Advice From a Planner: Don’t Plan It


By Chris Devadatta

Many interview questions crack me up, but my favorite has to be, “Where do you see yourself in “X” number of years?”

It’s remarkable a.) how different everyone’s answers are and b.) what we believe can get us to this goal. A proud planner myself (I don’t go on vacation without every day scheduled), I had my goal in mind, and how I’d get there. Little did I know I’d be sent down a path that I never predicted.

I went though it all: interviews, networking, the whole gambit. If I worked enough, I thought, I’d get a full-time job six months after graduating college in June 2015. Instead, I interned for over one year at multiple PR agencies. It wasn’t until October 2016 that I got hired full-time as an AC at Ketchum New York – working on the Mastercard and Frito-Lay accounts.

Did I ever think I’d be working for such clients in the biggest city in America? Absolutely not. Am I grateful that this happened? Absolutely.

I’ve learned much from this experience, but the biggest takeaways:

  • Don’t plan too much. While you should be proactive in your professional growth (I couldn’t have gotten here without who and what I knew), don’t pressure yourself too much. The PR industry is an incredibly fluid and dynamic industry, and – for better or worse – it’s constantly changing. Think about what’s best for you, and have an idea of what you want, but be open to new possibilities.
  • It’s not easy. I won’t sugar-coat it: moving to New York is hard. Housing is incredibly competitive (and expensive!), and you’ll likely have to save money and leave your roots. If you can, dedicate at least a month to looking for a place – especially if you’re not working. It’s difficult, but possible – as long as you (pardon this cliché) see the light at the end of the tunnel. Literally speaking, picture yourself coming out of the Holland or Lincoln Tunnel into Manhattan – it’s quite a sight.
    • Helpful resources include: Gypsy Housing, Naked Apartments, StreetEasy, Trulia and any personal resources in NY. Also, consider a broker – they can help find cheap and nice places (although they might want you to look with a roommate)

  • Who do you know? Constantly ask yourself that question. Your best friend from HS? A casual college acquaintance? A distant family member? Hit them up. Every person you know, even if it’s not that well, will make this enormous city seem smaller and less overwhelming.
  • I often think: what if I did it differently so I could have been hired six months after graduating, instead of being a “super intern”? However, I answer this question with the adage of living for today. Think about your future, but don’t live for it. It’s amazing how fate will steer you elsewhere – and you might like it more. Just go with it! 

    P.S. to Chicagoans:

    • Generally, winters aren’t as cold here
    • Good luck finding deep dish, Chicago dogs or anything-Cubs
    • CTA is not that bad

      chris-devadatta A native of Naperville, Illinois, Chris Devadatta is a graduate of the PR/AD program at DePaul University. He now is Account Coordinator at Ketchum New York.

    Page 1 of 2 | Next page