The summer of 2007, I volunteered as a marketing intern at my hometown radio station. My job was to attend local movie premieres (the kindof events you can win tickets for if you’re the fifth caller to the station), check tickets, and hand out swag. I’d even get to watch the film afterward. While watching the best of 2007’s summer movies was a good way to escape the heat, it didn’t pay my college tuition, so I took a part-time job waitressing at a steakhouse.
After a summer in the hot kitchens and a few years working with journalists, it occurred to me that a few months with wood-polished tables and Surf ‘n’ Turf specials prepared me as much for media relations as my more formal training. Beyond learning a few tricks for getting grease stains out of Oxford shirts, my time at the steakhouse allowed me to work with a variety of different people in an environment where each request was time-sensitive. The relationships between customers, restaurant management, and chefs are not unlike those of a journalist, PR staff, and a brand.