I will begin by mentioning that for the last three and a half years I have been pursuing a Bachelor’s degree focusing on advertising, public relations and marketing. For even longer than that, I have been passionate about writing, people, business, and communication opportunities and have found ways to integrate the things I love into what I plan to do with my life. There have been many tears, calls to my mom, boxes of pizza, and mental breakdowns that have led me to finally be finishing up my senior year. This should be a magical and wonderful time in my life where I know exactly where I am going.
Obviously, that isn’t the case. This is a very confusing time for anyone in my position, and although it is exciting, it is terrifying. Doubts hide in corners of my mind I had never thought to look, and every new job openings make me wonder if I decided on the correct career path. So, with all of my fear and personal doubt within myself, you telling me that what I will have been working toward for four years isn’t relevant really doesn’t do a lot for my confidence. Or my patience with your judgmental ignorance.
Let’s first start off with how rude it is to tell anyone, in any major or job they are in, that their work is irrelevant, fake, unimportant or in general worthless. You don’t see me looking at your hopes and dreams and laughing while I burn them with a flamethrower. Why is this necessary? Look at your own life, and figure out what is missing that enticed such a negative and ugly reaction to another’s passion.
Now, I have gotten the eye rolls, the laughs, the scoffs and the “Oh stop complaining”s when I tell someone that I am working in public relations and am working hard. Although as PR professionals we put on our professional smiles, which we have to do every day in our profession, it doesn’t help us from feeling like the whole world thinks public relations is a huge joke. Well, until they are in need of our services of course.
Secondly, let’s look into what this profession looks like, which you obviously unaware of.
- Every business, company, venture, celebrity uses some kind of PR. The company you work for or your own business has used or has needed PR at some point. Building awareness of a brand or promotion, connecting potential consumers to the company, planning and executing events, researching current market trends and much more all fall under PR. Keep that in mind the next time you think it’s a joke.
- Our work is never done. Besides the fact that client relationships are continuous, events aren’t actually over once clean up ends. Every campaign strategy can be better developed, and our work is and always will be in the front of our minds. Our phones will always be charged in case a crisis ensues. And crises will ensue at some point.
- Working as a co-director of Georgia College’s PR firm, some days I don’t actually get a moment to sit down. Projects are always developing, campaigns are always under discussion, clients are always in contact with us. The job is exhausting, and if it wasn’t actually considered “work,” then I wouldn’t be collapsing after every busy day (which is every day), now would I?
- Working one-on-one with clients, networking with people you have never met, cold calling, and presenting to audiences both large and small on a weekly basis make for a very thick-skinned and courageous person.
Even if you still don’t think PR is a real major or I am not going to be working a real job once I graduate, I don’t really care. Marketing majors will tell me my focus isn’t important, but we will see who can communicate better with an audience and a client. Peers will look down on my classes since I have more projects than tests, but we will see who knows how to make the most of their degree once we jump into the job search together. Although none of this may change your mind, my hope is that before you stick your nose in the air at PR or anyone’s profession of choice, think about the work and effort you may not see that goes on behind the scenes.
Also, just be a decent person, thanks.