Hi PR Youth,
I am certain that you’re excited to kick off your career in PR. If you can handle the pace it will be fun, trust me.
You’ve probably been to school, which was smart. However, unless you’ve spent time at grad school, you’ve likely not been taught in a way that fosters problem solving competency. Instead, you’ve essentially been asked to tell teachers what they told you. While smart educators are trying hard to move away from rote learning, it is still very much the norm.
The result is that when you get into the workplace you expect your manager to tell you how to do EVERYTHING. We’ll tolerate this for awhile, but it gets annoying quick. In the working world, as managers, problems are just about the only thing we deal with. If it is not a problem, we aren’t too concerned about it, because we get paid to fix problems.
We want YOU to help us with this. Yes, you’re new and we totally get that you have never seen the problems the workplace throws at you. It’s fine that you’re confounded by them. Here’s a tip, though: we managers HATE it when you just bring us problems without context and without any suggested fixes. Don’t get me wrong, I am not suggesting you are responsible for solving problems. Rather, it is just really pleasing when we managers see that you have at least thought for one second about potential solutions. Even if your solutions are way wrong, that you have come to with a problem AND options for solving it DELIGHTS us.
You’ll encounter all manner of problems in the workplace. Here’s a sequence for managing them. First, think about what goals these issues pose a threat to. Next, try and think about all the ways you might to solve them. Then pick one and do it.
Most of all, when confronted with a problem don’t just dump it on your boss. Instead, bring it to him/her with possible options (a.k.a actions) to solve it. Even if you’re suggestions are so far wrong, they’ll be appreciated.