PR as a second career: How I moved from office manager to PR consultant
7th November 2017
This is the story of a public relations professional’s chance journey into the world of communications.
I joined ‘The PRactice’ in 2007 but it seems like yesterday. It’s hard to believe it has been ten years already!
When I joined The PRactice, I was the mother of a three-year-old toddler; today he is a teenager and now I have a younger daughter as well. Initially my role at The ‘PRactice’ was that of office manager for the Delhi office, a role I held for close to four years. After that, I took a break, to manage my family and home.
One and a half years later, when I wanted to get back to work, I could not think of applying anywhere else but ‘The PRactice’. As the office manager role was not available, I was offered the role of assisting the client servicing team at the backend. We had just on-boarded a few new clients and were running short on team members. I was a bit sceptical as it entailed that I had to negate all the previous experience that I had and start afresh. However, I took that leap of faith and accepted the role.
These past five years have been the most exciting roller coaster ride of my life. I have had incredibly high points to ridiculously low points. One thing that these five years were not – they were not easy. Starting all over again when my peers in terms of age, have reached a certain level career wise, was hard. I guess that was one of the most difficult decisions that I ever made. Sometimes even now, I have bouts of doubt, when I wonder if it was the right decision.
While transitioning to my new role, I made sure not only to read a lot about my new clients, but also to dive into my new industry to gain as much knowledge as possible. Additionally, there were tonnes of new systems and processes to be learnt, documents to be processed and presented to the clients on time, and with no errors.
During my early days in client servicing, my entire team was available to answer any query I had, no matter how small. In fact, the entire office was so approachable and helpful. This made the switch so much easier – I would like to give a special shout-out to Ritika Kar, Gopal Kommuri and Rishu Sharma, all of whom I consider my mentors, to this very day.
So much has happened in the past five years; nerve racking first client meetings and calls, complicated documents and plans, internal reviews, et al. But perseverance pays.
Situations of drastic professional alteration can understandably be challenging, but the trick to survive such moments is to just let them pass and wait for better sense to prevail.
This transformation of my professional journey would not have been possible without the work culture that we have. Here every opportunity depends upon capabilities. The acceptance, recognition and support given to me by my co-workers and the firm has been my mainstay throughout. A workplace that offers equal opportunities is rare to find, and I am proud to be a part of such an organization.
One lesson that I learnt in my 10 years with The PRactice, is the importance of re-invention. One must continuously re-invent, there is so much to learn both professionally and personally.
There is a very personal observation to share from my experience. The desire to quit, to concede defeat – is the most enticing desire and giving up is the easiest thing to do. Never give up. Choose your battles carefully, then fight, with all your might. You may or may not win, but you certainly will have a story to tell thereafter.
Archana Mukherjee is consulting associate at The PRactice