I learned an interesting life lesson today that I was not expecting, but those tend to be the most memorable. It has me feeling a lot of mixed emotions, so I figured the best idea would to just write about it and see where my ramblings lead. So here’s the backstory:
I’m in an advanced public relations course and we got our first client a few weeks ago to create a campaign for. The client was a non-profit organization that basically helps other non-profits run better by training people to be on non-profit boards and things of that nature. Our groups were big (8 people) so it proved to be difficult to get opinions heard, but all in all it was a decent experience save for a few people being very dominating. They actually really got on my nerves, so I made a point to find my niche in the group so as to not have to interact with them too much. I put myself to the task of creating these sort-of advertisements that the company could use on their website, in their offices, on display tables, etc. and got a lot of positive feedback from my group. I talked with a few people from the group and we started working on this idea of building and tools so I ran with that theme. The few dominating people (of course) positioned themselves as the group leaders, but they seemed to like the work I was doing as well. They provided suggestions and asked me to write up information on them for the presentation. Here’s a few of the ads I came up with for the client:
So the big pitch to the client was tonight and I was pretty excited to finally be done working on this project. I wasn’t nervous because I wouldn’t be one of the people presenting, so I could just enjoy witnessing all our hard work come together. When I met up with my group before the presentation and got to look at the assembled packet we were giving to the client, nothing I had done over the past three weeks was in it. Besides some copy on a flyer that was completely different than one I had made a week early, there was no evidence I had any hand in the presentation.
We’re graded on a group level so I wasn’t worried about my grade being affected or anything. Above anything else I was hurt. I just do not understand why all my advertisements were excluded from the presentation. I was too shocked and too much of a coward to just come out and ask why my advertisements weren’t in the presentation. It makes no sense to me what would bring about the dominating figures in my group to just leave out things everyone seemed so in agreement on a few days before.
I wanted to cry. During the presentation I just sat there trying to figure out why. Like I usually do in these situations, I started trying to look for a lesson in the situation and came to a conclusion. I was supposed to take something out of this experience. That sometimes (and definitely in the advertising/PR world) I’ll work my ass off on a project and the client will want to go in a different direction or something will happen to make my work for naught. Although in this particular situation my work should have been used seeing as it’s a group project as well as a college course that’s supposed to allow us to learn and explore, but it wasn’t. I also learned (yet again) that people can be sneaky assholes for no apparent reason.
It sucks and I wish I would have had the guts to just straight out ask why it happened, but I didn’t. And now that I’ve thought about it, asking could very well just cause more humiliation. So I guess it comes down to how badly I want to know, and if I’m willing to hear the answer. Because if they could be so ballsy as to not use a single thing, I can only imagine the less-than-kind things they’ll say when I ask why they weren’t used. Or worse yet, the half-baked lie they’d fling at me about how the advertisements “just didn’t fit with the flow of the presentation” or “couldn’t be tied in the right way” just to make me go away.
I haven’t decided exactly how I’m going to handle/deal with what happened tonight in the next week, and I’m still pretty shocked that it even happened. But I guess this stuff happens from time to time and all you can do is learn from it…