From the outside working in: What I have learned at MP&F
October 12, 2012
By Logan Pratt
My first “real” job …
It’s been a whole year since I started my first “real” job. I can’t believe it. As a political science and Spanish major from Vanderbilt University, I came into the world of public relations as a bit of a newbie. Thankfully, I have had some of the best mentors in the business, and this is what I have learned in my short 365 days:
1. There are approximately 1,287,054 ways to communicate with people these days, but you have to find the right one.
With everyone in the blogosphere, Twittersphere and Facebooksphere (more words that I have learned) these days, it’s hard to get the right message across to the right people. It’s like the old matching game of cards, you have to know where your audience is and match them with the right media. Social media isn’t always the answer – and you know what? – that’s fine.
2. Check, double-check, triple-check and then have someone else check your work.
Just because you have gone over a news release five times, doesn’t mean that you caught that sixth mistake. There is always a sixth mistake.
3. Know what you are talking about, and if you don’t, say so.
It’s fine to not know everything. It’s also fine to admit that you don’t know everything. At an agency, you have to know so much about so many things so quickly, it’s all right to not know something every once in a while. I had no idea that after a year I would be able to talk about education reform in Tennessee, the restaurant scene in Nashville and the Affordable Care Act as a near expert. Even near experts don’t know the answers to questions sometimes, but they would be happy to get back to you with it.
So here is a bit of insight from a former outsider’s perspective. I knew that I would learn a lot at my first job, but I had no idea I would learn so much, not just about the industry, but about MP&F as an agency. It’s a pretty special place to write news releases, to plan events, to brainstorm communication strategy – in a word, to work, and here is why:
4. There really is no “I” in TEAM at MP&F.
Before MP&F, I really thought there possibly was an “I” sneaked in somewhere in “team.” Before MP&F, I thought I could do all the work. I could make the team look good. Not anymore. At MP&F, I know whether “I” should become a “T” or sometimes an “E” or many times an “A” or every once in a while an “M.”
Once you are in, you are in it through the thick and thin, and everyone is in it with you. From dealing with a demanding client to mentoring you through your first year, the people at MP&F are there to help you learn and grow professionally as well as personally.
6. MP&F gets the job done.
I knew that any agency’s job was to do what its clients asked it to do, but what I didn’t know was what it took to do that job at MP&F’s level. If you looked up the definition of commitment, you would find a picture of MP&F’s staff there. Whether it is working late, early, from home, on the weekends or on the road, I never believed I would encounter people with such dedication to excellence.
The list could go on and on. It’s hard to express all the things I have learned in my first year at a “real” job, but at least I can try to express the big things in a cogent and somewhat digestible manner. I can only hope that I have been as good a student as MP&F has been a teacher.
I’m looking forward to developing as a PR professional – implementing the skills I learned into strategy and owning my own projects.
I’m also looking forward to my role as a member of the MP&F family – growing, planning more Dive Fridays, teaching the people who come after me and contributing more to an already outstanding firm.
Here’s to one year, MP&F, and to many, many more.