Public Relations: What it’s not

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Ladies and Gents, I, Kadia Kimberly Scott, am tired. So, so, so tired. “Tired of what”, you may ask. I’m tired of explaining to people what my intentions are for my future public relations career. I want this job because I enjoy being busy. I want this job because I love feeling that great sense of accomplishment when I get a lot of things done in a short period of time. I want this job because I enjoy planning things,  problem solving,  clearing my to-do-list, being creative, getting stuff done, the list goes on and on. I never get tired of explaining that. What I get tired of is peoples Skeptical reactions. People say things like “what celebrities do you want to work for?” and “I bet your excited about all the partying you get to do.” and my least favorite “I bet you like lying to the public too, huh?”

Seriously people? I’m going to address these one at time so that my head doesn’t explode from anger.

“What celebrities do you want to work with?” Okay, it is true that SOME people that get in to public relations become publicist, but becoming a publicist is not my only option. When I say “I want to be a public relations practitioner” that is referring to more than just work with celebrities. One of the major assumptions people have about the field is that we all represent celebrities. That is very not true. I had to explain to  my sister the other day the other aspects of P.R. She had no idea that it was more than celebrity work! People don’t realize that any and every company has a major need for public relations practitioners to help manage their relationships. I personally do not care to do damage control for Lindsey Lohans awful image (I feel sorry for the person that does). It’s not what I’m about.

“I bet your excited about all the partying.” Uh… WHAT! It is true that public relations practitioners may have to do event planning. It is also true that some of those events will be parties. But there is no chance I, as professional, will be able to participate in any dancing, singing, socializing, and especially drinking. I’m at work! I’ll be too busy holding the event together to actually enjoy it! A dear friend of mine sent me a job posting that she thought I would want to see shortly after I changed my major to public relations. It was essentially a job that hired attractive girls to work at their bars. The dress code was a little clothing as possible and it required a photo with the application. I am not in college to do that!!! I can do that now with out the degree! That is not public relations! I have since forgiven my friend but I hate that people assume that I’m going through 4 years of school to get drunk and party. It’s not what I want and neither do my colleagues.

Lastly, “I bet you like lying to the public too, huh?”. Ladies and Gents, the job of the public relations practitioner is build and maintain healthy and positive relationships with and organization and it’s stakeholders. Please explain to  me how lying to the public would help with this at all! Many people assume my job will be to lie to everyone in order to make my company look good. This may be true for the movies but in real life if you constantly lie to the public about your client you’ll make the company look bad, yourself look bad, and lose all credibility. According to our definition this is not our job. Yes, it is true that SOME P.R.  practitioners lie to the public sometime. But when they get caught all hell breaks loose!!!

Now that I’ve set that straight I feel a little less… tired.

 

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5 responses »

  1. Dear Kadia,

    I, Gary Barton, is pleased. Very, very, very pleased!!! In fact, I want to congratulate you on your efforts to explain your audience why you want to work in the PR field! To be honest, when I first came into the Intro of P.R. class, I thought it would be nothing more than a career that doesn’t have a stable foundation and it’s shifts towards the “pink-collar” field. But after reading your post, you’ve changed my perception and I want to say thank you for re-educating me about the PR field and why is it beneficial towards you!

    Gary B.

  2. I’ve gotten that too. About the partying, I mean. I’ve literally had people ask me if I was going to be hosting costume parties and the like because I am a Theatre major with a minor in Public Relations. I guess people think that just because you are in Public Relations that you are going to be planning and attending and schmoozing at parties.

    The other one that REALLY bothers me is the common misconception that PR majors are dumb. I don’t know where that came from. I most certainly am not dumb. And this is a very writing and work heavy major. I can’t imagine a “dumb” person being able to handle that.

    So, to reiterate, I will agree with you. Ignorant people are quite annoying and sometimes need to keep their stupid questions to themselves.

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  4. I totally understand what you are talking about; when I told my grandparents, I was applying for an internship with the Department of State, my grandma said,
    “Oh, are you going to work on all the parties at the presidential inauguration? You better watch out for people sneaking in like last time.”
    Seriously? I was seriously speechless, her response was wrong on so many different levels I wasn’t even sure where to start. Before I could even attempt to start, my grandfathers response actually made hers look good. He said (to my grandmother),
    “No, she’ll probably be the one who releases statements from Hillary, and answers questions about the Monica Lewinski scandal.”
    Needless to say, my “short visit” turned into about a 3-hour conversation where I tried desperately to explain what exactly I was going to try to do with my degree. The conversation ended with me writing down the “appropriate” response when people asked: what I was studying in school, and what I was hoping to do after I graduated on the notepad by the phone. I’m still not sure they completely grasp what I want to do but at least they aren’t telling my relatives I’m trying to plan the president’s parties.

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