How To Stay Happy At A PR Agency

What is the key to a long-term stay at your job?

For both technology and PR, 14 years at the same agency would by many standards make me a Neanderthal. 

When the average career span of an agency PR practitioner seems to be anywhere from five to seven years, I’m revisiting why I’ve decided to stay. I’ll call them the four C’s.

1. The Clients: Over time I have been afforded the opportunity to work with some extremely talented communications professionals, product managers, C-level executives, and visionaries. For me personally, I’ve also been fortunate to develop a level of expertise within certain industries, storage being one of them. It’s the clients that keep things moving, not just because of the budgets, but because you’re working to help tell a compelling story, or introduce a new product or service that they believe will set the industry on fire, or it may simply be to participate in all the relevant discussions and opportunities that exist. If it weren’t for the clients and striving to do your best on their behalf, there’d be little excitement.

2. My Colleagues: I have been extremely fortunate to work with some of the most creative minds in PR. Time and time again I am amazed after sitting through a brainstorm, the ideas, suggestions and potential each and every individual gives to a pressing client challenge. And, it’s not just about the work. Anyone who enjoys foozball knows how competitive our annual March/April Madness Foozball Tourney can really get.

3. The Challenges: We need business press? What are we doing to generate meaningful coverage ongoing? What do we need to win more product awards? We need you to win this new biz pitch? I know so-and-so is on vacation, out sick, taking a personal day, but we didn’t plan for our client’s leading competitor to launch this now, we need to respond today! Whatever the challenge thrown at, to, or created, when you work with a group of talented professionals as those who work at Lois Paul & Partners, you need to take each and every challenge with a fresh perspective. And, provide the right recommendations to get the job done. Sometimes, that can be the best challenge in and of itself!

4. The Camaraderie: You can’t say enough about the friendships, personal and professional, that I have been privileged to experience over time. And I am sure there will be many more to follow. Like many summer movie releases, emotions run the gamut, from laughter to frustration to tears. Through it all though, you have shared experiences that you cannot trade, and we’re all the better for them.

I understand agency life and demands are not for everyone. Trust me, there are trade-offs, but for those who look for daily challenges, there are fewer ways to experience them then at an agency. 

About the Author
Don Jennings is a Vice President at Lois Paul & Partners. He works with many of his clients to incorporate best practice social media communications to enhance the effectiveness of their PR programs. It is rumored that Don has never met a storage, networking, RFID or IT monitoring technology he hasn’t liked. Feel free to reach out to him via Twitter: @djenningspr.

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8 comments on “How To Stay Happy At A PR Agency

  1. Yay, I finally get to comment on a guest post from Don! As someone who recently left the agency world, this is a refreshing post to read. I’m sure that agencies vary from industry to industry, but there are some similarities across the board. I recall how camaraderie carried me through some of the toughest client projects.

    But you make a good point that agency work is not for everyone (I guess I fit into the typical life span) but nothing can replace the breadth of experience and skills I gained as a result.

    • Krista – Thanks for the read and comments. I have a running joke with a good friend who works internally at a storage company and he always tells me he wished he could work at an agency so he could do PR again. The way I look at it as long as you’re learning and having fun, you’re in the right position, regardless if that be agency or internal.

      -Don J.

  2. Thank you Don! You are so right! Though I haven’t been at my current agency for only two years, I can tell you that I see myself here for a long time based on many of the points that you made.

    Thank you for sharing.

    • Sherrie – thanks for the read and comments. That’s great to hear things are going well where you are, that’s awesome!

      -Don J.

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