Jul 19, 2014

PR is not all martinis and manicures

A girlfriend posted this article to Facebook today and it could not be more accurate.

Having had my hand in the PR cookie jar in all my jobs, I can tell you, there aren't nearly as many martinis, manicures, happy hours or other fluff as most people think. There's a lot more prepping executives, writing and rewriting, calendar balancing, position statement creation, crisis communication planning and other non-alcoholic activities involved.

So why martinis and manicures the first thing that often comes to mind? I especially like this paragraph and its contribution to the explanation
On a New York Observer list of fictional publicists in pop culture, every notable character since the mid-'80s is a woman — typically sharp-tongued but not supersmart. Think Jennifer Saunders on Absolutely Fabulous, or Debi Mazar on Entourage. One of the most popular sketches on Comedy Central’s Kroll Show is "PubLIZity," a reality-TV parody starring Nick Kroll and Jenny Slate as vapid pseudo-professionals in neon heels. Even when they’re portrayed as savvy, like Sex and the City’s Samantha Jones, PR people are never intellectual heavy-hitters. They are the working world’s sorority girls: salad-eating, prosecco-ordering up-talkers, manicured to the hilt.
TV shows aren't where it ends though. The number of chick-lit books featuring women PR, advertising or other communication pros living in London, NYC, and LA and hopping between social and work events with no discernible differences doesn't help either. They are always being woo-ed by mega-watt smiles from millionaire men (sometimes married) and sneaking off to the coffee shop to gossip with their girlfriend co-workers. While my career has definitely included some coffee shops, the flirting millionaires have been notably few.

Even in college, the number of peers in the COM who told me they wanted to do food, beverage, fashion and entertainment PR kinda killed me. I mean, yes, I want to get paid to peddle wine too. But there are only so many jobs in those arenas. Much less glitzy fields like investor relations, nonprofit (my fav), tech (my other fav), education, energy, and health are where the bulk of the jobs are.

I suppose this whole soapbox is to say two things

  1. The marketing and PR department at your company is not fueled by martinis. They are most likely sharp, talented individuals who could write a whole newspaper's worth of content before most of their non-marketing peers could spell their names.
  2. If you are considering a career in marketing or PR, remember, most of the jobs are not glitzy but they can be rewardingly geeky.

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