A Career In Public Relations

(Written in a Panera on my lunch break)

I graduated in 2008 with a degree in Pubic Relations. I spent 4 years being the perfect student and acquiring the various life and leadership experiences to put me on track for a wonderful career in my chosen field. However, 2008 could give a fuck less about any of that. I was entering into one of worst economies in the history of the United States. For reasons I could not understand at the time, because as a public relations major I knew nothing about economics or business (or most anything), the world had turned upside down and getting a job seemed an impossible task. 

We sent out resumes, cold called, completely changed our hopes and dreams to settle for part time work and not a career, and some, I don't know how, decided that grad school was the way to go. Cant get a job? Maybe I'll take out some more loans and wait for things to change. I contemplated being a farmer. 

One day I got a call back from a job at a new trendy PR firm. I wore my best suit and had 4 copies my resume in my knock off Gucci briefcase. This was back when carrying a knockoff was so standard for a girl my age and I am sorry to justify it but it just was what it was. I'll never do it again. I promise. 

I pulled up to the office and to my shock there was no name on the building. They were leasing a space in a shopping center. I told myself this was fine and while I thought this might be a serial killer trap, maybe they needed a good PR person. 

Upon entering I saw a girl in a suit, sitting in a swivel chair, with a Bluetooth earpiece. She was talking loudly about a client. She had no desk. No desk. Just one employee, in a corner, doing her best Tom Cruise impression of a fat cat sport agent. She did everything but yell "show me the money". To be fair, she may have yelled that before I got there. 

There was a line of other people waiting to interview in a row of chairs. And on the wall hung a D.A.R.E. banner. I was confused on why they had an anti-drug children's program logo up. Are they trying to say this is a drug free workplace and just thought this was the best way? You have one employee. You can just walk over to tell her. 

When it was my turn for my interview I was so nervous. Despite my snobby attitude about the office aesthetic, I needed a job! A young man in a strapping church suit greeted me and sat me at a conference table. I handed him my resume and introduced myself. 
He looked my papers over and then with a sharp looking pen, wrote "college" on the top of it.

He asked me a few question about my internship and my previous job history. "On a scale of 1 to 10 how good of an employee are you?" He asked. Seriously? What kind of nonsense question is this? Does anyone call themselves a solid 4? It became clear to me at this point that he also didn't know what the hell he was doing. "Ten" I said, still wanting any job. I thought that I'd ride out the economy and have some experience in the real world before I interview somewhere else. 
"So, no room for improvement?" He asked me with snark, like he just caught me. As if the only thing he learned about interviewing is that if someone says they are a 10, they are too cocky and you must shame them and hire the solid 4. 

I mumbled something about how naturally there is room for growth in everyone and some other nonsense but I knew then I wasn't going to get the job. He bested me with his weird question. He seemed happy about it too. I'd never get the chance to refuse to wear the Bluetooth or take a turn in the one chair. I wouldn't get to buy suits and wear them for my two coworkers and I would never get to work with D.A.R.E. (their one client, now basically nonexistent). I wasn't good enough for a fake company. 

I took a job in insurance a month later. And thus ended my career in Public Relations.

And I just saw that man, 10 years later, interviewing for a job in the dining area of my Panera.

kelly sirk