Q I have been working at a small PR agency for close to six months
now, and my problem is my boss' lack of direction. She works on accounts
ranging from high-end corporate to simple media relations work to
At first, I liked trying out different types of accounts, but now it all
seems so aimless. I know a good practitioner knows a lot about various
types of PR, and I don't want to specialize too early in my career, but
I would like to try one type of account work long enough to feel
confident in it!
Ms. B, Cincinnati
A When you are new to PR, a broad range of accounts can be a great way
to get to know the industry, to see how you take to different kinds of
client work, and to rapidly increase your skills. I am somewhat
surprised that you are already seeking greener pastures after a mere six
months on the job.
But your interest in delving deeper into one industry is laudable. You
have offered only limited insights into your agency, only to say that it
is "small." Small generalist firms will always have a broad range of
clients, so there may not be the opportunity for you to find a
specialist niche. You may want to explore moving to a larger firm
Of course, now is not really the time to start a job hunt, what with
layoffs still figuring prominently in the news. In the meantime, pay
close attention to the type of work you currently do. Make a list of the
accounts that you have found the most gratifying to work on, and figure
out what sort of pattern emerges.
Then talk to your current boss about your desire to gain more in-depth
experience in those industries. If she tells you the firm won't be able
to accommodate your interests, you will know it is time to look for a
position with a firm that has strong practice areas that match your
But give your current employer a chance to help you develop your
If the firm values you as employee, there is every chance your boss will
help you out.
Q This past year has been really tough for me personally, for the agency
that I work for, and for the industry that we service (hi-tech). Not to
mention the entire country. Now that the holidays are over, I find
myself feeling somewhat apprehensive about the coming year. I want to
move forward with a positive attitude, but I am finding it tough to put
the difficult times behind me. How can I, along with my firm, put the
past behind us and move forward positively?
Mr. D, San Francisco
A There are not many in this country who will be sorry to say goodbye to
2001. But turning over the first page of a new calendar does not, in
itself, constitute a fresh start.
It is understandable that you feel apprehensive, because you sense that
the problems we all faced last year are not over. Many of the anxieties
of the past year will linger well into 2002.
My advice: Don't think too far into the future. Set smaller, realistic
goals for yourself and your firm to meet. Get into the habit of honoring
the relatively minor accomplishments you and your staff make, and to
appreciate the fact that your firm has survived some very tough times
As the great philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche said, "On the tree, Future,
we build our nest; and in our solitude, eagles shall bring us
nourishment in their beaks!"
Do you have a problem that no one else has been able to solve? Try
Pandora. E-mail her at email@example.com.