Monday, August 09, 2010

The Ladder or the Tree

As I tie up loose ends on projects and prepare to toss my LS graduation hat up in the air, I realize how quickly my life is moving along. Grade school is still a vivid memory, high school seems like yesterday, and college is now catching my heels. The 10 weeks I've spent at Liggett this summer have passed all too quickly, and I'm starting to think about where this experience will take me.

Flash back two years ago and I'm sitting in philosophy class drawing pictures of ladders and trees. We're talking about Darwin. Did life progress on this planet like a ladder, with each organism's complexity slowly increasing? Or did life evolve like a tree--different branches for different species? Each path moves forward, yet each route takes life in a different direction.

One day an executive in the LS creative department asked me, "How many times do you think you will change your profession in your life time?" Stumped, I answered, "I honestly don't know." But after he left I sat there and pondered over this question. When I describe myself to employers, I make note of my flexible skill set. I can write, analyze and am knowledgeable about PR and marketing tactics. But I think visually. I'm artistic. While graphic design isn't the profession I prefer, my artistic talent will always be a skill that I'll never stop using. It's just a matter of figuring out how my visual communication design minor will fit into my future dream job.

Thankfully, my internship advisers at LS arranged a day for me to experience the creative department. While I'm still unsure of which department I prefer, I'm grateful for the opportunity to be exposed to a different work environment. It's opportunities like this that will help me define myself as an employee.

My internship has truly been an invaluable experience that will move my life forward. There is no doubt that the assignments at Liggett have strengthened my portfolio and bettered my writing skills overall. I've learned to readjust my writing styles to walk the talk of different brands. Research tasks have improved my analytical skills, and I now know what strategies to implement when searching for brands' PR and marketing platforms. Add media pitching, event planning, and writing case studies to the mix and I've got myself a whole new bag of tricks!

So the truth is, I don't know where this summer internship will take me. It may take me the route of the ladder, where I stay in brand management and continue to take steps on the same path. Or, I could sample different jobs and move to different branches--like the path of a tree. But no matter which route I choose, I know one thing is for sure--my experience at Liggett has helped me move "up."

Rachelle P.
Brand Management Intern
(Follow me on Twitter @rmpatsey)

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