Starting a new job is always an adjustment, but when a Yankee starts working in the Deep South, each day is an adventure. Born and raised just outside of Boston, I recently relocated to the Gulf Coast, and JJPR was kind enough to take in this northerner as their new public relations account coordinator.
I’ve found the field of public relations to be the same anywhere—making media lists, writing content for clients and strategizing the best avenues for exposure. But in these first couple of weeks on the job, I’ve definitely noticed differences between office life in Alabama and Massachusetts.
That presentation isn’t “wicked good,” but it’s “real nice, y’all.”
Language is one of the biggest distinctions between my coworkers and me. I’m sure they’ve wondered what “wicked” is all about, or why I sometimes don’t pronounce my “R’s.” At the same time, I’m enthralled listening to them talk about buying “john johns” for their children while pulling out their “billfolds.” (Boston translation: “overalls” and “wallets”).
I’ve also had to learn how to pronounce local cities like “Bayou La Batre” correctly.
Side note: I can now better appreciate when people new to Massachusetts don’t know how to say towns like “Peabody” and “Gloucester.”
Chick-Fil-A is to the South what Dunkins is to the Northeast: You can always count on one being nearby, and it helps get you through your workday. Of course, trading my DD caramel swirl iced coffee for sweet tea and waffle fries hasn’t been easy on my waistline, but it’s sure been delicious.
Small Town vs. Big City
In my Boston-area internships and jobs, our big-name clients were usually represented by disembodied voices in conference calls. In Daphne, Alabama, our clients are friends, neighbors, coworkers and community leaders. Everyone knows everyone else, and making connections is much easier.
Earlier this week, my friends in Massachusetts scraped snow and ice off their cars and journeyed to work bundled up in heavy overcoats and hats. Meanwhile, I thought it was a little chilly for Alabama and wore capris instead of a dress to the office. I still haven’t rivaled my coworkers’ awesome senses of style, but I’m inspired to go shopping now that I can trade winter boots for heels.
I’ve finally escaped congested Boston streets and parking garages for wide-open spaces and farmland. My commute still takes me about an hour, but now it’s to go 58 miles instead of 13, and I don’t even have to bang any U-ies on my drive in. Now, “whatever all” you guys think, that’s pretty cool.
Despite these differences, both Massachusetts and Alabama have been great to me. I’ve had wonderful jobs, coworkers, and bosses in each, and while I’ll always be a Boston girl at heart, I’m loving the Southern hospitality here at JJPR.