it’s invaluable. I have really grown to enjoy the chats with the Better Desirable Roasted Communications team of Jenkins and Hopkins. Lee, best of luck to you in your new venture, by the way. I’m wishing you the best.

And am still completely addicted to the dynamic duo at For Immediate Release, of course. But as agency life progresses, I find myself gaining more and more value from Inside PR. Even though they’re a couple of Canucks, I really find their discussions on life on the agency side fascinating and hugely relevant to my life. So thanks Terry and David for the excellent work. Thanks, also, for addressing my insecurities about hockey and the Habs. I wasn’t upset that you used the word, I was upset because you assumed no one listening would know what it meant. I mean, I know you have a huge following in Indonesia, but people in the States know a thing or two about puck. Well, the cool ones.
So if you haven’t gotten into podcasts yet, you must. My only regret is that I only have so much time in the car a week. I have to limit what I can listen to. New people keep podcasting and I’m having trouble fitting it in. However, if Shel and Neville get the FIR podcast down from 90 minutes to 60 or so – I might be able to squeeze a few more in there. Paull and Donna , I’m listening, I really am. Brian, Mitch, you’re on deck. Oh the agony of it.

Happy belated one month to me, I’m looking to so many more. PR rocks.

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14 Responses

  1. Well done Mr Armour.

    I definately hear where you’re coming from about adjusting to doing things for real and not for grades.

    I’m glad you’ve put my podcasting efforts in the illustrious company of FIR, the Comms Cafe, Inside PR and Donna though!

  2. congratulations on your first month. i totally agree with the disconnect between what you’re trained to do and what you’re asked to do. my first month was spent making media lists, maintaining ed cals, cutting and mounting clippings. then there was the delivering of 9 4ft high helium filled balloons around london.

    it does get better though. all i can offer in terms of advice is that you should stay enthusiastic and positive all the time and when you get a chance to show off your creativity and other skills, let ’em have it!

    Ed

  3. Luke,
    congrats to a successful entry into working life. Don’t get too hung up about avoiding mistakes. You WILL make mistakes and you are allowed to make mistakes, mistakes are your friend, because you learn from them. Just make each one only once!
    Cheers
    Sab
    (I didnt forget the FIR lick, just havent found the time to record it yet..lame me)

  4. A few words on starting out. Make contacts, contacts, contacts and don’t lose touch. Your pals at agency one will be pals at agencies 3,4 and 5 in just a few years…amazing for career development, recruiting leads, client referals and so on. Do the same with your clients. It’s amazing how much people move around and you want to be there when they do.

    Finally, find a mentor and learn from them. It doesn’t have to be formal. Just watch someone that really impresses you and do what they do. But just as importantly find an anti-mentor. Watch what they do and make a pact to yourself that you’ll never do what they do.

    Good luck.

  5. Paull: don’t flatter yourself, it was an accident.

    Ed: “9 4ft high helium filled balloons” oh, there’s a story there. I hear what you’re saying, but luckily my first month has had more than just typical entry-level work. I was part of the team from day one, involved in so much. Thanks for the kind words.

    Sebastian: Great advice. I’ve heard that before, and it makes sense, but taking that risk to make those mistakes is a hard step to take. Take your time with the music, I’m swamped anyway!

    David: Wow. Thank you. That is invaluable advice. Unfortunately I’ve already run across a few anti-mentors who have taught me A LOT. Mentors, too, but the anti-mentors really stick with you…

  6. Hey Luke, congrats on surviving the agency world for a month! Sounds like you’re doing just fine. In the end, common sense and the right attitude will carry you most of the way. Trust yourself. Also make sure your more senior colleagues know when you’re open so they can pass you the puck. You want the puck. Thanks for your kind words and for listening. (I doubt there are many, if any, differences between agency life in U.S. and north of the 49th.)

  7. Luke:

    Congratulations from me as well on your one-month anniversary. Now you may not feel like you’re keeping up with podcasts, but I seem to hear and read your contributions all over the place 🙂 Keep up what I know is great work!

    And count me as another Yank who DID know who the Habs were. The Boston Bruins (from my hometown of Boston) and Les Canadiens have had many a batle over the years.

  8. Hey tiger!

    Congrats on the first month — and an especially big THANK YOU for the comments on our chat!

  9. Terry: I love a good hockey analogy, thank you. Made my day. keep up the good work yourselves – we’re listening.

    Bryan: Another hockey fan, excellent. Thanks for the comment. I’m not as intrusive as I used to be, but still hanging on.

    Lee: Worth every word. Keep it up.

  10. Luke, Keep your sense of perspective, it’ll be valuable in the months ahead. And I encourage you to keep in mind the Grant Blum rule of life. Grant was a reporter I worked with at one of my first jobs. He rubbed his hands together with glee whenever he got wind of a good story. If you cannot rub your hands together with glee when a good assignment comes along, you’ll know you are in the wrong place.

    Chris

  11. As I am so horrifically late in congratulating you on the end of your first month (and it sounds as if you are off to a flying start), may I be the first to congratulate you on the end of your second month?

  12. Luke, congratulations on your first month. I admire the way in which you have looked back and contemplated your experience so far. Full-time employment certainly IS an adjustment. As David has commented, continue to network! You seem to be very good at it. ;-))

    All the best,
    Donna
    PS Thanks for listening.

  13. i totally agree with you on the benefits of social media. however, out of curiosity, do you think that the advancement of everything will ultimately lead to invading peoples and organizations privacy?

  14. Beau,
    That’s an interesting thought, yet unclear. I do think privacy issues are becoming more and more prevalent as technology becomes more sophisticated. Just Google “Google” and their recent acquisitions are already raising eyebrows across the blogosphere and mainstream media regarding privacy. It will be a problem. The social side of media? Yeah, it can be a problem, as we’ve seen in some unfortunate cases, but we all need to remember that blogging and podcasting is a very public action, as I wrote before more than once. Write, Think, THEN Post.

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