The PR Profession: A Legendary Misconception

22 Dec

“I thought it’d be more glamorous.”

Yes, yes, we know. We’ve all seen or heard of PR people… they usually reside in L.A. or New York, plan elaborate parties, drink a lot of expensive champagne and resemble Victoria’s Secret models.

http://xroads.virginia.edu/~UG03/johnson/public_html/Satc/samantha.jpg

We can generally thank Samantha Jones for that. You know, the notoriously outspoken and vulgar one on Sex & the City. She’s a publicist, and is relentlessly getting her and her friends into the most exclusive parties, shopping at Gucci and Dior, and using that sharp wit of hers to sway others to get exactly what she wants.

And then there’s me.

So I’m two months into my job here at Red Sky, and have hit reality. Like a ton of bricks. From ten stories high. I’m learning more and more about the public relations industry everyday, and trust me, there’s a lot to learn. It can be intimidating and overwhelming at times. It sort of feels like everything I learned in college has no meaning (which I think about every time I open the student loan statement in the mail), and won’t until it’s applied to real-life situations. Steve Nash did not win MVP by studying the physics of basketball in a classroom for four years, now did he?

Sure, I knew better than to expect glitz and glamour. I’ll never forget the hush that fell over the crowd as my PR 275 teacher told us what the average starting wage was for public relations professionals. There were a few more empty seats after that day. But Dr. Pinkleton didn’t quite prepare me for what I’ve recently realized….

  • PR is about spending hours and hours taping up boxes and carrying stacks ten high, three blocks to FedEx.
  • It’s about having to share a bed with your boss on a business trip (Although I have not yet had the pleasure, Steph).
  • It’s about getting your tender heart hurt every time a reporter is vile and shuts down your pitch you worked so hard on, or coming across “PR Friendly” tabs on websites (that’s when you know it’s rough out there for us).
  • It’s about urgent, sudden deadlines, daily conference calls, long hours and working on the weekends. If you’re looking for a Dolly Parton 9-5, you might want to consider something else….

But you know, I wouldn’t have it any other way.  Because working in PR is also about gaining self-confidence you never knew you had. It’s about learning to exceed your own expectations. It’s about learning from your well-versed coworkers and gaining valuable knowledge you can’t learn from a book.

PR is about constantly getting to meet new and exciting people. And achieving personal goals and pushing your limits.  It’s about that satisfaction you feel when you know you have helped an organization succeed through your efforts. It’s about always getting to do something fresh and new, and seeking out innovative, exciting possibilities.

Being a part of Red Sky feels like being part of a special government ops team. Or an elite club you can only be invited to join. It’s a privilege. It’s an advantage. It’s everything I had hoped for in a public relations job. It’s not what most PR college grads expect; it’s hard work. But I don’t care- I am honored to be here and excited for all the opportunities that lay ahead for me.

-Danae Castellaw

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