PR: A job to die for? I don’t think so.

Did you know that Career Cast’s annual list of the most-stressful jobs in America shows Public Relations Executive as No. 5 for 2013?  Jobs that are listed as more stressful than PR Executives this year are, in order: Military Personnel, Military General, Firefighter and Commercial Airline Pilot.

Really???   Are you kidding me?  I mean, I’ve been in the PR business for nearly a quarter of a century and I most certainly understand the challenges, but do I really believe my job is nearly as stressful than dodging RPGs from insurgents over in Afghanistan?  Or flying a 747 through a huge storm system?  And, how about the firefighters who risk their lives daily?  Does their cortisol level beat out mine when I fret over a typo in a news release that has already gone out on the wire?  I just watched “Backdraft” again last night and there is no comparison between my work stress of writing against deadline or getting hung up on by an editor to their saving lives whilst ensuring they don’t lose their own in an apartment blaze.

Look, don’t think that I don’t take my job seriously.  I do, very much so.  I always strive to do everything I can to ensure success for my clients and my company.  But dodging a bullet is only a figurative expression in my field of work.

What’s even more ironic is that Police Officers are listed as number 10 on the list.  Their hearts skip a beat every time they pull over a car, not knowing if the driver is high on drugs or armed.  Yes, that probably is on par of how I felt when my team and I stuffed and sealed 200 press kits only to realize that somehow the personalized cover letters did not match the contacts on the address labels!  It’s possible I suffered a mini-stroke over that one.

We PR folks are not daily risking our lives nor others’ and we don’t witness gruesome scenes of carnage on a regular basis – well, unless you consider those beautiful uneaten, melted desserts at the two empty tables at a media luncheon I hosted, where half the invitees were a no-show because it poured in NYC. Ugh, that was a horrible scene now that I think about it.  It was painful. After the product demonstration and brief speech from my client, the most exciting thing to happen with the 7 editors who did attend, was how thrilled they were to run over to the window and watch a hawk gliding majestically over Central Park.  Okay, so maybe I stand corrected.  That was stressful.  But, we did still get some media coverage.  There’s always a silver lining in PR.

What I’m trying to say is that we all have to do our jobs and make sure we do them well – for the sake of our clients, their customers, our bosses and our colleagues.  Let’s just keep our work in perspective: in PR it’s always just an ordinary day when no one dies doing their job.  Let’s be happy about that.

Check out Career Cast’s full list at:

5 thoughts on “PR: A job to die for? I don’t think so.

  1. You’ve been in PR for nearly a quarter of a century?!?! You must have started right out of grade school 😉

    I would imagine this stat is largely due to those PR practitioners who focus solely on crisis communication. I mean, my job can be stressful, but certainly not Top 5 jobs in America stressful.

  2. I initially had the same reaction, Stacey — but I think our field has become so stressful because it is evolving so quickly and so broadly. I hate to date myself, but when I went to college for PR, they taught us how to write a press release and a media plan and made us practice public speaking. Now a days, we have to be marketers, social media experts, crisis communication professionals and brand experts in order to carry the title. It’s a lot to keep up with and while I enjoy it, I wonder how much will squeeze into our PR worlds as the years go by:) Great article — loved the perspective. I certainly don’t put my stress level anywhere near the others on the top 5!

  3. So happy to have experienced the falcon sighting with you! Let’s face it, in all reality, that luncheon was still a success. The rain provided us an opportunity to go from an event luncheon to an intimate, nearly one-on-one lunch with some big reporters. Quality vs. quantity!

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