Big Misconception: PR Doesn’t Get Easier As You Move Up In Your Career

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If you were to poll your office regarding which staff members do the most work,
I’d be willing to bet that most would say junior staff. However, I’m beginning to learn that moving up and being promoted does not necessarily mean you can relax and have everyone ‘underneath you’ do all the work.

Currently in my fifth year in PR, I can tell you that I’m being challenged more so now than I ever have in my career. How come? Here’s a few of the things I’m currently going through:

1) Learning how to manage others.

2) Writing more comprehensive client plans.

3) Trying to gain a comfort level discussing compensation and title issues with my boss(es).

4) Understanding that every client is different and so is the way you work/respond to each one. In other words, client relations.

5) Figuring out how to get media opportunities in a landscape that is seeing less and less journalists/outlets to pitch

I can easily say that this has not always been an effortless or fun transition moving up from Account Coordinator to Account Supervisor. But with that said, I AM learning something new everyday. The day that stops happening is the day that I’ll move in-house or to another agency or ultimately decide to take my career in a different path. Because to me, no matter if you’re in PR or any other industry, it’s all about learning and constantly challenging yourself and being challenged by your superiors/clients. Otherwise, you’ll never reach your full potential.

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16 comments on “Big Misconception: PR Doesn’t Get Easier As You Move Up In Your Career

  1. Well said. You’re right that there is always more work to be done and new lessons to learn, but if it makes you feel any better — after you hit about year 10 the work does gets easier. Smiley face implied!

    There is still a ton to do – if you are in the right position – but, at some point your instinct takes over and you can really provide the value that comes with experience.

    Wow posting that comment made me feel old.

  2. This might surprise some, but even as a PR student I am experiencing some of the same challenges. I tend to find myself in leadership positions where I am called to manage a team and delegate tasks to other team members. My struggle comes in letting go enough to not try to do all the work myself. I suppose it’s the perfectionist in me. My experiences so far have taught me that leading or managing a team is a skill that you have to work to cultivate daily.

    Like you, I take challenges as a good thing; without a little challenge there is no way to grow and learn. It is good to hear that in five years when I am in a position like yours, I will still be learning everyday.

  3. 1) Learning how to manage others.

    This has been the hardest for me – thanks to some departures, my career has seemingly been fast-tracked, and all of a sudden, I have people answering to me. Learning to delegate and trust the people underneath me has been one of the toughest lessons for me.

    • This has been challenging for me as well. What’s worked for me is that I manage each colleague differently. Some like email, some like speaking with you 1-on-1, etc. Every individual is different so you don’t need to develop one management style necessarily.

      Hope this helps.

  4. I think each stage in your career brings new and unique challenges. I will never forget how hard I worked as an intern, trying desperately to learn the ropes and find my path. Likewise, working directly with clients, managing others and having executive level responsibility each came with a heightened sense of responsibility and accountability. At every level you’ll find folks who try and coast, as well as those who help you to redefine the term “work ethic.” I aspire to be grouped with the latter and fully expect I will find ways to even more as my career progresses!

    • Thanks for adding some great thoughts, Valerie. I should have mentioned the heightened level of accountability/responsibility. It’s one thing to screw up on a client issue when you are an AC, and a completely different thing when you are a VP! Hopefully along the way we all learn how to act and respond in different situations and use that knowledge to help us as we move up the corporate ladder.

  5. Good article. It is all about being challenged and your being able to accept and learn from these challenges. If your lucky the challenges and ability to meet them will keep coming.

  6. This is a great article but as a PR student in my last year of college I was wondering if you could give me some advice. It seems like I learn more about the industry from blogs like yours than from any of my professors. They lack the real world experience that you are currently in the middle of. How do you feel about the growing trend in PR of synergizing backward overflow? Is it here to stay or do you think it is a fad? Much thanks and keep up the great work.

    • I can tell you that most of the stuff I learned came from firsthand experience. I worked throughout college at newspapers, a radio station, and even a TV station and nothing a professor teaches you compares to actually going into the field and doing the work. My advice to you would be to get as many internships as possible before entering the workforce. This will help fully prepare you for your career.

      Hope this helps, Eric.

  7. I was just talking about this today. It is the work that is most challenging and the most uncomfortable that teaches you how much you actually know. Great post!

  8. I just started following your blog and what timing! This post really struck home with me and I couldn’t agree more. It’s sooo important to keep learning and challenging yourself in your career. Otherwise, you get bored and could start to lose your passion!

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