"A recent study shows that being an 'event manager' is one of the top 5 most stressful jobs." Seriously. I saw it in black and white in an article. But we're in good company! Together with soldiers, firefighters, police officers - people who risk their lives to protect others...
An assertion that got me thinking. The post box and electronic mailbox of To The Point Events positively bulge with letters of application. Many feel the call to get into the events industry. But few are chosen. Organizing an event is an unforgettable experience, but the life of an event manager is not always a bed of roses.
Another day at the office
Stress is inevitable. It starts with the preparation, where hypercompetitive pitches often lead to unhealthy situations. Then the sleepless nights beforehand and, in the worst case scenarios, stifling the disappointment afterwards.
The event itself is a meticulously timed interplay of suppliers. A top event is an intense process of empathy, brainstorming, puzzles, grinding and polishing in advance. Every detail has to be right, and the system cannot let you down. Hundreds of phone calls, quotes requested - but most of all, rock-hard deadlines to be met. The buildup which, for financial reasons, should be done as quickly as possible so that the rent periods are kept to a minimum.
No matter how awful the circumstances may be, or how tired you sometimes are, you have to keep smiling. Even when unexpected happenings throw a spanner in the works. The show must go on: meticulous planning and pumping adrenaline help the real players deal with even the most challenging situations.
"You never have time for me!"
Customer expectations are high. And the home front also needs your attention. Being an event manager is no 9-to-5 job. Staring at the ceiling at night, hoping for a stroke of genius for the next pitch. Working late to meet a deadline. Building up and breaking down in all weather - at dawn or in the dead of night. It's all "part of the job".
While your partner, family or friends are having fun together, you sacrifice your weekend to steer an event in the right direction. Your surroundings tell you that you’re a fool: "You never have time for me! Can't you find a decent, better paid job?"
The best job in the world
And yet... when all is said and done, Event Manager remains the best profession in the world. A job full of variety, a job in which you constantly get to know new businesses and new people. A job that always has a positive vibe: a new business venture, a product launch, an anniversary, a family day, a staff party, a team building exercise, an exhibition...
When all goes according to plan and the customer is satisfied, that is the Ultimate Kick: the smiling faces seen in a movie from one of the family days we organize for our clients, the laughter and tears looking back at an anniversary celebration, a spontaneous thank you email from a customer. This is the stuff that goosebumps are made of!
I'll never forget my first 'event-kick' as brand-new commercial director at the Grenslandhallen event complex. Thanks to the ever enthusiastic ladies from K3, the musical 'The Three Little Pigs' by Studio 100 grew into an enormous success. Well hidden behind the stage curtains, I enjoyed the standing ovations, over and over again.
The event bug has never left me. Working in the event industry is not a job, it's a passion. Maybe it's only fools who work in the event industry. But above all, passionate people who make a difference. I'm proud to be one of them!
Bart Koninckx is Managing Director & commercial jack-of-all-trades at To the Point Events. He is also Managing Director & Business Development at AppWise, specializing in apps. From business training to Business Economist, these days he's especially known for being a free thinker & networker par excellence.