In January this year Forbes released the top 10 list of most stressful jobs of 2014 and low and behold, after being physically compromised in the form of military service and firefighting there was PR and Event Management, http://www.forbes.com/pictures/mkl45edihj/6-public-relations-executive/ and this week national UK press agreed – PR is the military service of the mind
“Jobs such as public relations executive, newspaper reporter and event coordinator are among the most stressful because of tight deadlines and scrutiny in the public eye.”
With PR being one of the toughest industries to break into there is ruthless competition for agency positions, it really is survival of the fittest. I met a friend of mine last night who works for a similar sized agency to Clareville (Clareville being the exception to the rule), and having got into work at 8am that morning was questioned as to whether her phone had broken, as she had failed to reply to a non urgent client email at 9.30pm the night before. I have genuinely heard stories of juniors being in the office all night, handover notes being sent at 1.30am on a Saturday morning, unpaid interns being made to sit on the floor of product cupboards sorting out clothes for 12 hour stretches…..all in the name of creativity and client satisfaction. I have also gone to extremely prestigious industry seminars where we are told “you must make your staff feel ashamed for not winning new business/not getting enough hits”….is that ever OK?
In my opinion a lot of the stress comes from the smart phone age where the industry has set the bar too high and now We. Can’t. Switch. Off. If a journalist is awake and wants some images or more information for a good piece of client coverage then you are awake and giving it to them – in the words of Kate Moss “nothing tastes as good as being skinny feels” or in the case of PR, “nothing in your free time is as important as getting coverage is”.
Despite the stress the demand to be in it is higher than ever, and people often don’t leave the PR game too, once you’re trained up, you are a mind soldier and can do anything. I reckon individually PRs could organise a wedding in a couple of days whilst still maintaining several other accounts. That’s what the stress gives you – ducks in a row, creative, people, maths, writing, admin skills to rival anyone. We are also very good at drinking!