The survey listed five things, but had no place for open-ended comments. Top-ranked among the five was cold pitching, with 49 percent of those who answered listing that as their top work peeve.
Most people don't like rejection, and the odds are working against you when you cold-call an editor or reporter. There are ways to improve your chances, and most experienced and professional PR people know what they are. First, if time permits, send your pitch in an email, letter or fax before you make the follow-up call. Second, be aware of deadlines and avoid making your follow-up call as deadline approaches. If you do get to speak to the person, before you launch into your pitch, ask if this is a good time to talk. If it's not, ask when is a better time for you to call.
These three tips can help improve your chances of success with cold calls.
The second most common peeve was having your news releases heavily edited. Seventeen percent cited that as their pet peeve. If you don't like having your words edited, then perhaps PR is not the field for you. Of course, beginning with a well-written news release can often minimize the chances of heavy editing. But if you have a boss or client who likes to edit, then you'll just have to live with it. If the edits are making the release unreadable, then you need to speak up. But if you want to have your words go out to the world unedited, consider starting a blog.
Fifteen percent of those surveyed said they hate crazy deadlines. Once again, deadlines come with the territory. Often, proper planning can help avoid those last-minute hassles, but not always.
The next pet peeve is being permanently attached to your smartphone, with 14 percent. The new technology that keeps us constantly connected is fantastic, but it also a big problem. There is a very simply way to deal with it when it becomes a problem... use the "Off" button. We all have a right to our own time, and none of us is paid to be available 24/7, except in an emergency. Bosses and clients need to understand that they can't call you at 3 in the morning. Groundrules need to be established, and if you don't clearly delineate them, you will be taken advantage of.
Finally, five percent said they dislike the lack of sleep. Again, this comes down to setting some groundrules. Many PR agencies have an unfortunate reputation for working new people to the bone -- paying them for 8 or 9 hours a day, but expecting 15 or 20 from them. Those agencies are making good money off the backs of what is essentially cheap labor. To advance, you need to work hard. But you are not a slave and you have no one to blame but yourself if you let yourself be exploited by working crazy hours all the time.
So.. what are your biggest complaints about working in PR?