We see them every year. The posts on media outlets such as Forbes
and this very site
that list the most stressful jobs.
Invariably, PR is near the top. I’ve always wondered why.
Consider the other jobs routinely in the top 10:
• Police officer
We’re talking about saving human lives here. With PR, it’s merely stressful because our clients, journalists, and others are on deadline. (It’s more than that, but hang with me.)
I saw a fellow PR pro say in a Facebook post that she hopes her kids don’t pursue a career in PR. I’m guessing the stress factor may be a big part of that.
I couldn’t think of a better career for my daughter. So, I thought I’d write her a letter telling her why I think a career in PR would be a great choice.
You’re only 6 now, but in 12 years, you’ll (hopefully) have the opportunity to attend college and choose a major—and career—to pursue. I’m writing to you today to encourage you to consider a career in PR.
Granted, you’re only 6. You have a way to go to discover your innate talents, to uncover your sparking personality, and to figure out what it is you love to do—and what it is you don’t love to do.
I think a career in PR would wonderful for you. Here’s why:
Every day is different.
This is probably one of the things I like most about PR. One day you’re at your desk writing. The next you’re at the TV studio supporting a client. The day after that you’re managing an event at a trade show. No two days are the same.
You get paid to think.
The one thing that will never be commoditized is the human brain (until AI is mainstream that is). So, young daughter, a career where brainpower is required—instead of physicality—will always be at a premium. Now, you have many careers to choose from in this vein, but why not go with PR?
It’s a people job.
I can already tell you’re a people person; if you’re a people person, PR is the job for you. You’re asked to collaborate with your teammates. You’re asked to work with media. And you’re asked to work with customers from time to time.
Generally speaking, your interactions with these people can be amazing. You will meet uber-creative individuals (your teammates) and experts in all sorts of industries. (Over the years, I’ve met people from the accounting, medical, and food manufacturing industries, to name a few.)
It’s a fun job to talk about at parties.
You don’t know this yet, but when you’re older, it’s fun (and common) to talk about what you do for a living. At parties and get-togethers, “What do you do?” is often the first question someone will ask you when they meet you. What better answer than, “I work in PR”?
You work with members of the media (often celebrities of sorts, in local markets). You work with interesting clients (on the agency side particularly, as there is typically more than one client you work with). And you get to tell interesting stories.
This all makes for good party fodder. Believe me, this will be a big selling point in 20 to 25 years.
You may meet famous people and visit places you’d never dreamed you would.
Not all jobs in PR are glamorous or cool, but you may have the opportunity to meet amazing people if you work in this industry.
In 2006, I was working for McGladrey, an accounting firm. As part of our work, we were sponsoring a couple of golfers on the PGA Tour. At the time, we were also announcing our sponsorship of a PGA Tour event.
We did it at the PGA Championship at Medinah Country Club in Chicago, in the media tent. That might not seem like a big deal, but for a lifetime golfer, it was huge for me. I got to go inside the ropes. We stayed at the same hotel as the golf and mainstream media. I got to meet Zach Johnson and Chris DiMarco. I got to see a Tiger Woods press conference at short range.
It was an experience I’ll always remember, and I have my career in PR to thank for it.
Arik Hanson is principal of ACH Communications. A version of this article originally ran on his blog, Communications Conversations.