PR Isn’t the Most Stressful Job

Up to this point, I’ve tried to avoid mentioning the much-talked-about survey that claims PR is the second most stressful job.  However, it’s being quoted a lot and used as an excuse to explain a number of job-related issues. 

For those not familiar with the survey, recently published a list of the most stressful jobs in the U.S.  Commercial pilot ranked first, followed by Public Relations professional.  The survey says: “Public Relations Officers are responsible for creating and maintaining a positive image with the public for many companies and government agencies. They typically are responsible for giving presentations and making speeches, often in front of large crowds. This highly-competitive field and tight deadlines keep stress at high-levels for specialists. Some PR officers also are required to interact with potentially hostile members of the media.”

Before making a detour away from a PR career, consider that this survey clearly focuses on senior PR pros within corporations.  I know first hand that there is an abundance of stress faced by those individuals, but that’s only a small percentage of the entire profession.  While senior agency executives face P&L demands and other pressures, few employees would rank their jobs as the second most stressful job among 200 careers surveyed. 

PR pro Chris Brooks responded beautifully to the survey results, noting that stress for PR professionals isn’t due to “hostile” media or giving speeches or deadlines. “It’s mostly due to the widespread misunderstanding as to what public relations is and should do for an organization. It’s a strategic management function, but too often relegated to poorly advised tactical activities by management that is not patient or smart enough to see that it is about mid- to longterm relationship development with multiple publics, not short-term transactional goals. When paired with an enlightened management team it is a very satisfying career. And far less stressful than, say, nursing or police work or myriad other professions.”

Want to avoid the stress?  Try one of the 10 least stressful jobs and be bored silly.

2 thoughts on “PR Isn’t the Most Stressful Job

  1. I have been both a nurse and a PR professional and I can vouch for PR being the most interesting and challenging of the two. While being a nurse makes you feel good about the good you do, if you crave communications and interactions that are strategic, PR is the place to be. I interact with the smartest of the smart and incredibly well-connected people. Whereas with nursing, you get to interact with sick people and temperamental doctors. That was way more stresful to me than PR.

  2. I was not aware of the Career Cast list, thank you! I’m not sure if they mention the criteria they used for picking the most stressful professions, but it would be interesting to see why they picked PR as #2. Considering this is a very subjective matter, the list would be different depending on who you talked to. And like you mentioned, I would much rather work in an interesting industry like PR than be bored to death!

    Thank you again for the great post.

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