Erase those dirty thoughts from your mind. This is actually a tribute to my Dad - my mentor and creator of what's been dubbed the “Lexus Lecture Series," a grueling but rewarding ride of advice that I've frequently come back to throughout my PR career.
I've found most everything he taught me to be applicable to my career within PR agency life, even if some of it smacks a tad obvious or old school in the year 2011.
Never think you are working harder than anyone else. You're not, nor likely is your agency. Someone is always working harder than you. Similarly, never think you are smarter than anyone else. Whether you are joining an agency team, interviewing candidates, or selecting a new account team, "smart" is surrounding yourself with people smarter than yourself.
Show initiative and ask for what you want (but not for more money). Good mangers will give you more responsibility, and that's what you really want. I've had about nine different titles (thus far) in my PR career, and like many – my first job was pasting up hard copy press clips. Then I spoke up, and got the chance to write a speech.
Take a finance course. Admittedly, this was not welcome advice. But knowing how money works is important, whether you are responsible for generating revenue through new business activities or you are a client's account lead. Understand how your clients earns revenues, expands their business, or how they could be impacted by economic conditions.
Constantly invest in yourself. Find the best hour of your best day of the week, and book an appointment with yourself. Results might not come right away and, granted, this can often become an "easier said than done" item in the rapid pace of a service-based business. But, you have to be an asset to your business and one that grows.
Show up. Clients expect it; colleagues are counting on you. Be the one to make the call and ask for a meeting. Shockingly simple, but I've generally found that clients and networking contacts are always very receptive. Especially as the dependence on tech-driven communications gives rise to fewer in-person interactions.
There you have it, the fast lane version of the "Lexus Lecture Series."
Alicia Young is an EVP in the consumer and technology practices at Ruder Finn.