6 reasons why PR is a stressful job

6 reasons why PR is a stressful job

Last year, Yahoo! Education listed PR executive as the sixth most stressful job of 2014, alongside airline pilots, event planners, police officers and yes--reporters.

Were you surprised to see that position on the list?

PR pros were not, because we experience different kinds of stress every day and have learned to thrive under pressure and deliver results.

Here are six reasons why working in PR qualifies as one of the most stressful careers.

1. A lot of human elements, all moving in different directions. Unlike occupations that deal strictly with numbers and data, PR pros work with people: important internal and external stakeholders. All of these groups of people have different working styles, speak their own languages and--at times--have conflicting priorities. The human element of our profession keeps us on our toes, challenging us to come up with mutual solutions and constantly adjust working styles to drive and show results. With a lot of stress along the way.

2. Media deadlines. Reporters are not the only ones affected by deadlines. When we get a request for comments in the morning, sometimes it’s a scramble to find the right spokesperson, get his or her availability and coordinate schedules--all while answering other emails and working on different projects. If we have clients in different time zones, we wonder: are they awake? Still pressing the snooze button? I need an answer in less than an hour. Ahhh!!!

3. Big announcements mean big prep. Think Apple’s recent wearables announcement was a piece of cake? Think again. Our jobs take a lot of planning, preparation and constantly addressing the “what ifs” in the case of big announcement, events, or product launches. Months of planning go into the strategy, and hours go into the execution. And if an undesirable “what if” happens, we put our game faces on and dive right in.  

4. Change is the only constant. As cliche as that might sound, it’s true. The communications and media industries change so quickly, and we must adapt just as quickly, master new tools, and understand how our companies and clients might use them most effectively.

5. Crises. Why is it that calls with bad news come in on Fridays at 4 p.m.? Crises mean day-to-day work needs to stop, people need to come together, communicate clearly, figure out the root of the problem and the solution, and put a plan into action to remedy the situation. Except things rarely go as smoothly as I made it seem in the last sentence. There are hiccups, bumps in the road, barriers--you name it--on the way to recovery. Communication plays a large role in how a company handles a crisis because a lot of it is about perception--talk about pressure from all angles!

6. Building reputations is tough, man. Changing perceptions, bridging relationships and building reputations almost never happen overnight. It takes a lot of strategic planning, decision-making and hard work to make it happen over a long period of time. We learn to think long-term, while working in the short-term, make tough choices and learn to execute in a way that’s mutually beneficial for a company and its stakeholders. And accomplishing these things is never easy.

What do you think, PR pros? Do you find your job stressful? Share in the comments below.

Julia Sahin works in Corporate Communications at one of the largest PR firms in New York and is a monthly contributor to Muck Rack. She is a recent graduate from the Master’s program in Public Relations and Corporate Communications at NYU and was the first to conduct and publish academic research on the reputational effects of regulation on megabanks. She plans on doing big things. All opinions should be seen as her own and do not reflect her employer’s.

Photo: Stressed business woman via Shutterstock

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