Reflecting on One Year

Today marks one year at my agency. Sometimes I can’t believe it’s been a year already. Other times, I feel like I’ve been there for five years. This has easily been the most challenging and rewarding year of my life.

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For those who don’t know, I lead the social media team at an advertising/PR agency. This includes not only social media strategy and management, but also blogger outreach and traditional PR work as well. My days are anything but structured. Some days I spend hours in strategy meetings and on calls, some days I jump from client to client and write countless social media posts and sometimes I find myself traveling near or far to clients’ offices. No day is the same and I love it. Also, thank god for coffee.

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When Nick and I moved back to Baltimore, it was for his job. We had always planned on moving back to Maryland but in my head, I pictured it to be much more strategic and planned. What really happened was he received a job offer that he couldn’t turn down, and we packed up and moved in four weeks, leaving me with little time to job hunt. Once we were back, I spent a good six weeks sending out my resume and going on interviews before things finally clicked and I found my current agency.

Over the last year, major changes have taken place. I’ve lost two bosses who I’m extremely close with. I’ve gotten to work with major companies as clients that I would never have dreamt I’d have the opportunity to work with. I’ve sat in on several huge new business pitches. I’ve experienced the extreme high of winning that new business. I’ve experienced the pressure and stress of long nights and countless hours perfecting strategies and content. Through it all, I’ve learned a lot about myself and where, and who, I want to be in the future.

Lesson #1: Mistakes make you better. I will admit that I am a bit of a perfectionist and in the ad/PR world, mistakes are inevitable. In the ever-evolving social media world, yesterday’s strategy may be completely irrelevant come tomorrow. It’s an industry that is constantly changing and as a result, I’ve had to change with it. With that said, I’ve made a few mistakes in the last year but I haven’t ever made the same once. Regardless of your career path, you will make mistakes and you will learn from them.

Lesson #2: Managing people isn’t easy. I’ve always been the ringleader of my friends and love to plan events and take charge. Managing people has been a bit of a challenge for me, but I like to think that I’ve gotten much better at it. I truly love my small team and trust them. As someone who doesn’t like to hurt people’s feelings, I’ve learned how to give constructive criticism and lead through difficult situations. While managing is challenging, the teamwork and bonds that I’ve created in the last year are unbelievable.

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Lesson #3: You can do anything, but you can’t do everything. I am a “yes” person. I have a hard time turning people down for anything and tend to take on more than I can handle quite often. I had a conversation with my boss a few months ago about making a conscious effort to delegate work and take things off my plate when possible, because the quality of work declines when you try to do it all. It’s just not possible for me, and that was a tough pill to swallow. This applies to all areas of life. If you want to succeed, knowing your limit is key.

Lesson #4: When you love what you do, you will never work a day in your life. This sounds SO cliche and I’m sure you’re rolling your eyes right now, but it’s true. There hasn’t been one day where I’ve left the office and dreaded going back the next day. Sometimes I have to wake up and get into the office at 7 am, and won’t leave for 10 hours. Sometimes I have to work from home at night after a full day because I have things that I want to get done. But I’ll tell you one thing – that work is so worth it when you pour your heart into something and it becomes a success. There is no greater feeling, in a professional environment, than putting your all into a new business pitch and winning. I’m lucky to have experienced this quite a few times this year and it is one of the best and most accomplished feelings I’ve ever felt.

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So my lesson for you is find something you’re extremely passionate about, and do it. I can’t wait to see where I am this time next year.