This from Melanie West, Senior Account Manager at inScience Communications in Chester
Life in a Cheshire countryside Med Comms agency is never dull, and today is no exception. The day started with stopping to allow the cows from the local farm to cross the road outside the office… very cute!
Then the real work begins – reading through my emails, prioritising any urgent actions and making my to-do list for the day/week. I then need to organise three separate phone calls with vaccine experts from Thailand, Singapore, France and India, which is no mean feat as you will probably know! Working across five different time zones brings numerous challenges including language barriers and etiquette nuances, but this deserves an article all of its own as you will appreciate.
My phone has rung seven times already with various client queries (luckily all of them straight forward today). My first meeting of the day has been re-scheduled which might just give me a fighting chance to finalise a financial tracker which needs sending by the end of the day… oh, but wait… two sets of page proofs come in at once, they need briefing/checking and re-submitting today, authors have approved a manuscript for submission so this will need briefing to Esther Dodge, our Senior Editorial Assistant, one of our financial systems is down so I need to liaise with our IT department to get that re-booted, my timesheet needs completing and submitting from last week (oops!), I have a 1-2-1 meeting I need to prepare for, supplier invoices to approve, client invoices to raise, authors to chase, status sheets to update, sales reports to prepare, revenue reports to complete, sales to approve, project codes to create… and so the day progresses.
Some days in Med Comms are really meeting heavy. As well as the necessary client and author calls, we have internal status meetings to schedule everyone’s work and to ensure that nobody is overloaded or, on the rare occasion, underworked. I try to leave at least one day a week without any meetings to ensure that I catch up on emails/admin; on average I receive approximately 250 emails a week, but probably send a lot more. The meeting-free day is something I long for and rarely happens, but when it does it is one of my highlights of the week (sad, I know).
As we are in the midst of congress season, my event organising/delivering colleagues are in and out of the office continuously. As Philly George returns from her sixth meeting this year (ASCO, Chicago), Verity Renowden is just about to leave for her seventh trip (ESH, Milan), Debbie Burden, Cathy Baker and Rachel Salt are preparing for an Investigator’s meeting next week in Japan, Amy Evans has just returned from a New York trip (pleasure not business, and is already booking her next one!), so the office never seems to be full during the Summer months, but it does mean that we get some great treats on our ‘bird table’ when they return.
At this time of year some of us like to unwind by venturing down the country lanes for lunchtime walks (or some of us like to punish ourselves with a run instead), which means we get to unwind a little and see a few sites you wouldn’t normally get to see in the cities. The cows are always curious and head over for a chat, Neil Godlieb and Jon Roberts witness the occasional swarm of bees trying to find a hive for the summer, the bunnies are multiplying before our eyes in the fields and the resident woodpeckers are eating all of the food from the feeder outside the window next to Phil Jones’ desk.
I feel lucky to work in such a beautiful location and with some awesome people. It is tough work but life in Med Comms is never dull, every day is different and you learn something new every day!! Awesome!