CAREERS: My Big Break

When I graduated from college in 1989 I wanted to be a journalist.

When I graduated from college in 1989 I wanted to be a journalist.

After rejection letters piled up from free weekly rags, I thought I would try breaking in with a publishing company.

I began assisting the PR director of a small book publisher (that has since gone bankrupt) writing press releases, editing catalog copy, and typing up the publisher's dictations. The PR director tried to have me fired early on, seeing me as a threat. The owner liked me and fired the director, whom he claimed was schizophrenic. I agreed.

After four months on the job, I suddenly took on a heavy workload with little guidance. I booked one client on 180 radio stations in two months.

Twenty-two years ahead of a typical career path, I booked clients on Donahue, Oprah, Geraldo and Larry King Live - all during my self-taught apprenticeship.

Although getting so much exposure early on was a good break for me, it was not all roses. My starting salary in New York City was $15,600. The dumpy office was a quasi-warehouse, four-floor walk-up in Chelsea. There was the building super who used to fall down the stairs drunk, sometimes with my publisher's assistance. I was there for the experience, and it is one I will never forget.

Brian Feinblum is the publicity manager, new business development at Planned Television Arts (PTA), a division of Ruder Finn in New York.

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