Close

Half the people I know think I bake cakes for a living while the other half thinks I jump out of them at parties, writes Miss Meet.

The typical conversation around my occupation goes something like this:

Me: I am an event project manager.

The interrogator: You are so lucky. That is such a great job! I’ve always wanted to do that.

And of course it is a great job, that’s why I do it.

However, the conversation usually shifts at a rapid pace from my definition of my great job to envy on the part of my interrogator. They usually cannot express enough how they wish they could also spend time hobnobbing with celebrities, drinking cocktails, dining in expensive restaurants, travelling to exotic destinations and getting lots of freebies.

I am always in two minds about whether or not I should reveal the truth or let them keep me on that social pedestal where they have placed me in their mind. But, in an attempt to not overcrowd the meeting and event industry with overzealous event managers and job seekers with a false sense of occupation, I then choose to set the record straight about what I actually do for a living.

The truth
I orchestrate platforms on which my clients meet their objectives. A lot of time is spent in briefing meetings, preparing project plans, production schedules and event manuals, nothing too glamorous about this.

Management of an event’s logistics entails anything from attending to aspects of risk, safety and security management to literally being on your hands and knees moments before guests arrive at the event, putting the last minute sponsor items into a goodie bag.

Supplier management forms a massive part of what I do. Personally, I find this part hugely rewarding as it gives me the opportunity to:

  • Meet and engage with people. Just that you know, very few of my suppliers employ celebrities, so this is not the ideal hunting ground for that celeb-hungry groupie in case you were wondering.
  • Apply my resourcefulness.
  • Troubleshoot and brainstorm with the team of suppliers on implementation and roll-out of activities and actions.

Event administration is another element that can take up a lot of time. This entails, for example, RSVP and registration management, financial management and tracking and the all-so-desirable filing, faxing and copying. Yes, believe it or not, event managers file their own papers!

The actual event, which appears to many to be a golden opportunity of glitz and glam for the event manager, is usually a blend of extreme multitasking, production schedule management, resource management and the resolving of the odd crisis that is bound to pop its head out. This is paired with complete and utter sensory overload which is caused by a non-stop array of phone calls combined with staff, guests and suppliers, all trying to get your undivided attention at the same time.

And if the above explanation does not suffice, then I usually invite my interrogator to work with me on an event to get the complete feel of what it entails. I can also recommend this as a test to the potential employer. Taking someone on-site at an event usually sifts the social groupie from the serious and passionate event manager and coordinator.

After all, doesn’t the proof lie in the pudding … or is it in the cake?