After five and a half years, today is my last day as a Yeti
By Rich Leigh on Friday, June 7, 2013
After almost five and a half incredible years at 10 Yetis PR Agency, I’ve made the decision to head east, for the bright lights of London.
I joined the agency on January 28th, 2008, if memory serves, as a 20 year old. I’d spent nearly 2 years working in fitness, after a painfully yet mercifully-short tenure working at Barclays, where I realised the world of banking was not for me. With a young daughter (I’m one of those teenage dads the Mail warns you about), the loss of clients as a result of the recession had me concerned. I was conscious I needed something a bit more stable and, after a fortuitous call intended for my then-girlfriend, now-wife, who’d tentatively applied for a role at the young agency but found they weren’t quite ready to employ, I blagged my way into an interview.
Every time 10 Yetis co-founder Andy tells the story of my interview with him and wife and co-founder Jilly, it becomes a tiny bit more embellished to the point I come out of it sounding like a cross between Gordon Gecko and Stuart Baggs The Brand, but, in short, I interviewed as an inexperienced cocky shit and I leave the agency as a somewhat more experienced, (marginally) less cocky shit. He’ll tell how I told them all the things they were doing wrong and convinced them I was the answer to all their problems, but, as I remember it, I simply said he should be going back to new business enquiries he was letting slip through the net. In honesty, I barely knew what PR was or what it entailed and without a degree, I suspected I would likely be the least viable candidate. As it turns out, tenacity and ballsiness are somewhere near the top of the list of desired attributes for a PR and, I was given a job as one of the company’s first two employees after penning a test press release and proofing a deliberately mistake-laden press release Andy had written, in which I spotted more typos than he’d told me there were.
I told you I was a cocky shit.
To say I enjoyed the job would be an understatement. As I learned more about what a PR person did day-to-day, it started to become more than a job and as many that work in the industry will attest to; I didn’t mind taking it home with me to ensure clients were pleased. Andy seemed to enjoy teaching me the ropes too – something that once included convincing me that a tech story that would, in hindsight, barely be of interest to the client’s mum would be worth pitching to The Guardian’s Charles Arthur. One phone call later and I realised it was all part of a plan to cut me down to size. That or, now knowing Andy as I do, he was possibly just bored one day and wanted to see my face drop as I was shouted off the phone.
I’d love to tell you I convinced Charles that the story was one for him, but, as most of you likely already know, the chances of this are slim to none at best (unless you do the PR for Apple – ZING) and I was the recipient of a hanging up vicious enough to register on the Richter scale. (Incidentally, we came up with a light-hearted award scheme – The CRAPPs – in honour of everybody’s favourite grump Graun scribbler).
I won’t bore you with every tale, but, along the way, there have been many highlights, including a formal warning for drunkenly pitching a client to an also-drunk, particularly unimpressed (and mercilessly short) Richard Hammond at an event we were sponsoring (my heart was in the right place), arranging for the ordination of one of my colleagues from a dodgy website (she can now, quite genuinely, conduct marriages if she so wished, like Joey from Friends) and having my brother call, pretending to be a policeman, to say I’d been arrested and would likely be held on remand and as such, wouldn’t be in that day. You can probably already guess the last one was an April Fool’s prank, so full of holes – what jobsworth copper would be kind enough to inform a detainee’s workplace he wouldn’t be making it to work? – that it was destined never to work. It did.
Throughout the five years and a bit years, I occasionally did work, too.
So, it is with a heavy heart that, after making some amazing friends at 10 Yetis and finding great friends in Jill and Andy (so much so that we’ve just started a business together we’ll continue to work on, bloggabase, and he was my best man), I have made the decision to leave. It was a hard decision to make, especially as it’ll mean time each week away from my wife, two young children and the rest of my family, but it’s one I’m incredibly excited about as I feel it’ll help me become as good a PR as I hope I can be.
I am very pleased to say that I’ll be joining Frank PR as a senior account director, starting on Monday the 17th, splitting my time, at least initially, between London and Gloucester. As some reading this will know, I’ve something of a passion for cunning stunts (tee hee) and creative campaigns and Frank is the perfect playground to work on this type of PR. I hope to bring my appreciation for the ways social media and search marketing continue to change the world of marketing and marry it all together to create bullshit-free, measurable work for clients. Who knows, I may get to cut my teeth properly on personal PR, too. I only hope they don’t mind the smell of tuna, because I eat it like it’s going out of fashion (it is).
I will, very, very genuinely, miss each and every person at 10 Yetis. People from the wider world I’ve spoken to that follow our tweets, or see us out together have often said that it seems like a good place to work and that we seem a close-knit team. It really is and we really are. As with every good company, it’s the people that make it and from colleagues – now, though, just ‘friends’ – through to our clients, it’s been a pleasure and, I’d like to thank you for putting up with me. Jill and Andy* – I can’t begin to thank you enough.
*Andy hates both sentimental stuff and ‘long form’ content, so, umm, yeah, this is awkward. For him, I mean.