Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Getting my PD on in the government

Today was my first time outside my office at my government job. They couldn't keep me there forever. I finally broke out. Well maybe it isn't the first time I have left come to think of it.

I do go out for lunch (well in the summer at least, weather is getting colder now) and when there were some issues with our pay, we had to go to another department to get that figured out. So I do enjoy some occasional freedom. But today was different type of adventure outside the office. It was a professional development (PD) session.

PD's, for those of you who don't know, are sessions where you gather people in the same field of work and present them with information that helps them get more out of their career.

This was my first PD session in the government. I had gone to other PR ones as part of being involved in CPRS. But this, much like the ones I went to with CPRS, was a great experience. They usually you are. However, it was especially good because it had a PR twist.

One of the three speakers, was a conflict management practitioner in the government. For all those wanting to do conflict management, listening to her would have given you a good insight on what it takes to get to her level. Her confidence when speaking was evident (work hard on your presentations in people!) and she dropped enough PR lingo to keep me fully locked in.

Obviously for me, her presentation was the best. The other presentation, which was the first, focused on work harassment. Looking at where I work, in an office setting where there is support about three distinct different groups working on the same floor, a very diverse setting indeed, knowing what constitutes harassment and how to solve it should issues arise, is differently a benefit for all of us.

The last speaker talked about the core competencies, or in plain English, a set of 9 specific skills that all government employee's should have and become better at using to fully maximize their potential at work. Examples include postive attitude and being able to use technology. It was refreshing to know that these skills I have mentioned above, as well as the other 7, are ironically ones the PR program here pushes as important. Definitely a nice fit.

Overall the PD was a fun time. I love PD sessions. They give you a chance to learn something new outside the tradtional classroom, while still having that same type of feel with people taking notes and asking questions. Doesn't hurt when you are getting paid a full day for going to one too...

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Having fun in PR outside the classroom

So far much of what you have read about PR in this blog has been related to what I have learned from an educational standpoint in the field. However, there is another side to PR that I have kept from you. The lighter side of PR, outside the classroom.

Yes in PR it is possible to have fun. With so much time spent in the classroom, attending professional development sessions, and just beginning your day thinking about the various issues facing the world, in which PR plays a role, it would seem difficult to make time for a party. There are exceptions to every rule however, with last week's welcome to the program party being one of them.

The welcome to the program party is the annual networking event the PR program at my college has for first-year and second-year PR students, teachers and invited members of CPRS. It is a semi-formal (PR does lend itself to good taste, so dress appropriately) affair, meant to gather everyone involved in the program in an effort to make life as difficult as possible for the incoming first years.

Yes I am just kidding about embarrassing first years. Although their initiation to the program is a necessary component of their education, that is a process which will occur in due time. What the true goal of the party is to welcome them to the family of PR which our the program prides itself on.

So what is a good way to get to know your new family you ask? Drinks for starters is a must. Throw in a couple games, business cards, conversation and now you have the essential building blocks of fun PR outside the classroom.

The night was a great time. The room was full of energy. The energy of budding PR practitioners all gathered together, is definitely something I enjoy being a part of. The first years seemed very excited for their new career choice, something which they are only a few weeks into. As second years in the program, we are happy to have them join us and hope to help them in anyway possible as they start their career in PR.

With my second welcome to the program party in the books, it was refreshing to see so many new faces filled with such a genuine enthusiasm for the program. This is something I hope will only continue through their daily studies in the program...as well as during the parties. Because we could all have a little fun in PR outside the classroom...at least once in a while, don't you think?

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Back to school...PR style

I'm going back. After a summer of doing a variety of PR work through volunteering, and a full-time job, it is time to go back to PR in the classroom.

It is going to be an interesting year. I'm on a reduced course load, something which gives me more flexibility. Flexibility I hope which will allow me to gain more PR experience outside of class in the form of volunteering and working with CPRS (Canadian Public Relations Society).

Definitely should be a lot of fun...can't wait to get back in the daily grind of a PR practitioner. See you soon.