Entering an industry I had little to no knowledge about, was incredibly daunting. A sociology graduate, I was fresh out of university and looking to make my mark upon the world and explore opportunities.
When a friend recommended Mutant Communications, I promised her I would try my hand at applying. Three weeks later, I was exchanging pleasantries with my new colleagues. Full of questions, I wondered how I would fare as an intern, and if I would enjoy my time here – after all, there was no dearth of horror stories from friends in similar positions.
Upon the conclusion of my internship with Mutant, I decided to note down my expectations and compare them to my actual experiences. Hopefully, it’ll reassure and encourage some of you to venture beyond your comfort zone.
Expectation: My co-workers will be too busy to guide me or provide feedback.
Reality: Just because I’m an intern, it doesn’t mean I’m lesser than the full-time staff, or that my voice is unimportant. PR thrives on creativity and that fresh perspectives are always welcomed. As a result, I understood my weaknesses better, and learned how to turn them into strengths. It was great to have people share recommendations and give pointers, not only with me, but with one another, too.
Working in a PR agency is akin to working on one huge project. Everyone has to work with one another to get deliverables out the door.
Expectation: I’ll have to work long hours, with hardly any work-life balance.
Reality: While I did stay late occasionally, I was never burning the midnight oil – ‘late’ meant staying about an hour beyond 6pm. I could always tick items off my to-do list for the day, as we had a system of collaboration. Anyone could request for help with a particular task or deadline, and their teammates would rush to assist.
At Mutant, people emphasise on having work-life balance. We work hard, but play harder. For the past two months I’ve been here, we’ve had a BBQ night, a games night, snack parties and even a mahjong night! I still remember, clear as day, when Matt, our director, shoo-ed me off at 6pm and told me to – and I quote – “go have a life!”
Expectation: I’ll spend my days doing the same work. Or worse, menial tasks such as printing paper and making coffee.
Reality: Initially, I did spend my time on simpler tasks like tracking media coverage and creating media lists. But as I gained more confidence, I began to take on more challenging tasks such as crafting press releases, social content, pitching to local media and handling clients. I learnt how the PR industry is constantly changing. No two work days were ever the same for me. Clients often changed their expectations, and I had to evolve, so I could keep up. Embracing change and trying different projects I had no experience in doing become second nature for me.
Expectation: I would have to deal with a steep learning curve.
Reality: Duh. But there is so much I learnt, and so much that I look forward to learning. While it did take me a while to get accustomed to the PR way of thinking – you have to be extremely meticulous and focused on minute details, I got there with practise, patience and a lot of encouragement from my lovely peers and bosses.
I’m so glad I accepted my friend’s suggestion to apply to Mutant, and am eternally grateful for the opportunity to intern. I’ve never been surrounded by a more hardworking and fun-loving group of individuals (including our resident office dog, Muffin).
From experience and skills to knowledge about popular games in New Zealand, I have gained so much with Mutant. I’m glad you defied all my expectations!
Don’t we sound like a fantastic place to work in? Join the gang at firstname.lastname@example.org