As much as a woman of her, erm, presence, can do anything casually, Karoline (with a K) casually drops a leaflet on my desk as she grazes the office looking for packed lunches, leftover snacks, and any edible (but not necessarily in-date) client product samples. Titled ‘What to do next?’ it has been produced as a bit of career guidance for women in PR by one of the industry’s constantly warring trade bodies.
Expecting uplifting advice on breaking through the glass ceiling and achieving board-level status, I find instead that it’s full of hints and tips on how to retrain as a florist, landscape gardener or interior designer because “this is what most PR women choose as their next career”. All well and good, I suppose, if you’re feeling jaded or burnt-out but… hang on, why has K given this to me?
I storm into her office (I know, but this is the feisty new post-30 assertive me) and demand an explanation. Karoline is as convincing as Natalie Bennett facing Nick Ferrari (I might change my name to Ferrari) and dissolves into incoherent burbling about uncertain futures, the variability (she tries “vicissitudes” first) of agency life and the good potential mark-up on soft furnishings. “I am pledged to PR,” I shout, bordering on the hysterical. “Food and drink marketing is my life. I am a bride of media relations.” Definitely unhinged now, I return to my desk seething.
All those things I love about this constantly varied and challenging career await me. A press release to draft about stuffing more nuts into babies. A ‘Why declining Fairtrade sales doesn’t mean that Fairtrade sales are in decline’ blog piece. A photoshoot for the red cabbage diet. It’s a mixed bunch. Mixed bunch? Hmm…