Part 1:Types of Jobs and Organisations in the Event Industry
Part 2: Aspects of Working in Events
Part 3: Ways into the Event Industry

What are the best and worst aspects of working in the event industry?

Best (why work in events?):

1. Making People Happy
Seeing guests enjoying themselves and getting great feedback, is in my opinion the most rewarding parts of working in events. When I used manage a venue, I organised personal events for local people, like Birthday Parties, Engagements, Weddings, Funerals and Christenings. These were really important events in their lives, so everybody at the venue worked their socks off to ensure that every part of each event exceeded expectations.

One event that springs to mind is a funeral that we organised. Funerals are obviously extremely sad occasions. But one of the best feelings in the world was after the funeral when Joe (the husband of the deceased) thanked me for our hard work and said that he literally couldn’t have imagined the day going any better – I promise that being a part of something so special and important to someone is amazing!

2. Variety of the Job
Working in the event industry offers so much variety where most days are different.

3. Creativity
I particularly enjoy the creative parts involved in my job, such as coming up with ideas.

4. Travel
I’ve seen more parts of the UK through work than I ever have. Sure I’m not relaxing whilst there, but you can still see quite a bit of a city when working.

5. Development
I really enjoy learning new things. I have found that working in events I am continually learning from the people around me, those I come across in the industry and from what I read.

6. Interaction With People (Clients, Suppliers, Participants and the Media)
Working in events means that you’ll have to deal with very different types of people, from a Sales Manager at a city centre five star hotel to an instructor at an outdoor activity centre in the middle of nowhere – and you’ll make some great friends.

7. Fun
Yes it is. Not always, but most of the time.

8. Challenging
Fast-paced and an exciting environment where you’re constantly dealing with difficult situations.

9. Visit Incredible Venues
I guess this one depends on the individual. Through work, I spend a lot of my time visiting beautiful hotels and venues in stunning settings, all over the country. I’m easily impressed by architecture, decor and the stories that I’m told whilst walking around the buildings.

10. You Get To Experience Everything
A perk of working in events is being invited to many functions and parties ‘familiarisation trips’ where organisers experience venues and activities first hand.

Worst (why you shouldn’t work in events…):

1. Stressful
Thankfully my job isn’t as stressful as others, but some people won’t leave the office until 10 o’clock at night when working to tight deadlines set by their clients, or will hardly sleep in the build up to an event.

2. Dependent On Others
In the event industry, very few organisations are able to operate completely independently. The event industry is a network of event management companies, suppliers, venues and people working together – relying on, and influenced by each other. So if something happens to one, or there are changes in the external environment, such as the recession or a new trend this can result in a kind of domino effect – with some able to cope, and some smaller organisations not. For example if a client decides not to book their annual event, this not only has an impact on the event organiser, but also on the suppliers and venues they use.

3. Competitive
Events is a highly competitive industry for jobs and business – where so many organisations offer identical services.

One thing I really like about the business model of the company I work for, is that because it’s an agency we don’t own any kit – therefore we can’t and don’t copy others. If someone introduces something new to the market – if our companies are compatible and after testing, we can then offer it to our clients and they can run it, so nobody loses out and the client benefits from the experts running their part of the event – but recommended by a company they trust.

Our position means that we can lead product developments with some of the suppliers we work with and trust.

4. Everyone Thinks They Can Do Your Job
Planning one birthday party is not the same as organising and managing several different types of events, at different stages, at once.

My dad is a perfect example. He works in demolition (and has worked extremely hard all of his life), I don’t think I can remember him ever organising an event, however even he sometimes makes suggestions when I visit – such as “hey Mike, there’s a bloke I know who owns a couple of quad bikes – I think you should give him a call” now we would never just organise a quad biking event “I noticed a nice place just outside of Bristol – it would be perfect for what you do” for what it’s worth – it wasn’t. Usually I just humour him and say I’ll check it out, but I don’t give my Father tips on how to knock down a buildings – because I wouldn’t have a clue.

Working in events, you’ll find that once you tell someone what you do, everybody knows someone or something good(ish) for events and they’ll start trying to think up solutions for you.

5. Disrupted Social Life
I don’t know how they do it, but our suppliers spend most of their time on the road or on trains, working weekends and evenings (as well as weekdays), eating poorly and not getting as much sleep as the rest of us. Be prepared for this.

6. Party Planner Label
By some, event management is not seen as a ‘proper’ profession and should just be a hobby or an event should be organised in spare time. If those people were to sit in our office for a day or spend some time shadowing our suppliers, they would soon learn to appreciate the amount of work that goes into organising event after event and how much knowledge, experience and expertise an event organiser has.

7. Dealing With Difficult People
Just like it is lovely interacting with clients, participants, suppliers and the media – sometimes it can be horrible.

8. No Testing – Only One Chance To Get It Right
An Event is not A Product. So unlike a product, where you can build a prototype to see what it looks like, feel it and test to ensure that everything works properly before it’s launched, there is that added pressure that you have to get it right first time round.

9. You Can’t Please Everybody
Even though you and your client may be passionate about a project – you’ll find that not everybody likes the same things or may feel the same way about what you are doing, and people have different expectations (especially if you are not involved in setting the expectations in the first place). You may be asked to organise something for a really outgoing bunch of people but were not told about the really quiet person in the group who is easily embarrassed, or something could be happening in someone’s life that troubles them at the time or it could just be as simple as the person is in a bad mood. You can’t please everyone – done!

10. Sometimes things just go wrong
No matter how much planning you do, sometimes things just go wrong. See post Sometimes Things Just Go Wrong for an example.

Click here for Part 3: Ways into the Event Industry

michael

Michael Chidzey is the chief juicer of eventjuice and heads up marketing at Chillisauce, an event company based in London, UK. He also blogs on several websites and is a visiting lecturer in events management at London Metropolitan University.Follow Michael on Twitter @michaelchidzey

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