With the work year now well and truly underway, I thought it might be time to give you a behind-the-scenes look at working at Pesel & Carr, judging from my five months here as Senior Communications Specialist.
The first thing that comes to mind is our tight-knit team, which includes diverse people with backgrounds in journalism, crisis management, copywriting, public policy, corporate affairs and more. Staff members are trusted, not-micro-managed, and able to work flexible hours; two of our Mums work around school hours, for example. Managing Director Barbara Pesel is always open to personalised arrangements, something increasingly important to most workers, provided there is quid pro quo.
Each work day has its own excitements and challenges as we work across different industries and clients – the variety means there is definitely never a dull moment in the office! On any particular day my tasks could involve planning a digital strategy, writing a newsletter article, pitching to a TV journalist, conducting a focus group with teens or brainstorming the ‘next big thing’.
While it can be a lot to take in at first, it helps to keep in mind the things that underline all good public relations work; like staying true to a client’s core purpose and audience, and ensuring all communications support their organisational and business goals.
Personally, coming from a non-agency background, the accountability and time pressure involved in billing in 15 minute increments was something I had to get used to, though I know it’s a good discipline! Certainly things move at a more rapid and exacting pace than at some other places I’ve worked.
I’ve also learnt not to write in law and government speak and the importance of making all writing visually appealing – whether that means breaking paragraphs into dot points, or turning work into an arresting presentation. Budgeting and attracting new clients are two upcoming challenges for me.
In the office, I enjoy the well-lit space with a helping hand of good coffee on tap and quality panini around the corner on Lygon Street. Another staff member that appreciates good food – and lots of it – is our Culture Manager, a large poodle called Louis (as he is all bark and no bite, this seemed a better fit than security!).
Louis’ duties include greeting clients at the door, shaking paws and providing (loud) feedback during meetings. His need for pats, games and walks help to keep staff calm, entertained and fit. Louis really is the fluffy heart of the office. We suspect his ambition is to one day run the company, instead of just running around it…
One of the best aspects of Pesel & Carr is the culture of continuous feedback, learning and improvement. This makes for a very open, productive and healthy work environment, as does the goodwill and lack of competition between staff; everyone helps each other and we take the good and the bad as a team.
The advantage of being a small agency is that training is intensive and personalised – there is always something to add to your PR repertoire from practical experience, which is the best way, and you develop skills by doing a bit of everything. Staff are encouraged to spend part of the working week viewing webinars and reading articles on industry developments.
There is also an active program for interns and student workers, which develops the next generation of PR professionals as well as giving staff management experience. If you are interested in an internship opportunity as part of your university requirements, please contact me at email@example.com.
I’m looking forward to what the next few months will hold – the variety, high standards, discipline and direct impact of agency work is what I was looking for in my career. I also think I’d find it very hard to work anywhere again now without an office dog managing the culture. I’ve suggested adding a cuddly, lazy cat to the mix, but for some reason that has been roundly vetoed (unsurprisingly by the Culture Manager himself!).