Never before have I heard more smart, talented, just plain excellent young public relations professionals say “maybe PR’s just not for me…” Now, don’t get me wrong, I am all for self-examination, and I have certainly met some very smart folks who would be better served doing things other than PR, but many of the people who are saying this now are not in this group. After a short stint of three to five years, something is making them feel wrong. We’ve already lost their minds and hearts and pretty soon we are going to lose their hard work and great ideas. And that’s going to suck for the future of this business.
The system is broken, the definition of PR is broken, we have failed them and don’t even see it. They think they are in the wrong business – I hope they read this and at least question it more. Maybe they are great at some form of public relations but question their career choice because someone wrongly told them they need to do it all – and do it the way that the powers that be think it should be done.
Maybe they are great at telling a fresh, creative story to media but can’t stand the constant metrics-driven focus of pitching news. Maybe they love planning and executing valuable customer events but don’t want to manage a team. Maybe they give great strategic insight in the product planning phase but can’t stand the crap media sling at them daily. And maybe, just maybe, this is OK.
Of course, there will be times in life when you need to do things that aren’t all that fun, things that push you out of your comfort zone, but you shouldn’t be made to feel like mastering these things is the only way to be a “real PR pro.” Why shouldn’t you be able to do those things when you need to – but know that the value you bring and the passion you have is what keeps people paying you.
Think back to the REAL impact that you have made on client businesses by doing these things you love. Remember the things they said to you about how your awesome idea and flawless execution mattered to their bottom line, their company goals. Remember how you felt doing what you loved, getting paid for it and craving more of that feeling. Now, as I said, maybe one day in your career you will be able to do this 100 percent of the time – until that day, shouldn’t you find a place where that skill you have is valued? Where that skill is fostered and grown? Where you can continue to learn new things that you might have a passion for without being made to feel like the only way to be a useful member of the team is to master a handful of other tasks that seem to be the only things that matter to your boss?
The current structure is what is wrong – step back and think about what public relations really means to you. Stop letting the areas you feel you will never love blind you to the things you are so great at doing. What do you really want to do? Would you be willing to work for it and sometimes do the things that are not in your comfort zone if you knew the people you work for supported you, helped foster your passion and saw the greatness you have inside? The public relations industry needs you. You are great at this job. Don’t quit. We are sorry we made you feel this way.
- It’s us, not you… please don’t go
- Just because the person who told you that has 20+ years of experience doesn’t make it right