By: Tom Crawford (@Crawford__05)
The walk was cold, his nose was runny, his fingers were numb, baseball-sized snowflakes were falling fast from the sky, and the sun was just beginning to peak over the horizon. As much as he wanted to be here, he knew he wasn’t ready. He walked inside, unbuttoned his suit coat as he sat down, crossed his legs, pulled the New York Times out of his briefcase, and opened to the front page.
After watching the entire season of MadMen for the second time in 6 months, I was sure, just like everyone else, I wanted to be Don Draper. We all know that doesn’t happen overnight, it takes hard work, perseverance, and determination. Some may say it’s a gift, something that David Ogilvy had, a style, a swagger, a sense of purpose when he walked and talked.
What sets someone like this apart from the competition you may ask? Willingness to put in the work, the time, and the effort. Take on the extracurricular activities, network, put themselves out there and get to know the right people. Passion, motivation, a sense of what you were meant to do, meant to be.
He had no clue what he was going to say, what he would do, or how it would go, but he had a vision and a purpose, he knew what he wanted to achieve. He had everything he needed in his briefcase. This was his third time here this week, finally able to get in front of the man he wanted to see.
He didn’t have the money to stay downtown, he found a cheap place a few blocks away. During the walk every morning he looked up at the buildings and imagined which one he would be living in 5 years from now.
The Advertising and Public Relations major is extremely broad in a sense that there are several different avenues to pursue. Advertising or Public Relations? Agency or in-house? Creative or accounts? Media director or publicist? All these options under a single degree? How to decide? Where to start?
This requires some soul searching. Take some time, look at who you are, ask yourself where you want to go and who you want to be. Evaluate your strengths and weaknesses and choose wisely. Pick a specific field and brand yourself as an expert in that category. Anyone can be a jack of all trades, but to get that job or that raise, you have to be the best at one thing. Whether that be creative, design, account management, media specialist, etc.
As Emily Gagnon stated in An Open Love Letter to the APR Major, the APR field is so broad that it allows us to choose an industry and company that suits our personalities and ambitions. It teaches diverse communication and technological skills which is applicable to nearly every industry.
Different from many degrees, after obtaining an APR degree it is up to you to create your future. It’s not a career that has strict guidelines. No single path to make it to the top, it takes creativity, innovation, and determination to climb the ladder. If you find peace in a 9-5 structured schedule, clocking out, and leaving all the work at the office, this is not the career for you. The APR career is far from structured work hours. If deadlines are approaching, then long nights and weekends may part of the job, or, if a client has a crisis situation unfold on a Saturday night, then you have to be ready to tackle the situation.
In the end, it all comes down to having a purpose and knowing your ‘Why.’
He didn’t know when or how, but he knew that one day he would work in the creative department at Ogilvy & Mather – New York. Two weeks after graduation he packed his bags and drove to New York City. And here he was, sitting in the waiting room, ready to capture the unattainable dream that once seemed out of reach.
Thomas is a Junior at GVSU majoring in Advertising and Public Relations with an emphasis in advertising. In addition to being an account associate for GrandPR, Thomas is also a member of PRSSA, the APR alumni relations committee, the 2019 NSAC team, and on the executive board of the GVSU Advertising Club as the Events Coordinator. He enjoys going to local coffee shops, traveling, and collaborating with friends about the next Shark Tank idea.