From graduation to working full time, transitioning from student life to the “real world” can be daunting. However, Catalyst was different. From the moment I walked through the door, Catalyst welcomed me with open arms (and donuts).
The members of the Catalyst team made me feel at home the moment I walked into the office. It was like I had been welcomed into a new family. I knew I had a lot to learn, but I wasn’t as nervous as I thought I would’ve been. Everyone assured me from the start that I was learning from the best – which was true. I don’t think I could have asked for a better opportunity. I started by taking on smaller projects and sitting in on conference calls while learning about our clients and the ins and outs of the office.
On my first day, both Tom and Christina peeked out of their offices, came up to my desk and told me not to worry. They assured me that this team was going to teach me everything I needed to know and help me along the way
They were right. In the first few months, I’ve learned more than I felt I would have at any other company. To make it even better, everyone here was by my side the entire time. I wasn’t scared to ask questions. I felt like I had a true support system.
A few things I’ve learned so far:
No job is too small
All jobs contribute to a larger picture. Past internships would give me small, odd jobs but never told me what they were for which made me feel isolated from the rest of the company. Now, I have a better sense of how my work impacts client projects and work as a whole. From drafting a case study to distributing press releases, I know what my time and effort are going towards. It feels great to know that, no matter what the task is, I contributed to a larger picture.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions
Asking questions is important especially if you’re not quite sure where to start. People here make me feel I can ask anything from “where can I find this file?” to “what is the best way to write this press release?” I was never one to raise my hand if I was unsure of the answer in class, but here I know I don’t have to have all the answers right out of the gate. It also feels great to receive helpful feedback and positive reinforcement.
Stay organized and budget your time
Being organized is key to performing well in PR. I find that taking time out of my day to organize files and sort my email into different folders makes a huge difference when you’re trying to meet a deadline or searching for a file. Budgeting your time is also important in keeping the internal operations of any marketing agency flowing smoothly (and for your personal sanity). PR can be unpredictable, and it’s best to be ahead of the game instead of rushing to get something done last minute.
Don’t be afraid to give your input
Don’t be afraid to speak up in meetings or give feedback. I remember being terrified my first week when Tom asked me to proofread his latest press release. I was worried I’d miss something or make a mistake. It took me a while to warm up to the idea of giving feedback and participating in meetings, but it’s better to speak up than be silent.
Just get started
No day is the same which is what I love about PR. There’s always something to do, whether it’s answering emails or starting projects. My advice is to just jump in. This is something I always carry with me; I remember in college my favorite painting came from a moment of frustration while looking at my blank canvas. I stood up and just started painting. This piece sold in its first show in Brooklyn this past April. So, don’t wait, just get started! You can’t make progress, let alone finish, if you don’t start.
Finally, there’s no such thing as too many donuts – however, there is such a thing as too many starlight mints.
As a recent college grad, everyone asks: “what are you doing now, how do you like there?” I have no hesitation saying that I absolutely love it. I always reply: “I couldn’t have asked for a better way to start. It’s a great opportunity.”
Since I started in June, my co-workers at Catalyst have been there with me every step of the way. I’ve learned valuable lessons and picked up new tricks and pieces of information along the way. I lucked out landing this job and am grateful for their intelligence and generosity. My first job was something I used to fear, but now I’m one of the first in the office every day.
Remember: don’t be afraid to jump in!