A State of Good Uncertainty
As I sit here attempting to write my end of the summer memo recapping my summer internship at Prosek, my mind takes me back to a presentation I heard at the Council of PR Firms Internfest forum in New York City this summer. When pondering what I can say about my experience here at Prosek, the comment Deirdre Breakenridge, adjunct professor at NYU and CEO of Pure Performance Communications, made about “reaching a state of good uncertainty” keeps replaying in my mind.
Throughout my internship, I found myself wondering what it really means to “reach a state of good uncertainty.” How could being uncertain be good? I always thought uncertainty was a bad and extremely scary thing. But I think I have come close to figuring out what Deirdre means. I thought about the reasons why I decided to intern at Prosek when I had no prior experience working in finance or at a public relations agency. I've had an internship before, but it was corporate and didn’t allow me to focus on PR. For seven summers I came back to NYC to spend my days at the same company, and it wasn’t until my last two summers that I realized I was too comfortable in that space, and should probably try something new (and of course with trying something new comes uncertainty).
Without much of a plan, I accepted an internship at Prosek and moved myself out of the comforts of NYC for the summer to Connecticut. I had no car and only one friend in CT, but despite these challenges, I embraced this unfamiliar opportunity with an open mind. During my first week, I said to myself “Janelle, what are you doing?" And other days I asked, “Janelle, can you handle what’s in store for you today?”
Everyday I got that tickling feeling in my stomach that alerted me that I was entering an unfamiliar place, where everything didn’t come naturally; I actually had to work at it. I didn’t always know what was going to happen or how I was going to get a project done, but at the same time this feeling of uncertainty motivated me on a daily basis. Figuring out how to get the job done was an ongoing learning process. The experience was rewarding not because the answers fell into my lap easily, but because I had to challenge myself to find the answers. Of course I would have wanted to be a pro immediately, but the feeling of uncertainty pushed me out of my comfort zone in a good way.
I didn’t write this blog post just to give props to Prosek for helping me “reach a state of good uncertainty” (although Prosek certainly helped), I wrote it because I think Breakenridge’s comment applies to many life situations. Do you still get that tickling feeling in your stomach when given a new assignment or client? If so, you are in the right place. If not, Breakenridge would suggest taking a step back and evaluating where you are in your life. Perhaps you have become complacent and are no longer a student to the field. I believe that we should ABG - "Always Be Growing." There is so much out there to learn and experience, but sometimes it seems as if the innumerable opportunities before us are just out of reach. Should we allow ourselves become complacent and comfortable, or should we push past the supposed limitations and reach beyond our comfort zones? I think these questions are worth reflecting on throughout our lives and careers especially.
As my internship at Prosek comes to a close, I have become more familiar with my work and role here. My "state of good uncertainty" will continuously assure my growth, motivation and most importantly, my certainty.