I spent the extra couple days of the New Year’s weekend getting caught up on my magazine reading. Some local stuff (Jewish News of Greater Phoenix) mindless stuff (Entertainment Weekly), some business stuff (Inc., Fast Company) and some stuff in-between (Oprah, More).
Flipping through the November issue of More (ok, I know I’m behind) I came across the article with the above title. Of course, I was curious. And lo and behold “public relations specialist” was one of the chosen careers. (Ironic when you consider how far behind I really am on this reading stuff).
Well, how about that? The sidebar to the story says we’ll see a 24 percent industry growth rate by 2018 (great!), median salary was about $51,000(not bad) and we will see an increased need for social media and international relations (obviously right?).
But, the story itself, made me cringe.
“The profession is relatively barrier free for newcomers, since it doesn’t require a specialized degree.” Whoa… that might have been true at some point, but I can tell you, if you are applying for an entry-level position here and you don’t have a degree in some form of communications, I’m not likely to hire you.
“A communications, marketing or sales background is useful….” Useful? Not so interested in a sales background, but the other two are pretty much a requirement.
“If you’re passionate about your clients and their stories, the rest should fall into place.” If it were only that easy. Yes, you need to be passionate about the work you’re doing, but you definitely need a skill set to be successful in public relations – writing, strategic thinking, among others.
So back to the title of the article about “having a life.” Quoting a PR consultant mentioned in the article, “…I’m hired for the results I produce. If I produce those results quickly, I work less. I have complete freedom in terms of how I use my time.”
Hmm, yes, the faster we work the more time we have for other things. But I don’t think our clients hire us to be fast. I hope they hire us to provide strong, strategic advice and counsel and to produce results that meet their important goals and objectives.
Do I have a life? Of course I do. I’m involved in a variety of different organizations, I spend quality time with family and friends, I get to travel; no complaints from me. And… I’m available to my clients when they need me. I chose this career because it offered me an opportunity to do what I love. It is part of my life, I don’t separate the two.
Oh, and the other careers? Personal Financial Advisor, Pharmacist, Web Professional, Physical/Occupational Therapist, Medical Professional, Accountant, Writer, Management Analysis, and Social Worker.