Keep Left Diaries: My first year in PR

· Public Relations

When I started my first week of real-life ‘adult’ work, if someone told me that the biggest challenge would be enjoying not the company I work for, but my own personal company, I would have laughed them off.

I was lucky enough to know most of my colleagues by name on my first day. Completing an internship with Keep Left in the last year of uni meant my nerves were (slightly) tempered walking into the office. I remember reassuring smiles making me feel at ease but looking back I didn’t know what I was in for.

The fast-paced nature of communications was a tough adjustment — there’s something to be said for the increased levels of mental and emotional fitness required to enter the professional workforce. Transitioning from part-time university student/part-time hospitality worker to full-time account coordinator was quite a shock to the system.

As a new recruit you don’t just want to perform, you want to excel. It didn’t help that my personal expectations were sky high. I struggle with the thought of letting people down and place great pressure on myself to deliver. Something that helped me adapt — and I would recommend others do in their first year — is to celebrate the small wins. Marking off mini achievements on the account co-ordinator road and setting attainable personal goals, no matter how small, motivated me to keep striving forward.

No piece of positive client feedback is too minor to bask in. It’s a tough year, and a self-pat on the back can play a big role in creating a positive mindset. That approach was a game changer for normal work life, but I’ve found it just as helpful during the new normal too.

As office staff adjusted to remote working conditions, I was still in the process of adjusting to my ‘new normal’ of full-time work and professionalism. The shift back home has allowed for many small comforts, with loungewear becoming appropriate work attire and the delivery of afternoon snacks from Mum replaced a mid-morning coffee walk. Heading back to the office, whenever that may be, will be a whole new adjustment period. The prospect of popping on some actual pants is… quite terrifying.

As a proud extravert, I thrive off the energy levels of those around me. Water-cooler banter, running commentary on why ‘Sandstorm’ should be blacklisted from the office playlist, grins in the kitchen over a cuppa, a shared Friday afternoon vino; the inconsequential moments one takes for granted are what I’ve truly missed.

November marked eight months of remote working for Keep Left, far surpassing my time spent in the office. Throughout both starkly different experiences, I’ve come to the realisation that the girls on The Bachelor Australia are onto something: I’m on a journey. My professional development is a long road and I’ve only just hit the first kilometre flag of the ultra-marathon ahead.

Knowing that my colleagues are right by my virtual side on that journey, saving me from myself through Slack banter, Zoom chat windows, or GIF exchanges has been a constant source of reassurance — just like the smiles on day dot.

You can keep up with Courtney’s Keep Left career on her LinkedIn.

Written by Keep Left · · Public Relations
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