Life at Say as a junior account executive
Moving into my eighth month in public relations I now feel I can begin to reflect on life so far as a junior account executive (JAE).
Graduating from university in 2014 with a degree in biomedical sciences, I now work in the healthcare department at Say Communications; a healthcare, technology and corporate communications specialist agency.
This was my first ‘proper’ job, in a real office and with my very own orange desk. Having been fortunate enough to do an internship here at Say for a month in the previous summer, my first day nerves were nearly non-existent, and I soon found out there’s no need for them. My first impressions of people in PR were ones of friendliness, warmth and smiles (it’s still mostly true!). Once the office manager, Fenella, had introduced to me my new colleagues I was ready to get the two-week induction period underway.
You quickly learn that time is the most important and valuable asset in PR. This became especially clear when trying to arrange my induction sessions with colleagues who have themselves three accounts to juggle in addition to their normal daily activities, and they have to navigate their schedule to fit me in. But that’s the thing, no matter how precious time is to Say staff, they’ll always find some for you.
Situated in the heart of Wimbledon, home to the world’s most prestigious tennis tournament, Say’s offices are pretty easy to get to. Having never worked/lived in London before I found the prospect of doing so very scary, and to be honest I still do. But with Say’s offices in SW19 it’s a nice compromise between the hustle and bustle of London living and a slower paced suburban town. Being from Southampton myself, the south-west location makes it easy for me to escape to the country on a Friday evening, back down the A3 to ‘home home’ to see friends and get my washing done (I’m still in the transition period from student to young professional).
Most of my friends don’t know what PR is. When they ask me what I actually do, I tell them I work in healthcare communications. They then proceed to ask me if it’s similar to working in a call centre… After eight months this is the most succinct definition I have managed to give to them:
Public relations is the way we communicate with the public either directly or indirectly via the media to create and maintain a positive image of our clients.
They nod and say ‘ahhh ok’ in a polite manner, but I know they don’t fully understand. And to be honest, I didn’t until I started working here. It’s not until you submerse yourself into the world of PR you find out that actually, there is no one-liner definition that can describe this profession. PR is a dynamic, lively, intriguing career which relies on your ability to adapt to the new daily challenges of your clients, colleagues and the media.
I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my first eight months here at Say Communications. I feel as though I’ve learned more life skills than in my three years at university. As a JAE you get pulled in lots of different directions, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It’s not until you learn to push back and manage expectations that you realise you need the pressure, the deadlines and the daily meetings to shape you into a more capable PR professional.
If you’re interested in becoming a junior account executive then please visit our website at: https://www.saycomms.co.uk/join-us/
-Written by Stuart E.