Last week, my blog centered on agency PR through the eyes of David Chauvin, a true agency pro who I kiddingly referred to as “scary” because of his go-go approach. David’s admirable emphasis on professionalism, preparedness and pace concerned a few readers who perhaps view public relations as a field void of the pressures of a pilot, politician, or plumber.
Agency work is not for everyone. If you’re not prepared to juggle multiple clients and tasks while simultaneously selling yourself, you should consider avoiding it. Some PR jobs do feature a slower pace. But there are different kinds of pressure. At nonprofits, for example, PR-related tasks often shift to event planning and fundraising in support of a mission. Ever try to raise money or plan a major event? These jobs can mean plenty of stress, but are emotionally rewarding when you’re working for a worthy cause.
Beyond the nonprofit world, PR professionals are working within every kind of institution and each singular environment comes with its own set of pressures and expectations. Two small examples: You may be assigned to developing social media for your organization. Nice work if you can get it, right? Except when it comes time to measuring outcomes. You’ll feel the kind of pressure only Google Analytics can bring, because your performance will be in question if the numbers don’t go up. But it feels really good when they do. Or try explaining to your boss why not one reporter has attended the press conference you’ve staged. As Billy Joel sang, “Pressure!”
No matter what kind of PR work you do, it’s never without high demand for professionalism and preparedness. And while the pace varies depending on where or for whom you work, your job is not unlike a plumber’s: you’ve got to make sure the flow of information is smooth and reliable, while at the same time maintaining the system and preventing leaks before they turn into a puddle nobody wants. And you’re doing it while keeping the “pressure” steady and manageable. Your thoughts?