The world of social media being what it is, I have now seen links to this article pop up on my Twitter feed from a number of sources.
Apparently PR is the 8th most stressful job in the country today, according to a recent Career Cast article. A little deeper inspection of the data also reveals that it might also be one of the least understood.
Any (all) of us young pros who have dealt with the deadlines, never-ending phone calls, meetings and after hours events can attest to the stressful nature of our job. However, this article’s rationale for justifying that ranking is quite revealing as to the general perception of the profession as a whole.
The numbers for PR:
8. Public Relations Officer
Stress Rank: 193
Stress Score: 78.523
Hours Per Day: 9
Time Pressure: High
Competition: Very High
Public relations specialists make speeches and give presentations, often in front of large crowds. Because it is a highly competitive field, specialists must work quickly and creatively to meet deadlines. In addition, some PR officers are required to interact with potentially hostile members of the media.
Before those among you who are in perma- job search mode dismiss the article on the basis of unemployment being categorized as “low” or others of your scoff at the notion of the workday being nine hours long, take a read through the disparate professions that make this top 10 list.
No, despite what editors would have us believe, we don’t face the constant threat of death in our field like firefighters (#1 on the list), but in crisis communications, putting out fires is not all that uncommon. For many of us, it falls into the “necessary evil” category of our job, but it does contribute to the stress level. Those of us in corporate America—either at large enterprises or in agency work with corporate clients—know well how executives (#XX) can impact stress levels.
Additionally, the piece does touch on two points that are inherent in PR: deadline pressure and competition. For young pros, both of these come from multiple sources at once (clients, superiors, peers, etc.) and can become overwhelming. To an extent, that is the nature of the beast in this field, but this is also where organization and time management skills become critical, as they can enable us to set ourselves apart from the rest of our young peers and put us in a position to drive our careers.
It’s not easy, but it is fast-paced, fun and rewarding. And, as evidenced by groups such as this Young Professionals affinity group, you’re not alone. Reach out and connect! Sometimes the best part about building your network is hitting your peers up for happy hour after a rough one at the office. Do it. It’s a valuable skill—and a stress relief tactic.