Contemplating becoming an Event Manager as a career option?
Imagine giving birth to a baby, while simultaneously balancing a pyramid of 25 glasses in your left hand and juggling 15 balls with your right. Now imagine if you were doing all this on a treadmill set at a speed of 8. Now multiply this experience by 10. Now imagine doing this every day of your life, for a living.
Welcome to the world of Event Management.
In my long, roller coaster career in this industry, I have come to the conclusion that event management is:
- Probably the toughest job on earth
- Probably the least respected job on earth
- Enjoyed by masochists like me, who choose to sacrifice family, friends and health in order to create a perfect show that is enjoyed by everyone except themselves
- A career option for fools!
The first question I ask people who want to make a career in event management is ‘Why events?’ The first answer I get is ‘I want to meet celebrities, manage artistes and organize fashion shows’.
Frankly, everyone categorizes event managers into one of these 3 areas. They assume that an event is all about hanging around with the who’s who and getting a chance to work on exciting stuff.
They cannot be further from the truth!
The life of an event manager is about working long dreary hours… burning the midnight oil in order to present a temporary, but ‘out-of-the-world’ experience for a bunch of strangers who you might never meet again in your life.
Your best friends would be Hotel Management trainees, Carpenters, Electricians, Technicians and Unskilled labour. You would be caught in the crossfire between a client’s needs and the mandates from the venue, authorities, vendors and artiste tantrums.
You would regularly work for three days at a stretch, day and night, with no breaks. In fact, very often, the build up to an event is so stressful & strenuous that at the end of it you are left wondering ‘3 months of preparation for this?’
So the next logical question is, why have people like me been in the industry for so long? Why is it still so attractive?
There is one simple reason for that…
It is probably the only job in the world, which can offer you so much job satisfaction. Everything that happens, happens because of you.
Success or failure, is in your hands. Experiencing an event unfold as per your plan is the most satisfying feeling that one can experience. Seeing the successful completion of an event, despite your body being wrecked, your system screaming for rest, every joint aching, brings a feeling of mental satisfaction that no other job can offer.
It is the difference between watching a movie and acting in it. The action is real… the action is unfolding around you… and most importantly you hold the controls.
Be prepared to take the brickbats with the roses though, because not everything goes according to plan. As I often say, all you need for an event is a stage, sound, lighting and models to sashay down the ramp. That’s it! Apart from a million other details!
In this industry, we firmly believe in ‘Murphy’s Law’ which states that ‘Anything that can go wrong… will!’
The ability to be a great event manager, is about the ability to second guess Murphy, developing backup plans for every element that is part of the event, because you just cannot take anything for granted.
I have seen shows where projectors have short circuited, lights have blown up, sound systems have stopped working… I’ve even experienced the entire stage setup fly off in a storm.
In my entire career I have yet to see a ‘perfect’ event. Though most of the audience (even the client) would never be able to make out, the trained eye is able to spot shortcomings in the event immediately.
It is never perfect. And it is precisely this that we all strive for. Perfection.
This is the quest that keeps all of us going.
If you’re contemplating a career in event management follow these simple steps.
Step 1: Get your head checked
No one in their right minds should think about this as a career option. See a shrink; get their certification that you are fine.
If you are still keen, follow Step 2:
Take a long hard look at the proposition that the career offers. Study the industry carefully. Relook at it from every possible angle (in industry jargon – do a 360 degree analysis)
If you are still keen, follow Step 3:
Think of what you will sacrifice. This job requires a lot of time, effort and commitment. Also because the industry sees high attrition rates, the pay is not very good in the early career stages.
If you’re still convinced about it… welcome to the industry. I’m sure we need more people like you.
Get ready for hell… After all, happiness is not the only thing in life!