The number one question I get when I turn the it over to job applicants is a variation of why I’ve stayed with SHIFT this long (I completed – gasp – 10 years this week). The short answer is it’s equal parts culture, opportunity, flexibility, mentors and team members. It’s hard not to sound like a cliché when I say the past 10 years at SHIFT have flown by. I liked SHIFT enough that when I moved to New York from Boston, I worked from my apartment for a few months until we officially opened our doors in December 2009.
The bottom line is no matter what stage of your career you’re in or how long you’ve stayed at your current organization, you can make a difference. From Account Coordinator to Account Director, here’s what I’ve done to keep it fresh, after all these years. If you have more ideas, please leave a comment!
Earn Management’s Respect
You won’t get very far in an organization if you’re only looking out for your own interests. Sure, winning new business and maintaining a profitable team requires talent and chops. But in my experience, striving to innovate, sharing ideas proactively, collaborating with peers to solve problems and thinking ahead so the organization benefits makes a long term impression. In turn, when you need them, management will bat for you.
Excel at ‘One’ Thing
This is a toughie. Even though we may specialize in health, fashion, or tech PR, as PR pros we’re programmed and encouraged to be a jack of all trades. From my first client (drug-testing product at construction sites) to the clients I represent today, I’ve touched more industries than I can attempt to count. At the end of the day, what makes you valuable to an organization? What are you passionate about? Ask yourself that question and start developing your brand. I love problem solving and getting teams and RFPS organized, so that’s where I focus most of my energy.
Don’t Stop Reading
This isn’t new. But you will get stuck in a rut. Your clients will ask you to keep turning up the heat on creativity. They want to know you still feel as passionately about their brand today as the day you pitched and won their business. Read. Connect the dots. Success will follow.
Learn from Your Junior Team
As you climb the ladder, you can get removed from the tasks that gave you sleepless nights when you first started out. Any junior employee who’s missed a speaking or editorial calendar deadline that was a shoe–in knows what I’m talking about. But things have changed. PR is so different now than it was 10 years ago. Sure we still track for deadlines but the sheer number of apps and platforms that bubble to the surface threatening to be the next big thing could potentially make or break your client. Your junior team is in the know. They want to be heard. Tap them frequently for ideas. Ask them what apps they’re using. Chances are, they’re using it before it hits mainstream press. There’s nothing as fulfilling as seeing a random idea executed and a team member and client who’re both equally thrilled.