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Monthly Archives: April 2014

Time Keeps on Slippin,’ or the Perils of PR

Well, one semester of school is down, with another on its way, and it’s time to reflect a bit. To me, a reflection asks for an honest collection of my thoughts. As such, there will be some rambling in this piece
First, something immediately relevant from the last week or so. Apparently, I should be getting involved in political volunteering somehow. Not only did Mississauga mayoral hopeful Louroz Mercader stress this when he guest lectured a class, but so did one of the guest speakers at the last CPRS networking event. However, my initial reaction was “with what time?” That still stands. I look at the prompting for political volunteering, and I look at the people in the program involved in Project Fusion, and I genuinely wonder how they do it. Perhaps it’s my weekend employment causing the problem (and I must get paid), but even then, there genuinely does not seem to be enough hours in a day for me to do much in the way of extracurricular activities. How is it done? And this question comes from someone who counts time management among their strengths, hence my vexation.
Next semester seems like it’s still going to be intense even with the day off, which I’m sure I’ll need to get my homework done. But there’s one thing I’d like to stress: I don’t hate the workload. I’ve always felt comfortable when busy, and my frantic job hunt after my Journalism education (or College 1.0, as I’ve been calling it) proved how uneasy I felt being idle. I’ve always liked the productivity and purpose that comes with being busy. However, it’s the nagging sensation that it’s not enough, and that I should be doing more than the work I’m already throwing myself into that bothers me. I look at the job on LinkedIn I’m applying for in my Professional Practise course, and I see over 200 applicants, and I realize I have to do more to stand out. Is that volunteering the “something more?” Am I supposed to will hours into existence in order to get a leg up on those other applicants?
This brings me to a another thing I’ve noticed, which my most recent CPRS event once again underscored: I’m being told by multiple authority figures in this profession to take some time to find a thing I enjoy doing. This is strange to me, as when I worked (or rather, attempted to work) in journalism, I found it supremely difficult to find any jobs at all, and this was partially chalked up to a generally lethargic youth job market. Now I’m being told to pick and choose both my placement and my career carefully, and it sounds like a strange, foreign concept to someone who just wants reliable, paying work. The advice seems to be predicated on the fact that there’s high employability in the CCPR field, but the memories of my time as a journalism expat leave me weary of such promises, especially since, once again, there’s those 200 applicants for that writer/editor job on LinkedIn. So, what’s the truth of the matter?
But there’s things I’ve picked up on that are not all abstract workload and career business. If there’s one area I’ve learned a lot about, it’s Public Relations Agencies as a potential path I can take. While I don’t know if they will fit me in the long run, it’s certainly a thing I’d like to get involved with, perhaps as a placement.
This has been helped by Edelman and Strategic Initiatives showing me the sheer variety to be found in agency life, by each being very different environments, especially in terms of corporate culture. Edelman handles things I enjoy, like technology. However, it’s an unbelievably trendy, modern place, whereas I’m not that person, so I have misgivings about fitting into that expensive, stylish, downtown GTA corporate culture. Meanwhile, Strategic Initiatives felt more down to earth and familiar to me, reminding me of my time doing media with the TCDSB. On the other hand, they simply didn’t handle things I was nearly as interested in.
Certainly, my enjoyment of being active and busy means I’d at least fit the workload regardless of where I’d go, and I’ve found in the past that I’m content simply doing the things I’m good at, rather than doing them in a specific area. While I’m hearing a lot of “find your focus” messages, I’ve not found it, but at least I know I have options out there.