PR Start by Nick Lucido

How to start in the public relations industry.

The Right Way to Take Time Off

If you had to leave work early today, could you leave and know that your stuff would be taken care of? What if you had to take tomorrow off, too? What if you went on a world cruise and took a week off? A month?

For the next two weeks, I’m going to be multitasking like I never have done before. During this time of year, I’m normally working at The State News, gearing up for another semester of MSU PRSSA and doing that whole school thing at MSU. At the end of my summer internship, I was asked to come back to John Bailey & Associates and be the NAIAS intern in between school semesters. Could I turn this down? Heck no. Can I stay away from my work at the State News for more than, um, two hours? Heck no.

Thus, I had a dilemma. I knew having two jobs was possible, but I also knew I needed some major help. After asking a co-worker and some major preparation, I’ve been able to stay semi-sane and still be able to stay on top of other things.

I’ve come up with four principles that have helped me have two jobs simultaneously. For those of you who have no desire to have two jobs, you can insert “vacation” or “personal time” where I love to express my workaholic tendencies.

  • Delegation. Used correctly and properly, delegating tasks to the right people will not only take the load off your shoulders, but it will also have your co-workers learn and grow with you. Used incorrectly and improperly, you can seem like you don’t care about your work and will give it to whomever. Make sure you have a concise list of daily tasks that need to be completed and that it’s not too overbearing for one person. Interns – try to get your hands on some of this work! It’s a great way to step up and take on more responsibility.
  • Communication. There’s some people that are out of the office and are out of the office. If you’re the second type, you better hope you have all your bases covered. For most people, it’s a lot more practical to be out of the office while still aware of what’s happening in the office. It’s important to respect the people who are back in the office doing your job. Taking 10-15 minutes out of your personal time to make sure they have a clear understanding of your projects and assignments can probably save them a lot of time. Keep lines of communication with the person that’s helping you out.
  • Cooperation. Don’t be afraid of these new challenges – generally, you want to be the one that’s helpful in the office. It’s not always easy to take on new tasks, so do the best you can with what you’ve got. Reach out to the client and your supervisor – communication and explanation can go a long way.
  • Return the favor. Show the love with a token of appreciation. Taking on a crappy assignment from your helpful co-worker is great. If you went on vacation, bring something back for that person and help them out with their work. Come up with some other creative ways to say thanks. Also remember to return the favor when they need help.

I’m not saying that I mastered this on my first try. In fact, this is pretty much a list of the things I should have done better during my two weeks out of one office and in another. But, on the whole, I’m able to keep up with two jobs, school and PRSSA mostly because my friends and co-workers have been helping out. I because I have a “support group” of sorts. My good friend and co-worker Gina is doing an incredible job of doing the crappy part of my State News job – scheduling, routing cards and solving production issues. She makes me look good to my clients. Thanks, Gina.

There’s probably some jobs out there that are individualistic in nature and don’t require team work, but I’m quickly finding out that what I’m doing is not one of those jobs.

What do you think? Any advice?

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3 Responses

  1. Allie Osmar says:

    These tips can also be applied to an overload of work in general – if a team member has more work than can physically be handled, it’s great to have open communication with a team so that others can step in to help out. In these cases, delegation may take longer at the forefront to get everyone up to speed, but it will no doubt make everything easier down the road.

    (P.S. Congrats on being front page on BC for this one – I thought I’d double-post my comment because I hate it when there are two separate conversations taking place in comments).

  2. michaelsavoni says:

    This post is completely inaccurate- There’s no such thing as to taking time off when you work in PR.

  3. nicklucido says:

    @Allie – thanks for double commenting! I appreciate it.

    @Mike – Depends on how you define time off. It’s hard to stay away from your blackberry, etc.

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