What My Friends Think I Do
By Elly Cassar – Perfect Events Guru
When I meet new people and tell them about my job I mostly get the response: ‘Oh your job sounds amazing!’, ‘How cool! You get to go to all those amazing events and meet famous people!’. What they don’t realise is I don’t actually ‘attend’ the events and rub shoulders in the VIP parties. I’m working. I’ve had 8 hours sleep across the last week and I’ve been on my feet for at least 15 hours straight! (And I’m short so I’m in heels most of the time… #shortgirlproblems) I’m responsible for everything that’s happening and have an entire project team looking to me to lead them. No pressure!
Being an Event Manager is not a 9-5 job and often I need to put various aspects of my life on hold to commit to a project. In the few weeks before an event I basically go into social hiding, not getting time to exercise, see friends or family or even make myself dinner. I have more food in my desk draw than I do at home! The events industry is a fast paced, high-pressure and exhilarating environment. My job is to coordinate every single aspect of an event; from planning and running every meeting, developing a full entertainment program, and even ensuring the VIP’s 90 year old grandma can get up stairs with her zimmer frame to the after party! If s**t hits the fan, it’s on me.
Event Management was ranked number 5 in the Forbes 10 most stressful jobs for 2016. Coming in behind professions like Enlisted Military Personnel, Firefighter, Airline Pilot, and Police Officer. It got me thinking, why do we do this to ourselves?
Event Management is a diverse and challenging role, the words ‘Event Manager’ don’t really encapsulate the many roles we tend to play day to day. I read a great blog post recently; The 8 Jobs Event Profs Do Every Day. This article summed up the many roles or ‘hats’ we need to wear on a day to day basis. We continue to educate ourselves beyond our day jobs so that we can perform better, so we can provide a multi-disciplinary service and point of difference that can’t be found anywhere else.
A lot of time and attention to detail in the initial planning phase is the key to a successful event. Developing timelines, connecting with all stakeholders to ensure we understand their vision and resourcing the project to ensure it runs smoothly. Almost every day something will happen to throw us off course. Flowers start falling out of the ceiling installation, power failures, or talent cancelling at the last minute, obstacles are always hit and have to be overcome. This is where I have to jump in and workout how we are going to adapt to these changes and still produce an amazing event.
The reason I am an Event Manager can’t be explained through Instagram pictures and listing off which celebrities I encounter. The reason we commit our lives to this industry and work harder on our professional development to succeed, is passion. The true reward comes from the goals I achieve through the challenges I face.
I do this job because I am passionate about creating events that reach their goals and create unforgettable experiences. I’ve put my blood, sweat and tears into making every second of that run sheet perfect, worked on my budget so meticulously that I’ve come in $30k under, and managed fundraising activities that have raised hundreds of thousands of dollars. This kind of effort and enthusiasm doesn’t come from just turning up to a ‘job’ every day. It comes from doing something that you love and live for.
The high I get on an event day, when the years or months of work has come to a head and the event is a resounding success – that moment is electric. When all stakeholders have the same smile of relief, satisfaction and pride that we have pulled it off. That’s when I realise I’ve done it; I’ve overcome each and every challenge, I’ve reached my goals. Although my mother may need to call and check that I’m still alive because she hasn’t heard from me in weeks, I’m doing something that makes a difference and positively affects countless people.
So next time you’re at an amazing event and having the time of your life, if you see the Event Manager running around with their clipboard, maybe get them some chocolate, a coffee or a bottle of water, chances are they haven’t eaten or re-hydrated all day. The world of events isn’t as glamorous as it seems, but I wouldn’t change it for the world!