What is so dark about moving to the dark side?

Written by Rebecca Paddick

“We’re losing another one to PR.” This was the blunt response from one of my life-long journalist friends, when I told them I was moving from my role as a magazine editor, into Public Relations.

I wasn’t surprised. I was expecting to hear that overused phrase, “Oh, you’re moving to the dark side,” and hear it I did, lots. But, 6 months into my role as a Senior Account Manager at Mantis, I am struggling to see just what is so ‘dark’ about this side.

Because, these past few months have been some of the best in my career. They’ve been challenging, thought-provoking, insightful and interesting. As you can imagine, I was able to transfer a lot of my skills, and I am hoping I can bring a fresh perspective to the team. Yet, despite my experience, it’s been a very steep learning curve. And I feel that, for the first time in a long time, I have seen my skills develop so much.

Like so many, writing is my passion, and it’s something I’ve been able to grow further in this role. I am writing about the healthcare, local and central government sectors, and I’ve had the opportunity to continue delving deeper into my specialism, higher education. I’ve trodden unfamiliar territory in pitching to journalists. I’ve written PR plans and come up with social media strategies for both small and large businesses. I’ve reported at live events, and I’ve met some fascinating people.

My typical week is made up of two days working from home, one day in London, and two days in our quirky and creative Bristol office in the centre of town. It’s within walking distance of my flat, and in the hub of my beautiful home town. I feel as though, for the first time in years… actually, in forever, I have a healthy work/life balance, as well as variety, and freedom.

I love the flexibility. I love the knowledge that my colleagues have absolute faith and trust in me to manage my own time. I enjoy the variety of the content I can produce, pitch and place, and I’ve found that building and nurturing those relationships with our all-important clients is something that I’m quite good at. When I secure a piece of coverage, I can’t wait to tell them.

I’ve known our client services director, and my now line manager, Eleanor, for many years, after our paths crossed at my previous role. I remember all those years back, instantly liking the sound of Mantis. I liked how it specialised in public sector technology, and I was so impressed with how professional, yet approachable the whole team were. I liked how they always stood out in my mind as the best PR company I was working with, out of the (literally hundreds) who emailed and called me on a daily basis.

Like with all jobs, it’s the people you work with that really make it. I can honestly say that my Mantis colleagues are some of the nicest people I have ever met. I always look forward to seeing the Bristolian team, who have supported me so much in these early months.

So, after 10 years in publishing, I was looking for a new challenge, and Mantis have certainly provided that. I decided to take the leap into PR, and it is one of the best things I have ever done. The future doesn’t look dark from this side.

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