The topic of summer jobs recently came up on our internal SSPR network. What was your favorite summer job? And how does it connect to your career in PR today? The answers gave me insight into how our early job experiences influenced our views of media relations. These jobs also helped our team develop the skills it takes to work in a quickly changing and high-stress industry.
Here are a few of my favorite responses:
Bri Helm was one several SSPRers who spent her summers in retail. She worked at Aerie when they launched the #AerieReal campaign, and the company’s comms professionals came in to train the store staff. That’s when she knew PR was for her, and she wanted to influence how companies communicated their mission.
Holly Tibbitts was a birthday party hostess at the Splitz Bowling Center. From this experience, she learned customer service and PR go hand-in-hand. She noted the similarities between working hard to ensure parties are up to customers’ expectations to meeting our clients’ goals.
Julie Solomon was a counselor at a summer camp. Her role leading rowdy kids taught her to explain the “why” behind every single action, instruction and activity. She’s one of our best team members for training, and it’s easy to figure out why!
We had a few coworkers who pulled double duty, working two jobs to pay for college and make ends meet. Alexea Candreva worked as a lifeguard and at Smoothie King. Her demanding schedule taught her how to balance competing demands and not let stress get the better of her. She’s absolutely the coworker I’d want with me in a crisis.
Morgan Wolfe filled multiple roles at her local Einstein Bagels, both slinging bagels and running the local store’s social channels, starting her on the path toward becoming a professional social media expert.
The most unique and challenging job belonged to our resident editor, director of innovation and marketing, and all-around social media expert, Kathleen Bisset. She worked as an intake coordinator for a hospice house during a college summer. She shared, “While it didn’t necessarily have anything to do with PR, or social, or editing, or marketing, it did teach empathy and humility to my 19-year-old self. And that’s a lesson worth its weight in gold.”
As for me, I spent my summers as a lifeguard for the City of Dublin, Ohio, and working at the now closed Riviera Golf Club on the beverage cart. Being a lifeguard taught me how to be cool under pressure and gave me perspective on how to deal with actual emergencies. Working at a golf club taught me invaluable networking skills. It also gave me practice in thinking on my feet, responding to demanding patrons and working on a team.
In a society that heavily values internships at the onset of one’s career, summer jobs can be just as valuable. The lessons they taught us steered our careers and led us down the path to SSPR. I’m grateful to work on a collaborative, dynamic team with coworkers who bring such varied, unique experiences.