The Best (and Worst) Aspects of My Job

In my past few speaking opportunities, a few attendees have asked what my least favorite part of my job is, and I always applaud that curiosity.

As future practitioners, it is wise to understand that not all of your responsibilities will be a highlight of your day. Don’t fret, PRSSA’ers. As you know, there are a lot of aspects of public relations that make what we do so very rewarding. This post shows a balance between the two.

Bucket List
Bucket List: I actually managed to be on the field during halftime of the BCS National Championship this past year as a sweepstakes referee — never know exactly what will be thrown your way!

BEST: Bucket List Events
Just this year, I’ve had the opportunity through my work to attend the Bowl Championship Series (BCS) National Championship, the NCAA Final Four and four highly anticipated soccer matches. Granted, a ton of hard work went into planning and executing each of these, but who knows if I would have ever had the opportunity to do any of these things if it weren’t for my job – let alone the intimate access I’ve experienced.

WORST: Counting on Others
Trust me, I’m all for teamwork – but so much of what we do is dependent on the interest and availability of others, especially in reference to media relations. Imagine you and your team ideating and falling in love with a brilliant idea, selling it to the client, receiving a budget for execution, planning every aspect of that program, contracting spokespeople, coordinating logistics with vendors, drafting media materials, performing site checks, developing crisis plans, applying for permits, contacting media, etc. Nothing hurts more when:

  • A) competing public relations event receives coverage instead of yours
  • B) breaking news rerouted a TV crew that was scheduled to attend your event
  • C) media attended but decided not to air or publish coverage
  • D) someone at the station/outlet opted to purposely remove the branding from the segment.

While these things can sometimes be prevented through further preparation, it is fair to say that other people often hold the fate of your program in their hands.

BEST: “I Wrote That!”
Words are very personal to me. Some of the most rewarding moments I have experienced during my time in public relations are finding my words in mainstream media. The root of the excitement goes back to my former aspirations of being an author or journalist. While I do not receive a byline for anything I write other than my blog, it’s still a personal victory knowing my writing was good enough to appear as-is in some of the world’s most-renowned publications.

WORST: Always Connected
Challenge:  tell me the next time you find a public relations executive without his or her phone. Part of my job demands that I’m always available to help put out a fire, fulfill a request or provide clarifications to clients and media. Fortunately, I work at an agency where work-life balance is valued, and my client contacts are equally as considerate. That said, consumers and media don’t abide by 9-5 working hours, and some emergencies can’t wait until morning.

What aspects of public relations do you celebrate? On the other hand, are there aspects you aren’t as excited about?

Ryan McShane served on the 2007-08 National Committee as FORUM Editor-in-Chief. He continues to work with PRSSA members and other young professionals through his footprints blog,

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