Stress: There is a fair amount of stress in a PR and marketing agency because we need to get a lot done in a short time with a few very smart people. Stress in your brain is telling you that it’s running in overdrive. And that is a lot of fun, because all of your senses are on high alert, time moves at blazing speed, everything you do is intentional, adrenaline is pumping. Of course, in order to be energized by stress instead of frozen by it, you have to be the kind of person who prefers to live intensely, who, as the saying goes, would rather wear out than rust out.
Another word for stress in the good sense is “flow,” a concept described by writer Mihály Csíkszentmihályi as “the mental state of operation in which a person performing an activity is fully immersed in a feeling of energized focus, full involvement, and enjoyment in the process of the activity.
Make things happen: I began my career as a newspaperman, which is also a heap of fun. After all, what is not to like about spending your day talking with people and writing about what you learn? But journalism is a different kind of fun, like the difference between watching and playing a sport. That is, as a reporter I wrote about what other people did. I was not an instigator. As a public relations consultant and marketer, I make things happen, and that is a lot more fun. I still spend most of my day talking with people and writing about it. The difference is, I now talk about what we want to accomplish for our clients and I write to make it happen.
As Winston Churchill put it, “I like things to happen; and if they don’t happen, I like to make them happen.” If you agree with this, you will enjoy life inside a well-run public relations and marketing agency.
Use your education: How many people do you know whose jobs have little to nothing to do with the college degree they earned? Humanities majors in particular tend to suffer this indignity. It is becoming such a problem that liberal arts colleges like my alma mater, Centre College, are going out of their way to emphasize the success of their graduates in the workforce. Some are even adding vocational majors, like business and communications. (Fortunately, Centre has not traveled down this road to perdition.)
I’m an English and philosophy major who uses his education every day. No other education could have better prepared me to think clearly and communicate persuasively, which is what I am paid to do. What other career actually rewards knowledge of literature and ideas?
Work with smart people: We spend at least one third of our waking life at work. Those hours are a lot more interesting if the people you spend them with are fully alert, well-educated, confident and sharp – as are people who staff a great PR and marketing agency.