After spending an amazing work placement year in Australia working as a Comms Officer on a desalination project with a whole lot of community NIMBY and discovering the true meaning of a work/life balance, my mind was firmly made up.
Cue 2009 and armed with my degree and work experience, I made the decision to head home to the Isle of Wight.
Fast forward to 2010 and after a year of managing the Island’s official tourism website, I headed to the third sector, joining sailing charity UKSA as their Comms Exec.
The big thing to note about working in-house is that you have to know pretty much EVERYTHING! From social media, blogging, copywriting, writing media releases, marketing, advertising, dealing with PR agencies and internal comms to knowing the intricate details and business strategy of the organisation and everyone that works there, understandably this creates challenges, shifting work priorities and means that no two days are the same (yes, that old chestnut).
After two years at UKSA, I got itchy feet and have now moved back to the big Island, switching to the public sector by joining Reading College as their Comms Co-ordinator.
This is another brilliant thing about working in-house; it is pretty easy to switch between industries – I have gone from tourism to charity to education on the strength of my communications skill sets and my ability to apply them in each industry sphere.
I have now been at Reading College for one month and am responsible for external (managing a PR agency) and internal (staff and students) communications, social media, copywriting, website content and 100 other bits. Of course there hasn’t been much time to settle in – the need for on-going communications is great and I have truly leapt/been pushed into the deep end.
The other thing that is worth mentioning is that working in-house does not mean you are working for one person, the range of stakeholders I deal with on a regular basis is huge; one day I’ll be working with the Principal and local business leaders, the next surly teenagers who’d rather be anywhere else than answering my questions!
The beauty of working in-house, particularly for a charity or public sector organisation, and the reason why I will always work in these sectors, is that you’re working with people who (on the whole) all feel passionately about the same thing and really believe that they are making a difference to other people’s lives. For me, promoting lipstick just doesn’t cut it.