Public Relations, PR

Like many things in life, maintaining a career as a PR executive is a balancing act. Learning how to cope with the fast-paced atmosphere and tight deadlines while saving time to revel in  the success of a campaign is something we all strive to achieve. PR professionals are notorious multitaskers; and while juggling multiple clients, deadlines and launches simultaneously may seem to be just another part of the job, there’s no denying that it can get extremely stressful at times. At the end of the day, though, it’s all worth it! Or so we, the public relations firms, claim.

Earlier this week (2012), CareerCast released its annual list of the most stressful careers and, once again, for the third straight year, public relations executives were among the top ten. Ranked at number seven, PR professionals are still considered to endure quite a bit of stress on a daily basis, but, the good news is, this is a substantial improvement from the 2011 ranking of number two, but not as “stress-free” as its 2010 ranking of number eight.

The criteria CareerCast used to establish these rankings are listed below:

  1. Travel
  2. Growth Potential (income divided by 100)
  3. Deadlines
  4. Working in the public eye
  5. Competitiveness
  6. Physical demands
  7. Environmental conditions
  8. Hazards encountered
  9. Own life at risk
  10. Life of another at risk
  11. Meeting the public

The bolded items (travel, deadlines, working in the public eye, competitiveness, and meeting the public) are all typical things associated with the role of a PR professional and apparently are indicative of high stress. According to the Career Cast evaluations for the past three years of PR executives, additional factors that keep PR pros’ stress levels high, include creating and maintaining a positive image with the public for many companies at once, giving presentations and making speeches in front of large crowds, being held accountable for highly visible and tight deadlines, work quickly and creatively to meet those deadlines, and interacting with hostile members of the media.

While the above stress factors may indeed be critical components of the day to day role of a PR exec, there are definite positive elements that come with the job that make the stress seem almost insignificant. For instance, landing a feature on the front page of the Wall Street Journal or securing a speaking slot at CES for your client comes with a true sense of accomplishment – a feeling I would imagine is hard to duplicate in other fields.

Being able to watch your efforts truly impact companies’ success as they take market share away from large, incumbent vendors or become a household name among their target audience is true validation for all the late nights and stressful deadlines. Each day brings its own share of stress and success in the world of public relations, and finding ways to strike a balance between the two keeps us all coming back for more day after day! Offering high quality PR services can be hard. Being on top of your workload can be hard.


This post was first published by Meredith L. Eaton on March Communications’ blog, PR Nonsense.