Although public relations is exciting and engaging, it ranks as one of the most stressful professions. This unfortunate ranking may be due to the idea (or reality) that public relations is a fast-paced industry where professionals have to be ready to manage a crisis at any hour, with lots to know and learn at all times. To be frank, we’re always on — but is the “always on” culture necessarily a bad thing?
The answer varies. An eager new professional may love being immersed in their work, thinking that the commitment and long hours is what it takes to climb the corporate ladder. From an executive’s point of view, they may deem the long hours inhibiting from personal activities like spending time with loved ones or taking care of their health.
There’s the saying, “When you love what you do, it’ll never feel like work.” Most aspects of public relations are exciting for those who truly love it. When there is passion for the work, it is natural to always be on — in many sectors of public relations, key events happen after “office hours.” Passionate professionals genuinely want to keep up with the latest trends and build relationships with influencers and journalists who cover niche subject matters.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, always being on means there is no clear distinction between work and play. Because public relations professionals often choose to work in a niche industry they enjoy, things that were pleasurable before starting a career can now be incorporated into work projects and as a hook when pitching journalists. But at the end of the day, where is the balance?
For those who find the always on culture to be taxing, there is a solution for more work/life balance. Professionals can limit their working hours to a set amount of hours per week, including the time spent returning emails, working on press releases, and managing budgets. During designated free time, turn on your out of office, do an activity that will help clear your head, attend community events, and spend time with those who mean most to you.
Are there any other work/life balance tips that you practice in the “always on” public relations industry?
Jasmine L. Kent, a member of PRSA-LA, is a fan of all things food and beverage, pop culture, and media. Combining all three passions, Jasmine builds community through engaging online marketing and dynamic events as a communications professional in Los Angeles, CA. Keep up with her on Twitter at @LoveJasPR or visit LoveJasPR.com.