Tuesday, 5 January 2010

In which I don't give up the day job, but think about it

Maybe it’s because it’s a naturally introspective time of year, maybe that it’s I’ve had four weeks lying on the sofa to think about it, but of late there’s been a faint notion buzzing round my consciousness that’s becoming increasingly difficult to ignore: whilst I love my job, and the people I work with, the realisation that, long term, PR might not be for me.

It’s challenging (more often than not, in more ways than one), it’s creative, and it’s great fun. I’ve met some amazing people, and some I wouldn’t spit on if they were ablaze. It’s brilliant to see quotations I’ve written as box-outs on the BBC news site. I love the fact that part of what I get paid to do is write, and have heated discussions with my boss about syntax and grammar. I know vast amounts about how the media work, and can spot a PR-placed story at 100 paces. And, ultimately, when there’s integrity in a strategy and its implementation, I think PR can do an important job in communicating a message, whatever that may be.

Maybe if I were sitting in the press office of an organisation that does something worthwhile for mankind, it’d be different. But there are moments when I have to steel myself before I pick up the phone, knowing that I’m about to waste a poor journo’s time with information I know isn’t newsworthy. It doesn’t do anyone any favours – it pisses off the journo, and it makes for a depressing day for me, given the inevitable rudeness that follows.

And so, I think there will come a point when I will take a leap and see what else is out there that I could do without feeling compromised. Maybe something writingy; something politicky; something different entirely. But then, a job was advertised today for PR manager of a charity that I feel some affinity with – and maybe something like that is the way to go: day to day stuff I know I enjoy, for a client I really believe in.

Or maybe I should jack it all in, and revert to Plan A: marry rich. It’s gotta be easier than all this thinking.


pinkjellybaby said...

I love working for a charity..or in that kind of arena. Don't think I could ever go back to working for some big money making company. It's nice to go to work every day knowing that people are there because they want to be and that it's not all about making money for some faceless fat cat.

Huw said...

Having that faint buzz whilst you still love your job is great; it really affords you the luxury of having jolly good look before doing any leaping. Don't marry rich; if all goes well you have another 60 or so years on this planet left, and that's a long time to asking how someone's day was.

Blue soup said...

I felt this way when I worked for an agency. Actually, no, I totally lost my love of comms. I effing hated agency work. You work for a good - nice - agency. You are a 'lucky one'. When I went back 'inhouse' I rediscovered it all over again. I am an inhouse person. It doesn't suit everyone. I followed your move down to London to your new job with interest. I find it incredible that some people thrive on agency life. :)

But anyway.... even as an inhouse person - and working in sectors that I genuinely find interesting - I'm not a 'pure PR' person and my new job should be wider than just PR as we know it. It should be back into internal comms, some marcomms copywriting now and then. PR is exhausting, it really is. Not just because selling in can be hard, cold, soul less, but it is relentless. There is very rarely downtime. It's bam bam bam and I don't think that is sustainable for long.

The beautiful thing about PR and your skills is that they are transferable to so many other professions.

Enjoy it because you enjoy it but just keep your eyes open. You never know what is around the corner. We live in a funny world, especially with the economy all battered and bruised. It helps you work out what is what, and what you want.

Good luck x

Rebecca said...

The thing is, people who marry for money usually end up paying for it, in one way or another. And that includes my ex-husband who is now a barely functional alcoholic. In fact, whoops!, he just got bitten by another leftover obligation even though it's been decades since the divorce. And it's still sweet to watch.

So, yeah, you wanna step lightly around that minefield. ;)

Please Don't Eat With Your Mouth Open said...

Its strange, as much as I love writing, PR has never struck me as something I'd like to do. In fact, my worst bit about my stint as a travel journo was having to dig through the sales crap that PRs feed you in order to get their story in the rags. But there's always been a PR / Journalist battle in that respect :)

Now, funnily enough, I don't think I want to be on either side of the stick. It'd be a career overhaul if I had a career to start with.

jman said...

I can understand your inner tension; there is always the potential for soul destruction in the world of PR and you have such a lovely soul. Take good care of it.

Brennig said...

I think you've probably summed up the feelings of a lot of people. But yeah, sometimes we have to make a big change to find something that suits. Not sure that marrying money is the right change though. :-)

Blonde said...

PJB: You see, without wishing to sound all hippy drippy, I'd love to have that, and do something more (sssh) 'worthwhile'.

Huw: Sage advice. I think that's the way I'm going to go - spend some time discovering what's out there. I'm in no hurry to leave present job, as I still have huge amounts to learn here.

BS: Love, you have hit the nail precisely on the head. It relentless - I thought that initially, I was just finding the transition tough, but now I know that it's simply the pace of the day I find exhausting! Your recent decisions have also been something that have made me sit back and think. Hopefully the current position will be a happier one (crying bosses notwithstanding), and we'll both end up doing something that gives us what we want...

Rebecca: Oof. Now there's some words of warning!

PDEWYMO: That is indeed the battle - such a love/hate relationship, and one that's made easier if you're doing truly newsworthy things, rather than just wasting people's time...

Jman: Aw, that's very sweet of you (although I think I know several people who'd disagree). The trick is to find something that'll make me feel good, whilst paying enough to keep me in shoes. Not as easy as it sounds.

Bren: Possibly not. Though I might try it - at least that way, there'd be something to live on whilst job hunting.

Hamish said... much money are we talking here........?

smidge said...

Interesting, i've done the agency side and now the public side (for the last 5 years) and i'm thinking of moving the other way.

There is a lot to be said for working for a cause, but you'll find the grass is no way as green as you think - in the public sector (or charity) there is little thanks to make up for the the loss of salary and most of the time you'll be frustrated even more by the red tape.

I'm not sure that in any job you'll find people who want to be there because they want to be, a job is a job at the end of the day.

P.s my sister married rich, posh handbag - yes, posh car - yes, happy? I'm really not sure!

Mike said...

Interesting issue. I spent 18 years as a journalist, then a dozen in local government. That "making the world a better place" is an important part of making me feel good. I fill that space now by being able to donate money to good causes and serve on Boards. You can satisfy that need without giving up the day job. Of course that's after a bunch of years of satsifying it on the job.

Helena Halme said...

Hi there and Happy New Year to you. I've tagged you in a Meme over on my blog.

Helena xx

Zstep said...

Don't listen to any of them Blonde. Marry money!

Cookiemouse said...

it's always best to do what you believe in, and if you believe in marrying rich, then marry rich. Working for non-profits, although rewarding, can be a long hard grind.

Cat said...

I've done both consultancy and in-house, and while I loved the variety in consultancy, I often felt like it was a bit soul-less. I hated the idea that my time was being sold in 15 minute blocks too.

In-house, I was able to get stuck into bigger projects, and to get more involved in events, which I really enjoyed. I also felt that I had a lot more autonomy when it came to managing budgets and the like.

As you know, I now teach - so there's a whole load of journo-botherers following in my footsteps, with my apostrophe policing ringing in their ears. In many ways I love it, but like any job, it has its grind-y parts. I can't see me doing it forever, or even more than a couple of years longer.

Marrying rich sounds good!

grandad says said...

Hamish's comment tickles. jman's correct as he usually is.

As to new jobs.....find a way to make your posts pay the mortgage.

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