PR is a dichotomous profession. We are known for getting to schmooze potential clients at elaborate parties (like Samantha Jones from Sex in the City), drink to excess (charged to the company card, for purposes of “client relations” a la Edina in Absolutely Fabulous) and getting free SWAG from our connections.
And I’ve done it before (kind of…not to the extent Hollywood makes it seem like.) And it’s fun. But that’s only a small part of the job. In reality, there are many tasks that need to be taken care of on a timely basis – tasks that can often feel like part of an ever-growing list, all the contents of which require immediate attention. And it can be overwhelming, stressful and even scary.
As much fun as we are supposed to have in PR, it is also a very high-maintenance job. It’s not simply 9-to-5. You have got to be available to people all the time. You have got to be able to watch the news at 10 and call the station to make sure they’ve got the updated information for their 6 am story, and be ready to launch another campaign in the morning.
It’s hectic and fun at the same time. Laid-back and tightly scheduled. So it’s no wonder that we, as PR professionals, are expected to be both creative and task-oriented. These things don’t always go hand-in-hand.
I’ve gotten to do lots of fun, creativity-inspiring things in my line of work so far: attend film festivals, have brainstorming sessions at a bar, create fun contests and more. But sometimes I find myself too caught up in the day-to-day details to access that part of my brain that PR is also supposed to be all about.
It was my supervisor, the super-detail-oriented and also super-creative Erin Conrad who said to me: I know exactly how you feel, but know that there is never going to be time for you. You’ve got to make time. On purpose. Write on your blog! Connect with a friend! Strengthen your relationships with local media!
These things are also very, very important to PR but tend to fall by the wayside. Her true words took me back to that phrase I my music teacher told me long ago, and from time to time ring in my ear: Something’s got to give.
You can’t always do everything, but you need to make time for creativity.
It’s part of what makes me great, in my profession and in my personal life.
I am lucky enough to have a very fun job and I’m passionate about what I do. My resolution (Late, I know!) is too make time for the fun stuff that is going to make me happier AND make me better at my job.