11 signs you work in public relations

Last week, a study called PR pro the second-most stressful job. Guess that means one sign is you’re frazzled—or is it? Take a look, and weigh in.


This week, CareerCast released its “2011 Most Stressful Jobs” list. Public relations officer ranked No. 2.

Admit it. Our jobs aren’t as stressful as surgeons or firefighters, and many joke that “PR isn’t ER.”

We have all been in those situations where the adrenaline is pumping and that hard deadline is rapidly approaching. But is it really a job that puts us in dangerous situations? Sorry, the thought that the client might hate a concept just doesn’t rank with rescuing people.

Public relations professionals are a rare breed. Many are similar in being an OCD, Type-A personality. Others prefer the Type B approach. Either way, there are signs that connect us as an industry.

How do you know if you’re a PR professional? Here are 11 ways:

1. Your day starts and ends with a cup of coffee.

2. You can power-walk in 5-inch heels with your laptop bag while checking your BlackBerry.

3. Inside jokes with your colleagues will get you through the day—especially the insanely stressful ones.

4. You constantly engage in “PR is dead” and “the press release doesn’t have a place in business” arguments.

5. You are so used to putting the client first that you usually forget to eat lunch.

6. It’s detrimental to your health and workday when you forget your headphones.

7. You can toggle among a PowerPoint presentation, a press release, Twitter strategy, and PSA outlines—all in an hour.

8. You recite billing codes in your sleep.

9. You preface Happy Hour with: “Sorry, I need to keep my phone on the table. I have to be connected to email and phone just in case.”

10. You know more about AP style than Microsoft Office. Because of this, you’re a regular in the IT department.

11. You proudly put “PR pro” in your Twitter bio, knowing it’s the one place you don’t have to explain your job.

This is a starter list. What are some other signs of our industry?

Lauren Fernandez works at Fleishman-Hillard in Kansas City, where she works on consumer, B2B and healthcare accounts. Previously, she worked at American Mensa, the high IQ society, and an agency in Dallas. She has been recognized by PR Week as a ‘Top Tweeter’ and is co-founder of #u30pro, a popular Twitter chat. You can find her @cubanalaf.

A version of this story first appeared on the author’s blog, LAF.

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