Year after year, different studies name public relations as one of the most stressful careers. The reasons for this are numerous -- the job never ends, clients are demanding and may have unrealistic expectations, keeping up with changing media trends can be exhausting...the list goes on and on.
Still, thousands of men and women choose to work in public relations every year.
Because despite its stressful nature (or perhaps in spite of it), public relations can be exciting and rewarding. It’s a fast-paced industry that’s always changing, perfect for those who thrive under challenges and in chaotic situations. Although it can be stressful at times, there are ways to stay happy in public relations.
Here are five tips for staying positive in public relations:
1) Maintain a steady work-life balance.
The field of public relations can be an all-consuming one. It’s easy to find all of your time taken up by your job, your clients, or your smartphone. However, maintaining a work-life balance will help you to stay refreshed and avoid physical and emotional burnouts.
Consider joining a gym, taking a class, or developing a hobby like photography or cooking. You could also do something big like taking a yearly trip to a new place. Whatever you do, the key is to keep it separate from work.
2) Befriend others in the industry.
The only people who will truly understand the highs and lows of the public relations industry are other public relations professionals. And with more than 220,000 people in the industry, chances are there are a few you can make friends with.
Create a network of other professionals who you can get drinks with or vent to when things get rough. Talking to people in similar situations can help to unwind as well as put things in perspective (and their advice will be helpful, too).
3) Create a smile file.
The name sounds cliché, but the function it serves is real. A smile file is a folder, whether virtual or tangible, where you can keep things that make you happy. Positive client reviews, hard-earned press mentions, or even something funny that makes you laugh.
Whenever you find yourself getting stressed out or questioning why you’re in the industry, pull out your smile file to remind yourself of all the reasons you work in public relations.
4) View challenges as opportunities to grow.
In public relations, there will be challenges. It’s the nature of the industry. However, instead of allowing these challenges to stress you out and make you miserable, look at them as opportunities. How can you as a professional learn from this? What can you take from the situation to use in future situations?
For example, working with a difficult client, while stressful at the time, can prepare you for future client situations. Managing multiple projects at once can be a great discussion topic in your next interview. It’s all about how you look at things. We always tell our clients to look at challenges as opportunities for growth -- let’s take our own advice.
5) Find a job that inspires you.
The beauty of public relations the fact that it’s needed for every company in every industry imaginable. Our field is growing on a daily basis, with new jobs being created every day.
That means there’s no reason for you to work a public relations job you hate. No job is perfect, but if you’re truly unhappy, find a job in a field that excites you and will keep you happy and motivated to work. Love sports? Be a publicist for a team. Interested in movies? Go work for a studio. There’s a myriad of jobs available in public relations, so find one that inspires you.
Although public relations can be a stressful industry, it can also be exciting and rewarding. It’s easy to focus on the bad and become disheartened, but taking advantage of these tips can help you stay happy in your public relations job and work your way toward a long and successful career.
What are some ways you stay happy in public relations?
Originally published Oct 29, 2014 3:00:00 AM, updated July 28 2017