I read a terrific post on PR Daily recently entitled “8 Fundamental Truths about Public Relations” by Christina Nicholson that got me to thinking about all the things I pass on to students at Curry College who wind up in my “Principles of Public Relations” class.
I tell them about the “fun” stuff…dealing with crises, orchestrating way cool promotional events with professional/celebrity sports figures here in the Boston area, getting amazing media coverage for employees and students at various organizations where I’ve worked.
I kind of hint at the downsides to the business…snarky reporters who hang up in the middle of your (to you) brilliant pitch, bosses who demand that you “call the editor” of the Boston Globe and read him the riot act over recent coverage of your organization, a dead body discovered in the bushes right outside your main office…
As I tell anyone and everyone with whom I come in contact, I loved my former life as a PR professional as much as I love now my current life as PR professor. As a member of Curry’s Communication Department and as “chief cook and bottle washer” for our ever-expanding Public Relations Concentration, I get a chance to introduce young men and women to what has consumed nearly 50 years of my life.
For those who “drink the Kool-Aid” and commit to studying public relations as well as doing PR in multiple internships, I try to paint as realistic a picture as possible of what lies ahead.
I’m also reminded, as I do this, of something a frazzled salesman said to my wife years ago when she spotted a microscopic flaw in a lamp we were interested in buying and had immediately launched into her awe-inspiring-to-this-day bargaining mode. (I’ve told this story a couple of times before in previous posts, so it may sound familiar.)
After about a half-hour of her expressing an interest in the lamp but then zeroing in on the flaw and attempting to negotiate a reduced price, the hapless fellow finally burst out with an exasperated “Nothing’s perfect, little girl!”
And that’s the point I want to make about public relations as a profession. As I tell my students, there are some incredible highs…days when it seems like everything you touch turns to gold. And then there are gut-wrenching lows, when everything you come near turns to donkey poop.
That’s called “life,” and there’s not a whole lot as a human being you can do about it other than to pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and try it again.
I’m also not suggesting that you should accept “close enough” as your standard of professionalism. You should always go for the gold…do your absolute very best…every single time. Don’t “settle.” Don’t “sacrifice.” Put every ounce of your pride and professionalism into everything you do for clients or employers…or the world.
But, by the same token, don’t beat yourself up when things don’t go exactly as you had envisioned. Be optimistic…the next time, they will.
And always keep in the back of your mind that salesman’s wise words… “Nothing’s perfect, little girl.”
(P.s., we wound up buying the lamp…at a reduced price!)