I just realized that some of my friends have no idea what it is that I do. They know that I am in PR. They see that I am never really “off the clock” as I’m responding to messages and tweets even when we’re just out for a girls’ night. Last night, one of my friends joked that this was what it must be like to be in PR, you know, going out for drinks for a living.
Snickering aside, I realized that my friends really don’t know what a professional communicator does. And part of that is my fault. I share the fun “glamorous” stuff – the parties, the events and cool people I meet. I don’t really get into the behind the scenes work that happens: the development and planning; the hours of calls and emails; or me banging my head against the wall. They never hear about the detailed communications plans that I write for six very distinct regions. They think I go for drinks, and hold the occasion press conference… that is followed by drinks.
Our value as professional communicators is constantly challenged and the onus is on us to ensure that we get the respect that we deserve. PR’s dubious beginnings with the likes of consummate showman and scam artist, P.T. Barnum doesn’t help. Over the years PR has gotten a bad wrap that has likened PR pros to the old snake-oil salesmen traveling from town to town.
The next time you are faced with the question of what it is that you actually do, share this: