I manage the German operations of DWPub, an international PR and media services company based in London, UK. Services offered by DWPub include an online research platform for journalists, a journalist directory, a press release distribution service, a media database and a media newsletter.
Founded in 1997 by former journalist Daryl Willcox, DWPub started out as a small company, initially serving the British PR and media sectors, but soon expanded its services to the German and French-speaking markets in Europe. DWPub now employs approximately 40 full-time staff members and has dedicated teams for the UK, French and German business segments.
I’ve been working for DWPub for almost two years and have recently moved into the position of Business Manager for the DACH region (Germany, Austria and Switzerland). In 2013, we launched an online research platform for journalists and PR professionals in Germany. While DWPub’s services have been established in Britain for over 15 years, it is still in the start-up phase in Germany. Much of my time is currently dedicated to further developing and adapting this service for the German-speaking market, and communicating with journalists and PRs about the new platform.
Around this time three years ago, on a Saturday morning in mid-February, I probably got up late to enjoy my one free day of the week, knowing that I would have to spend my Sunday marking papers, answering student emails, and preparing classes for my seminar in International Studies and my German language course. I was in my second year as a Visiting Fellow at the Bader International Study Centre, the UK-based campus of my alma mater, Queen’s University in Canada. Despite the heavy workload and long working hours, I loved teaching and research. But the uncertain job prospects as an academic made me think I was investing my energy in an increasingly lost cause. Over coffee I would think about what it would be like to have a regular income and not have to worry about what I was going to do and where I was going to be next year. And what it would be like to have an entire weekend to myself. Something had to change.
I had the option to continue my Visiting Fellowship for another year, but decided to move on. There I was, a PhD in German literature and film with eight years of teaching and research experience in Canada, the UK and Germany, entering the private sector job market. I knew the transition was by no means going to be easy. Not only was I about to change careers, I was planning to do this in a country I had only recently moved to. While I spent quite some time educating myself about the labour market in the UK, and the opportunities for humanities graduates, I also had to build up contacts in relevant sectors from scratch. You always hear about how important it is to maintain networks and to know people who can vouch for you, but you won’t know what it really means until you experience a situation where no one knows you, nor the university you graduated from or anything about the field you spent researching for the past eight years.
In the end, it came down to a gradual shift of my knowledge and skills to an applied environment, and creating a convincing new career narrative for the business world. My teaching experience was re-branded as presentation and communication skills and implied leadership qualities, and my work as a researcher in humanities served as evidence for my critical and analytical thinking skills, combined with creativity and cultural awareness.
Over the next five days, I will blog about my work week at DWPub and further explore what parts of my academic background I apply on a daily basis, and what new knowledge and skills I have developed in my current role as a Business Manager. This week will start with preparations for the launch of our company blog in Germany. Join me tomorrow to hear more about it.