Reprograming: a New Mindset and a Career Shift

By Rachel Yang, Account Executive

From giving up on a nursing degree to stepping away from journalism, I have taken a lot of detours in my life. Some may say I am lost, but I would argue that my route led me to exactly where I am supposed to be — The Hoffman Agency.

Before my career pivot, I covered protests, social welfare matters and education policies in Hong Kong. I was often approached and received pitches, emails, press releases from public relations professionals, so it seemed natural to make the leap to PR since my experience as a recovering journalist gives me the leverage to succeed. My thirst for knowledge contributed to my recent success at the University of Oregon’s Strategic Communication Graduate Study.

Now that I am on the other side of the communications equation, my journey as a storyteller continues. This time, instead of giving voice to the newsmakers, I am voicing for my clients. As an intern at Hoffman, my storytelling skills are coming in handy. Oftentimes, people associate PR with crisis management, but our practice is much more than that. It takes a team of dedicated communicators to create strategic plans, craft creative messages, set goals and objectives, and execute ideas. All the components of PR I have read in textbooks and research papers in school are coming alive, and I am learning to see everything from a PR perspective as I get my feet wet.

Rachel Yang pr

While the pace of PR moves slower than in the newsroom, there are some similarities, and that is the thrill of thinking on my feet and tackling challenges. Technology develops fast, so as a strategic communicator at a tech PR firm, I too, must roll with the punches and get myself familiar with all thing’s tech — just as I have adapted to working from home. The shift to remote school and work was difficult because I have always worked with people and find joy in the social connection as I go about my day. Having to onboard at a distance was not ideal, but the Hoffman team welcomed me with open arms. Everyone at the agency took extra steps to host regular check-ins to make sure I was connecting well with the teams and other interns.

Having to work from home took away the physical excitement of entering the office on my first day and meeting my coworkers in person, but the silver lining is getting to spend time with my 6-month-old son on my breaks and during lunchtime. As much as I wish he could see the world before COVID, for now, masks, rain cover and stroller walks through the park will do. Getting to watch him as he grows has been the upside of quarantine, and we have been exploring different parks and trails every chance we get.

With a new career path, new internship, new school term and a new title (mom), the learning curve is steep, but I am embracing the change and all the pieces are influencing my life positively. Come to think about it, I’ve really gained more than I’ve lost amid the pandemic and I am grateful for that.

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