The CareerCast report on most stressful jobs for 2013 came out and PR Manager/Executive was number 5 on the list. There has been a lot of talk about this, mainly some confusion as to how something like PR could be ranked right up there with life saving occupations like firefighters and members of the military. These people are faced with life or death situations every day and are forced to make crucial decisions at the drop of a hat.
While PR people often feel like they are in similar situations, because of pressure put on them by clients, other people in their agency, and the media, the truth is, their daily critical decisions hardly ever deal with matters of life or death. It’s important to have a healthy sense of drive and feel your work is important, without getting too carried away and feeling like your world is going to end if one thing doesn’t turn out the way you wanted it to. Managing the situations and the stress are important to being successful. There are some things you can do to manage the stress of a PR job, or any job that occasionally causes stress.
Stay on top of everything. If you know what you have to do and how you are going to do it, you are much less likely to feel bogged down and stressed out. This is where lists come in. In addition, keep in regular contact with your clients or other people working on a project with you so that you are always up to speed on what they are doing and what they want from you.
Keep expectations realistic. Make sure that you and your clients are aware of the realistic goals you have set. Don’t let a client get carried away and build unrealistic expectations of something you will not be able to help them achieve. Be honest from the beginning and continuously throughout the relationship so that you don’t find yourself risking disappointment and scrambling to pull off the impossible.
Plan for the worst. Hopefully, a client will always have something exciting and newsworthy going on. But this isn’t always the case. There are always times when you or a client wish to gain some coverage, but just don’t have anything new to promote. Keep a couple of ideas up your sleeve for times like this. A few timeless ideas that will be applicable at any time of year and at any stage in the business’ life, will come in handy if you ever feel pressure for promotion. There is nothing worse than feeling like you have nothing to work with, so writing down a few ideas before the time comes will save some stress later on.
Do everything you can do, as soon as you can do it. Don’t put things off when you have the ability to take care of them. You will feel less stress if you have completed every task that you could each day. If an email comes in during the evening and you are technically not on the clock, just shoot a response back immediately. Not only will people see you as reliable and on top of things, but it’s one less thing to have to worry about later. The less you have to add to your to do list for the morning the more stress-free you will be.
Take a little time for yourself. Sometimes you just need to make sure you are personally relaxed and refreshed. When you feel good and ready to take on the world, little things don’t stress you out so easily. Indulge in a weekly yoga class, take a walk with a friend during lunch, paint on the weekend. Whatever makes you feel relaxed and allows a bit of time for yourself and refreshes your mind.
These are some ways to stay stress free in a stressful job. Whatever works for you is great. What do you do to handle stress in PR or another stressful job?