Strange Opportunities Can Reveal Strengths

I didn’t get the summer internship I was hoping for, and I won’t lie and say I wasn’t disappointed in going back to my old summer job. But then a strange opportunity came my way.

My mom is an account at an answering service company in Green Bay, and they were looking to hire someone for a direct marketing campaign.  My mom went out on a limb and suggested my name, and I got the job!  So, despite my initial set back, I was going to be able to get creative this summer making a sales flyer, brochure and direct mail postcards for the company.

I got started on the brochure first.  I went to the office and took a picture of an old switchboard to use for the background, and the creativity just flowed from there.  I easily knocked out a first draft in two days.

I sent the brochure to the boss, and instead of just getting comments back an even more unlikely task was given to me.  He wanted me to work on their invoice layout—to make it “pretty.”  Now I am a more artsy person, and I definitely do not know what makes up an invoice nor have I had any experience with invoices; however, I knew I could probably help them with the “pretty” part.

Little did I know that not only would this be a new experience, but it would be a frustrating but revealing one as well.

The program I had to use to create these pretty invoices is TERRIBLE!  It is not intuitive and there seems to be no standard format.  Everything had to be created from scratch.  I spent the first day at the office just trying to figure out what everything meant.  Even the full-time employees in charge of billing and invoices didn’t know the program very well (once again because it is a terrible program).

Once I got working, I realized learning what things did was the least of my problems.  I found that once I moved one thing- even just one-space over-it changed everything around it A LOT.  The layout in the working format was not actually what the format looked like when you printed it.  Oh and there was no way to align things.  As is clearly evident from the above evidence, it is a TERRIBLE program.

On a particularly frustrating day, I took a break and talked to my dad.  I told him all my complaints and wined to him for about five minutes.  Then he said, “Well just think what you’ll be able to do with a good program.”  That made me realize that even though I complained a lot and got frustrated a lot, in about 3 weeks time I had overcome the program (well mostly, I am still working out a few little kinks in the layout).  During the process I had made a list of problems I couldn’t seem to figure out and that I was going to have to talk to one of the software’s tech supports about, but I never ended up making that call.

Lesson learned: Persistence and determination do pay off.  I didn’t want to have someone else tell me how to do it; I wanted to figure it out myself.  And even though I had to use a terrible program, the layout I created was what the client wanted (and they were impressed that I got the program to make what I showed them).

As a public relations/advertising practitioner, we have to strive to make the most out of what we are given, whether it is budget or clients or even software programs.   Also, we can use every opportunity that comes our way to not only increase experience but also reveal our strengths.

-Nicole Hangartner

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Filed under advertising, Branding, creative, design

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