GMG Network’s Jayne McFahn gives some insider insights into working in the events industry.
People outside of the events industry often say things to me like:
“An awards show? Oh that must be so much fun!”
“Another five-star hotel? You must be sick of them!”
“You’re off to Paris for an event? That’s just a holiday isn’t it?”
“What freebies did you get me from the exhibition?”
And the like…those of you on the inside will know exactly what I mean.
And to be honest, it is fun, but you have to be a special kind of person to really enjoy it. What noone tells you about before you get bitten by the events/hospitality bug is the long hours, lack of sleep, ever-increasing bags under your eyes, crew food that generally consists of lasagne and chips (although this week at Sofitel T5 there was salad, fruit & vegetables every day – thank you!) and the inability to properly plan your social life in advance just in case “that event” comes off.
We’re the first ones on-site in the morning and last ones to leave at the end of the event – be it a one day, one week or one month long run. We’re always smiling and nothing is too much trouble for us to take care of. Forgotten your phone charger? Don’t worry we’ve got spares – of every make of course. Can’t find the breakout room (the one that’s literally just to your right)? That’s okay, take our hand, we’ll show you. Have any dietary needs? We’ll make sure chef caters for you – oh you just don’t like vegetables? No that’s okay, of course we understand, it’s definitely a “requirement”.
And then there’s the last minute change of access time that means we have to do everything we planned in two hours less than we thought, the Wi-Fi that drops out just when we’re downloading that last minute presentation that just has to be included, or the nagging feeling that no matter how long we’ve been working to ensure that everything goes off perfectly, we’ll never stop to relax until the event is all done and dusted.
Working in events means wearing multiple hats every day (it’s a wonder we ever get cold really what with keeping all that heat in) we are equally event planner, producer, administrator, PA, parent, teacher, best friend, worst enemy, I.T manager, fire fighter and counsellor. We switch to the required part of our skillset at any given moment to make sure the job is done right – after all, we all have the mentality of want something done properly, do it yourself – that’s why we got into this job in the first place!
The other side of the coin though is all the great things about what we do. We make ideas come alive, we help to educate and entertain, we allow you to step back and enjoy the event be it a conference, awards show, exhibition, product launch, road show (or pretty much anything else you can think you), we spend our time making you look good.
What do we ask for in return? Nothing actually. All we need is the adrenaline rush of everything coming together, the lights go down, the host takes to the stage, those months of planning are finally all put into action and we love it, really we do, there is nothing more satisfying than those two little words at the end of an event “thank you”.
And do you know what? For all the sleepless nights, the early starts, the late finishes, the missed birthdays, weddings and parties, the cancelled plans, the bags under our eyes and diet of caffeine and sugar. We wouldn’t swap it for the world. We love the world of events, in fact it’s an addiction of ours, one that bit us hard many moons ago and doesn’t ever look like letting go. Job satisfaction? I’d say that’s glamorous in itself.
Any comments? Email Zoe Vernor