Valentine’s Day is a day of celebrating love…what better time to remind ourselves what we love about public relations?
“Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.” This popular adage, most often attributed to Confucius, was reiterated a few thousand years later by Steve Jobs, Apple CEO and perhaps one of the most successful entrepreneurs of our time, during his Stanford University commencement speech. Jobs expanded upon the original sentiment, saying, “Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do.”
Chances are you didn’t just fall into a job in public relations. You chose to enter this field for a reason – its diversity, the particular skill set required to excel, or the constant evolution of the industry, which has enabled PR pros to advance from the traditional role of storyteller into digital marketers, multimedia content developers, digitally savvy web managers and social media gurus.
With the changing industry comes an increased demand for professionals who can adapt easily to change, remain calm under pressure and problem-solve at a moment’s notice – no wonder online career site CareerCast named public relations as the sixth-most stressful career (event coordinator came in at number five). Sometimes, the draws that inspired us to enter the field can be clouded by the demanding projects and deadlines that often accompany it.
Passion breeds success, so if we want to continue excelling at what we do, we should continue to remind ourselves why we got into the profession in the first place, especially when things get stressful. In an effort to reignite the flame that once drew you into public relations, and in honor of Valentine’s Day, here are five perks of the public relations industry that will help remind us why we love our jobs.
Diversity. As one of the only fields that enables its practitioners to experience any industry in which they’re interested, the opportunities to pursue your passion are endless. If you like science, check out opportunities in health care PR at hospitals, pharmaceutical companies or non-profit health associations or organizations. Those interested in law and politics may want to look into opportunities at lobbying firms, state departments or government agencies. From Fortune 500 companies to mom-and-pop shops in your local town, you can put your PR skills to good use virtually anywhere.
Knowing what’s going on in the world. Knowing what’s in the news is an essential part of your job, and being tuned-into real-world issues can translate well into our personal lives. We’re also growing our knowledge base and exposing ourselves to new information every day. In order to effectively promote a client’s or organization’s message, you have to become well-versed in the subject matter at hand. As PR pros, we’re constantly learning something new – about a product, a procedure, a theory and more. All this knowledge makes us well-rounded conversationalists and enables us to breeze through networking functions, dinner parties and awkward encounters with acquaintances.
No two days are alike. While you may come into work with the best intentions and a to-do list, you’ll likely end up doing a hundred other things and having to reorganize and re-prioritize your day. While it can sometimes feel stressful to juggle so many responsibilities and conflicting priorities, coming up with a successful solution and finally being able to cross something off your list is so rewarding – and it keeps us on our toes.
Access to the public. Want endless access to interesting people? Become a public relations professional. Whether you’re interviewing an entry-level employee in your organization, chatting up the highest-level executive at a company your firm represents or pitching a reporter at a national publication, being a public relations pro means you have unlimited access to professionals up and down the corporate ladder and can build relationships with people from all walks of life.
The rush that comes with a big media placement. You probably remember the first major media placement you helped secure. If you’re lucky, the same rush you felt then is the one you still experience when you see your client or company in print or on television or hear them on the radio. Your non-PR friends and loved ones may not understand why you get so excited seeing client coverage (“Where’s your name? Are you going to be on TV?”), but you know a good media placement is a huge victory in our world.
Still not feeling the love? Stay passionate about the work you do by networking – meet other people involved in similar fields and share tips, ideas and best practices. Read up on the latest industry-related trends and issues. Find new ways to expand upon your skills and learn how to implement those things in your daily life. Whatever your means to get back in touch with your passion, it’s important to do so to be happy – and successful – in your work.
What do you love most about public relations? Do you think loving your job helps yield success? Let us know by commenting.
Jen Micklow is an account executive at Thomas/Boyd Communications, a leading woman-owned public relations firm specializing in strategic communications for clients of all sizes in a variety of industries. When she’s not communicating clients’ key messages to tailored audiences, securing media placements or writing carefully crafted content, Jen can be found hunting down a big sale or cozying up with a good book. Connect with Jen on LinkedIn, like Thomas/Boyd on Facebook or follow the company on Twitter @thomasboydpr.