I liked their first album, but they sold out….
News reaches us that Millets has sold out of Eurohike rucksacks, which can mean only one thing.
Those with pallid complexion and rising inflection are off on a well-earned 12 month round-the-world trip to recover from three years of burning a hole in their parents’ savings. A 2:2 from a second rate former-Polytechnic doesn’t come cheap these days, even when you can only drink a half pint of weak cider before puking.
But the poor unfortunates that didn’t have to surgically remove a silver spoon from their mouth before smoking their first joint, on the other hand, will have to forgo the pleasure of irritating the locals in Indonesian. Debts, and a wardrobe that would feel at home in Sue Ryder, means they will have to get a job and it’ll probably be a rude awakening.
Aside from having to be somewhere by 9:00 in the morning, the biggest shock is likely to be the horrible realisation that their degree is little more than an unconfident tap at the door of employment. Being widely regarded as a pain in the arse that’s going to need training is usually a bit of a surprise as well.
Although TWL is as utterly ambivalent towards fresh graduates as anyone else, it is quite an intimidating transition from the left-leaning Thespian environment of tertiary education to the high-pressured for-profit-only mindset of office life. So, for those that are considering a career in PR, TWL offers a couple of pointers:
1. PR is long-hours, hard work and very pressurised
2. With that in mind, salaries feel lower than they should be
3. But it’s a challenging, fun, young industry and rewarding in many different ways
Without a bit of nepotism, fresh graduates are likely to start their PR career in an agency.
Those early years scar you for life, so keep your fingers crossed you end up somewhere at least half-reasonable.
The big agencies break you in gently, provide a more structured environment and some decent training. There are also lots of other PR people to learn from, so at least some of them should be good (they will be the really busy ones that still make time for you - those that are just really busy are bullshiters, and those that spend lots of time with you because they have nothing else to do simply aren’t very good). The large agencies are better at the strategy side of PR and have clients you’ve heard of. But if they talk too much about client relationships, the agency probably isn’t very good at getting results.
Big agencies also molly-coddle their clients, so don’t expect to do anything too important for a while. And be careful about getting pigeon-holed as a general office junior, otherwise you’ll still be on £20K in three years.
If you like a sink or swim environment, small agencies (5-15 people) will give you fantastic levels of responsibilities and – if it’s a good one – put lots of effort into on-the-job training. You’ll be sharper at selling-in stories and media relations, but you’ll rarely get a chance to do any proper strategy or planning and you’ll have a jumble of two-bit clients that expect the Earth for their £7.40 a month retainer.
Mid-size agencies, as you might guess, are a mix of the two. Try to make sure you join one that has the best of both worlds (good strategy, strong media relations and decent clients), as a mis-mash of all the worst bits will have you changing career before Christmas.
Ultimately, of course, you probably won’t have a choice. Just getting a job is tricky enough so don’t be too precious. You’re only in your early 20s, you won’t get to retire until you’re 70. You’ve got plenty of time to carve out a career. Truth is, it’s only work and it’s not really that exciting. In fact, are you sure you can’t scrape together some cash and go round the world for a year….