Tonya Garcia from PR Newser reports on findings from CareerCast regarding the most ten most stressful jobs. Selected findings:
Public relations officers were second on the list.
Photojournalists were fourth. Newscasters (television and radio news presenters) ranked as fifth.
Advertising Account Executives were sixth.
Observation on the PR profession from the article, “This highly-competitive field and tight deadlines keep stress at high-levels for specialists. Some PR officers, also, are required to interact with potentially hostile members of the media.”
A Dangerous Mix:
Anyone see a dangerous mix here? If we within the public relations and advertising professions and newscasters/photojournalists are part of the top ten categories for stress, what do you think will be the result?
I’ve been a public relations professional for over 30 years handling national media campaigns, talking to or being part of the response to tens of thousands of media requests, administering the response to major emergencies and hosting over 500 radio and television shows while being on-call 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
Yet today’s public relations professionals have never held more difficult jobs.
I recognize that there are a multitude of PR positions out there and the duties differ.
But to be a great PR professional you have to be good at social media and that includes the technical side and content creation. You have to know how to promote and you have to possess some knowledge of advertising.
You have to be a subject-level expert and you have to be accessible at all times. You’re never off-the-clock and you’re always on stage or have the knowledge that the next five minutes could be the most challenging of your life.
When I started out, you had to be a subject-level expert and you had to be accessible to the media from 9:00 a.m. to approximately 7:00 p.m. You did your interviews, offered some promotion and that was it.
To be good today, you HAVE to master all aspects of a very complex job from writing to website creation and maintenance to television and radio production to public speaking to being a media spokesperson.
Considering that social media is evolving, you’re never done reading or learning.
Same with the Media:
When I started out, there were beat reporters who created a story a day. Reporters had time to create relationships and they were supported by an array of professionals. Today, they do it all from creating a print story for the paper to getting video footage and stills for the website. Three person television crews became one-person operations. They too are struggling with the basics of social media. Reporters are being pushed to the limits.
It Used to be Better:
So if anyone questions the stress level of those of us who are responsible for interacting with the public, four of the top ten categories of the most stressful jobs belong to those who communicate for a living. We intermingle and coexist and provide the content that people examine to make sense of their lives.
We are all very proud of what we do; we’re happy to be part of what people consume.
But we are all multitasking like crazy on continuous news cycles that never end.
For those of us who have some experience we remember when the job was simpler, nicer and far less complex.
In the past, the ladies and gentlemen of the press raked you and your agency over the coals and then sat and drank with the very people they covered and we all agreed that each was full of hooey and went our separate ways until we met on the field of battle once again. As professionals we recognized that it wasn’t personal.
We generally agreed that we were all honorable people doing an honorable job thus few within the media went for the jugular unless the agency stonewalled. We were destined to meet another day so it was all semi-cordial.
But today’s never ending demands and timelines have changed the job forever and it remains to be seen if objective news coverage suffers as a result.
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