My first job out of college was at a PR firm, and I learned lots of lessons that have stuck with me. I learned that crying at work is more than OK — it reinforces our humanity and can actually build bridges. I learned to treat clients with “a little more sugar and a little less vinegar,” as my boss freely told me. I learned that people actually like when you show your true colors. I learned that bad ideas sometimes lead to the best ideas. And I learned to always read the morning headlines.
The principals of the firm were emphatic about the importance of never being caught off guard by a client and often asked us about random news events to make sure we’d at least skimmed the main papers that day. They believed in the value of connecting different areas (health + tech + politics + fashion, etc) in order to generate ideas and deeply understand the societal trends in which our clients’ businesses functioned. I’ve found this to be true not just in PR, but in every job and any relationship I’ve ever had. Being in the know helps. And more importantly, it’s fun and expanding and funny and sad and human.
I love this lesson because I feel like it’s given me a lifelong license to do something fun and personal (read about mainstream AND weird stuff) in the spirit of work. Today’s reality is that fun + personal + work are becoming increasingly intertwined, so this now feels more natural than it did 10 years ago.
So how does this look for me? Simple. I try to read every morning for 30 minutes or so over breakfast before diving into the day. I get most of my news via Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn feeds, and I also read a few newsletters that I think have great variety:
How about you? Do you spend focused time reading every day, and if so, what blogs/newsletters/papers/magazines that you love and couldn’t get through your day without?
P.S. If you want to justify your social media habit at work, here’s a great article linking social media use and productivity!