September 25, 2015

One Year with Olive

By: Samantha Hewitt

I did it! I’ve got one full year of working with Olive PR Solutions in the books, and man has it been a good one. Getting hired at Olive was more than my first break into social media post-college; it inspired and solidified my move to San Diego, brought me together with some of the coolest people I know and has shed so much light on the world of communications. My experiences have far exceeded any expectations that I had a year ago, from my level of involvement in the company to the incredible events I’ve attended – in short, it’s been amazing. The end of my first year of Olive is the start of a new chapter (one that includes a slightly bigger downtown apartment and a better sense of direction on California freeways), but first, here are six things that I’ve learned from “olive” my time:

  • It’s okay to be naturally awesome. I had an exciting and nerve-wracking opportunity to step up from my position as a social media account coordinator to a community manager within four months of starting. This meant that I would have direct communication with clients, attend new business meetings, represent the company at various events and keep the team up to date on the world of social media – whoa. And in case you aren’t aware, I don’t have one of those “I’m early 20’s but look closer to 30” faces. (At a board meeting with 50 plus people, a client flat out asked if I was in junior high – fabulous.) It was scary at first, but with some coaching from Jenn and reassurance from my team, I realized that age really doesn’t have to mean anything.
  • Work smarter, not harder. This is something to live by, I swear. It means that working around the clock is not the only way to succeed, and that it’s okay to seek smart, time-saving solutions. It can take a while to really get into your groove, but if you find yourself with a non-existent social life, missing the gym seven days a week or waking up in the middle of the night and checking emails, it’s time to get some help. Ask your superiors for advice and tips, research alternative methods and confront your timesheets to see where you’re dedicating the majority of your time. Make a change and avoid a major meltdown-turned-burnout.
  • You don’t have to know everything. One of the most important things that I’ve learned is that no one has all the answers. When it comes to social media, it’s a new and rapidly evolving industry; it requires experimentation, trial-and-error, measuring results, staying on top of changes (Facebook algorithms, anyone?) and more. In short, you can’t simply “know” everything, but you can be confident in your ability to figure it out. When a client or team member asks you a question that you don’t know the answer to, don’t get flustered or try to talk your way out of it – say “Great question. I will look more into that and get back to you with an answer!” Phew. Now go do it!
  • Organization will make or break you. A lack of organization in PR and social media will have you scrambling around all day, working into the late hours of the night and feeling very, very stressed. Organization is essential to your success and well-being in this industry, and it can be learned. Good habits to start include taking notes, writing to-do lists, finishing what you start, tracking your time, responding to emails…I could go on and on. Figure out what works for you and be consistent with meeting your deadlines.
  • Working is tough. Even though I’ve had a job of some sort since I was 15, working full time without school in the mix is much harder than I thought. The best advice I could give is to be sure that the company you want to work for has the same values as you do and an environment that you can get inspired by. Olive PR is all about illuminating the greatness of our clients and the greatness in ourselves; we value lifting one another up, making a positive impact and doing really, really great work. These qualities (in addition to an awesome team and one of the coolest work spaces I’ve seen) make the 40+ hours I spend working every week worthwhile.
  • Be yourself. This isn’t as cheesy as you may think! Joining a team is exciting, but it can be intimidating. Trust that you were hired for a reason, so don’t be afraid to share your ideas and voice your opinions. When you’re pushed outside of your comfort zone, take it on as a learning experience and embrace your own personality. In other words, don’t let your voice go up multiple octaves or start pretending that you’re an art connoisseur. Be you!