PR stressful? That's sort of like asking if a bear sh*ts in the woods.
Of course our profession comes with lots of stress. But would you rank it #2 in stress among all careers? Evidently the folks at CareerCast think so, based their annual survey and ranking. Their survey finds only airline pilots have more stressful jobs than ours.
Yes, we have more than a fair share of stress to deal with -- keeping bosses/clients happy, trying to get exposure in media outlets we don't control, crazy deadlines, juggling 10 or 20 or 30 things at the same time. Oh, and what about running a news conference, praying that some big breaking news doesn't happen just before your event.
If you're in PR, I'm sure you can add lots of things to a list of stress-inducers that are unique to our profession.
But let's face it -- for most of us, our jobs are not life & death situations. Although I've heard airline pilots say 99% of the time their jobs are calm and routine, like driving a bus, they may have 300 or more lives in their hands. Now that's stressful.
And what about first responders like EMS technicians, who ranked below us at #9 on the list. Not even on the Top 10 list are firefighters and police. At a moment's notice, they can be walking into danger while we in PR would be walking (or running) away from it. What about ER doctors and nurses? I'd also put high on the list steelworkers and high-rise window washers.
I have no idea why the survey lists at #4 photo journalists. Especially these days when you don't have to worry about making a mistake processing the film, and today's camera's can ensure you're in focus. And newscasters at #5? I know they worry everytime the ratings books come out. Are their numbers down? What's their Q-rating for likability? Will they keep their $150,000+ jobs? But unless they're camera-shy (which obviously they're not), I don't think there's a lot of stress. I'd say a newscast's producer has more stress.
Architects at #7 and real estate agents at #10 -- I don't know about that. OK, I can sort of understand stockbrokers at #8, since their recommendations can cost clients a bundle and they have to answer to them. But hey, it's not like it's their own money.
So yes, we in Public Relations have more stress than many other jobs. But most of us who choose this field crave the energy, excitement and challenges. I'd rather be doing this than selling insurance, parking cars or flying a jumbo jet.
A fellow PR pro, Lauren Fernandez in Kansas City has a fun take on the survey. It's worth a read.