Hack of all trades, master of some (on a good day)

So, you’re thinking of working in the creative sector. Good for you.

If you’re like most people, that probably means you’re looking at working in an ad agency or the like. On the one hand, you might be a creative, bursting with wild and wacky ideas. On the other, perhaps you’re best off being a client liaison – you’re all about the schmooze and the winning smiles and the glad-handing.

While on the third hand (yes, everyone in the creative sector is a mutant), perhaps your strengths lie in data analysis and extracting useful information from a tsunami of meaningless statistics. On the fourth, maybe you’re an organisational whiz, or financial number-crunching is your wheelhouse.

And on the fifth (we’re getting up to octopus territory here), maybe you’re a natural-born sales guru who could sell the proverbial snow to Inuits.

Wherever you’re strong, you can probably find a home, and all you’ll ever be asked to do is to focus on what you’re best at.

Unless, that is, you decide to work in PR.

This week alone, I’ve seen people sat near me (including myself) do some of everything. One has copywritten a press release based on a creative idea they personally came up with. Another attended a client meeting that lasted all day. Yet another had to try and talk a bunch of journalists into running a story. I had to look through an extensive spreadsheet for three hours to try and extract a useful nugget or two. Someone else costed and wrote a new business pitch.

Now don’t get me wrong – I’m not saying this is anything remotely like the hardest job in the world. Put me on a deep-sea fishing trawler and I’d be shark chum before we even left port.

But with all the different strings we PRs have to have to our bows, is it any wonder that most agencies struggle to find and keep good talent? I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve heard people complain about the fact they still can’t find a decent account manager or SAE.

So, you out there thinking of a job in the creative sector, listen up. If you want to latch onto what you’re best at and drive it home, you know where to look. But if you want to try and broaden your ‘special set of skills’ and become good – or at least tolerable – okay, barely competent – at multiple things, maybe you should give PR a look?