Yes, you read it correctly. It has been three years since I began my career as a Public Relations Professional. Today in 2013, the day after Labor Day, I started working almost non-stop in this demanding yet fulfilling field, with only April 2013 as my only break. Crazy, right?
The life before this
In college I distinctly remember being assertive that the life in Advertising and Digital was for me. I even recall spending one whole Saturday with a few blockmates in Freshman year attending a digital seminar hosted by AIESEC. It was there when I first became acquainted to Carlo Ople and Laica Turingan (who eventually became a colleague 4 years later aka 2013), among others.
I was determined to live the agency-life post-college that I mostly applied to advertising, digital and market research agencies for my internship. And yes, a few multinationals. But that’s a given. I ended up selecting to intern in Ogilvy & Mather, specifically in neo@Ogilvy. It wasn’t what I was expected—in a good way. It was a good mix of playing with prose and crunching numbers. The environment was amazing, and I thought to myself, “THIS is what I want to do.”
Fast-forward to senior year when people were asking each other what they wanted to do, which companies they applied to. I echoed myself, “Well, I enjoyed my internship. That might have been the glossy side of advertising, but I liked it very much”. But, even then, I suppose my friends knew me more than I knew myself. Some told me to give PR a shot, but I wasn’t sure. I was naïve back then, just like maybe 95% of the population. Sure, I had a slight grasp on what Public Relations was, but I didn’t know the details.
After reaching out to several advertising and digital companies, I thought to myself, “Why not?”. I applied to a couple of PR agencies in Manila, but I wasn’t so much set on it. I mean, I was young and foolish, and playing safe made so much sense back then. And after some time, I began to weigh everything out from offer to offer. It was, in many ways, a leap of faith ended up choosing Public Relations. Admittedly, I only knew one person in PR back then, and no, not a girl nor gay—dispelling myths that PR is a non-straight male career. He was a senior, and shared the same course in University, and he only had good things to say about the PR life. I’m in!
Back to the start
The crazy thing was, I didn’t choose to work for any big agency. When you’re in college and even fresh from college, people have this notion that big companies will always be a way to go. It was about linking the name to the heritage to the prestige which appealed to most people. And I wouldn’t be surprised if it was also so that they don’t have to explain to relatives what the company is, the history, the leadership, among others.
But I’m not most people. I think that a part of me is always drawn towards the complex, and the insanity of things. You don’t believe me? My bachelor’s degree is Management, major in Communications Technology Management. Until now people think you become a computer technician after you get your diploma. Not that being one is shameful, but, really? The office where I took my internship is located far from where I live. I could have chosen somewhere close, but, apart from hearing that interning there is awesome, I found out they had a veranda and a fancy coffee machine. You can’t say no to offices with verandas AND fancy coffee machines!
Add to those, I selected a young boutique agency which, up to this day, not a lot of people know about. I mean, sure, more friends and relevant people are learning more about how kick-ass GreenBulb Public Relations (shameless plug? hell yeah) is because sharing my life is practically the second/third thing I’m most passionate about (first is Communications, second is the color black). And, the icing to this cupcake is the fact that I chose PR, which, like most trivial things in my life, is something not a lot of people still understand. Welcome to my crazy life! I believe I deserve a show now.
But, yes. I chose to begin my life post-college in a boutique PR agency,
slaving devoting days to keep clients happy. Well, not everytime. Sometimes it’s about giving them what they need and not just what they want—that’s something valuable I learned from my career, which I am able to apply to my daily life.
Wearing the proverbial white hat
Early on, my colleagues introduced me to “Scandal”, the famous series of the genius Shonda Rhimes, and in many ways, it has kept me in this field. Yes, I am inspired by Olivia Pope (Kerry Washington) and how she just makes things happen. That was something I’ve dreamed to be—a Publicist who is constantly determined to drive good results. Someone who truly goes out of the way to ensure that things go as planned, and when they don’t, the outcome is still favorable.
But, to be honest, I wasn’t so much inspired by Olivia Pope to stay in Public Relations. In my head, I had a picture of myself in 2023 being “Macky del Rosario, APR. The guy who owns Macky, with people associating his name to the field of PR and the entire industry of Communications. The guy who has inspired other people to join the field, but more importantly made PR known, truly known, to others”. Yes, call me narcissistic, but in all honesty, we have a little bit of that within us. I’m just not afraid to say it.
Having been in this career though is not glamorous 24/7, as few of you would know. It’s not always about getting to dress up and meet influential people. For the most part, it’s a lot of backend things. To be honest, it’s also a lot of desk work, and thankfully, something I enjoy. Creating strategies, writing anything and everything, preparing reports, sending a lot of emails, and making phone calls, among others. It’s one of those jobs wherein you don’t get a lot of peace because of all the crazy, but in a lot of ways it’s fulfilling.
Nothing beats the satisfaction of securing coverage for a client who deserves it. The feeling of media giving you an easy time for your pitch is overwhelmingly great. Being able to be buddies with journalists and bloggers is wildly fun. Going out of your comfort zone and ending up doing great work also gives such an elation.
I mean, let’s be honest, being in this field where I get to flex my brain and develop strategies which allow me to build, shape and maintain a certain of image of brands and organizations is amazing. It honestly is.
Standing in the sun three years later
At one point, I decided to expose myself to a different environment. I told myself to give digital a try, but still well within my comfort zone—because Macky 2023 HAS to happen. I joined a start-up with a Digital PR role, which sometimes I believe is just another way of saying “Social Media Person”. Or something. It appended strokes of digital to my knowledge in PR. It is an eye-opening world where I got to dabble a bit with words and numbers. Of writing, and analyzing. It’s wildly fun, and the pace is something I appreciate.
I am turning 25 in a month’s time, and people ask me if I think I made the right decision choosing a career in Public Relations. And while I am firm with wanting Macky 2023 to happen, I really can’t tell for sure if I did. What I do know is that I am happy with what I am doing. I embrace the stress I give myself, mostly because I have learned how to deal with it. I enjoy making things happen from scratch. I continuously grow to be wiser than ever, while experimenting how to mix-and-match my clothes. It’s fascinating earning the trust of people much older than I am, while at the same time thrilling being able to educate people.
At this point in my life, three years as a Public Relations professional, I am enjoying standing in the sun—something my favorite person in Shondaland aka Olivia Pope can’t even do. While, for sure, this might not be the job where I could easily pack my bags and go (because I have always dreamed to work in London, there’s something with the supposed perpetually gloomy weather which appeals to me), this is where I find happiness and fulfilment and growth, and to an extent, it allows me to fuel my passions. Not to mention, it pays the bills. You simply can’t forget about that practical fact.
It’s may 2, 2016 and you’re reading this and you’re wondering where I’m getting at. Well, it’s simply, I am three years in working, and I have found my happy spot. Sure, I hope that one day I’m doing PR in a different country because I love being immersed in different cultures and learning about people’s behaviors more, but for now, I think I am just grateful I fell in love with Public Relations.
And actually, I think it’s not that I just tripped and accidentally got entranced with it, but everyday I choose it. Every moment I wake up, to the moment before I sleep, I choose PR. And that helps me keep the zen in my life. It allows me to be the person I want to be, but more importantly, it permits me to better find my spot in this universe.
And yes, I am THAT in love with Shonda Rhimes to use “white hat” and “stand in the sun”. Please don’t sue me.