October 27, 2011

53 signs you work in public relations

Perhaps you've worked with, at, or in spite of a PR agency -- or maybe you've never considered what getting that nth hour press mention entails. If you've ever wondered about the day-to-day goings on of a communications agency like PlainClarity Communications, this recent post on Ragan's PR Daily hits the nail on the head. Having worked on both sides of the fence: journalism and PR, I'm often in stitches over this exceedingly crazy and wonderful industry.

53 signs you work in public relations By Lauren Fernandez, et al. October 25, 2011
PR Daily published a story this year from PR professional Lauren Fernandez on the 11 signs that someone works in public relations. (The story originally appeared on Fernandez's blog.) The article unleashed a flood of comments that we compiled into a second story ("42 more signs you work in PR"). Here, we combined both stories: The first 11 signs are from Fernandez, and the other 42 come from our readers.

  1. Your day starts and ends with a cup of coffee. For us, it's tea.
  2. You can power-walk in 5-inch heels with your laptop bag while checking your BlackBerry. *ahem* iPhone
  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 *ahem* Keynote 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.
  12. Your speed-dials connect to the CEO, CFO, CIO, CRO, and Arby’s.
  13. Your BlackBerry sleeps with you every night. Your better half does not.
  14. You no longer count calories—just your re-tweets.
  15. You start to rock in your chair when you can't catch a look at your BlackBerry over dinner.
  16. “Relax" time is in the shower when you always seem to come up with the best PR pitches.
  17. After your coffee, you spend 20 minutes deleting Google Alerts of clients, competitors, and everything in between.
  18. Your home number is on your office voice mail "just in case a reporter calls," and non-PR people regularly express surprise that you'd let it out. You don't understand why they even think that.
  19. The first thing you do when you start your day is "communications triage," and it often begins at home.
  20. Your client wants to be on Oprah. Alternately, you are beyond grateful that this is Oprah's final season—so you never have to hear a client say they want to be on Oprah again.
  21. EVERYTHING in your life—from doing the laundry to playing a round of golf—is recorded in your mind in 15-minute billable increments.
  22. You set three alarms to rise at 4 a.m. to make the early morning in-studio segment.
  23. You engage in weekly conversations with your clients that start with, “Why weren't we included in this WSJ article?”
  24. You've heard all the lines about sleep: "Sleep is overrated." "You can sleep all you want when you die." "Do you ever sleep?"
  25. You start your day by digging out of client and competitor alerts and checking email, all before you're out of bed.
  26. You check HootSuite in the morning before you get out of bed just to monitor what has been said about your clients overnight.
  27. Every Friday around 5:00 p.m. you think, “This could be crisis time!” (And sometimes even look forward to a good one.)
  28. You know what time it is anywhere in the world and every country's phone code, all without having to look at a reference guide.
  29. You're afraid to go more than 15 minutes (max) without checking Twitter/Facebook/news feeds to make sure you're not missing anything.
  30. You rely on to-do lists (yes, plural) to get you through your day, but often don't get to cross anything off until 4 p.m. (after managing a few surprise crises).
  31. You wake from a dream in the middle of the night, rolling over to grab the pen and paper you keep on your nightstand to jot it down so you won't forget an idea for yet another crazy PR stunt. Work on the mind during the day and work on the mind while you sleep!
  32. You can't look at or listen to any form of media without thinking, "My client should be on/in that."
  33. My iPhone is my girlfriend. My MacBook Pro, my best friend.
  34. You're the only person groaning out loud when reading the paper on the bus. How were we not included?
  35. You check your smartphone before brushing your teeth.
  36. People have asked you if you sleep in your office and you've actually thought about where you'd put the sleeping bag…if it ever got to that.
  37. Checking of smartphones and news becomes an everyday routine before bedtime and in the mornings.
  38. You read/hear about a company's crisis and instantly think, "I wonder who their AOR is."
  39. You have one copy of the AP Stylebook at work, one at home, one on your Kindle, and the app on your phone.
  40. At cocktail parties, you speak in quotable sound bites.
  41. You never plan meetings on Fridays afternoons or make personal plans on Friday evenings. You know that “the call" is coming at 4:45 p.m., and everything will need to be dropped anyway.
  42. You actually take surveys. It's good client karma, right?
  43. You think and speak in 140 characters or less.
  44. You call taking any photo a “Photo-op.”
  45. Post-it notes are your lifeblood.
  46. You almost die if your BlackBerry is sent for servicing!
  47. Your friends think you're crazy for your undeniable attachment to your social networks.
  48. Client's products are decorations on your desk.
  49. You eat every meal at the office and have a shelf dedicated to your favorite snacks, most of which include some kind of protein or snack bar.
  50. You work out at 4:00 a.m.
  51. You watch televised press conferences for fun and to steal really good talking points.
  52. Your morning consists of simultaneously pitching different campaigns, for different clients, across different media markets, and often, in different languages.
  53. Something really bad happens and you're the first to announce, "We don't have problems; we have opportunities."

About the Author

Brook Larios

Brook Larios

Brook's 14 years of professional communications experience spans newsroom reporting, national nonprofit and luxury public relations management and building a successful pr agency founded on uncommon connections and creativity. She's a lover of horses, fitness, reading, nature and good conversation. Zany and approachable, Brook prefers removing the surface rather than scratching it.