THE BIG PITCH: What is the absolute worst job in public relations, and what makes it so awful?

Scott Smith

Scott Smith

Scott Smith

EntrepreneurPR

Sacramento, CA

The worst job in PR? I can't think of a lot of 'bad PR jobs;' however, I think one difficult task might be establishing a name and credibility in the industry. Because life, and especially PR, is so much about connections, it's obviously a lot tougher getting your message noticed when you're just starting out. For example, I recently watched E!'s True Hollywood Story special about All in the Family. Turns out Rob Reiner (Michael 'Meathead' Stivic) graduated from Beverly Hills High School and producer Norman Lear was close friends with his father, who was also in the industry. I'm not trying to take anything away from Rob Reiner; nonetheless, I'm sure he had a big advantage over, say, a young stage actor from Des Moines who would have had to land an audition with Norman Lear without the benefit of his dad's industry connections!



Darren Johnson

Southampton College of Long Island University

Southampton, NY

The stock answer would be working for a cigarette company or the like and having to promote a product that hurts people. A PR person would have to be on his or her toes all the time because the products are constantly being attacked. But if one can get past the ethical concerns, working for a place like Philip Morris or Smith & Wesson would surely pose a lesser challenge from a creative standpoint than working for an organization that almost everyone's indifferent about. Writing copy about everyday stuff like toilet tissue, wire hangers or neckties could lead a PR pro to the edge of the nearest tall building.



Elizabeth Lapham

Fleishman-Hillard

Atlanta

Because I feel strongly that PR makes for a stimulating and fulfilling career, it is tough to easily identify 'the worst job' in our field. I do, however, have a great deal of compassion for those dedicated souls in agencies and in corporate America who are tasked with managing communications in times of trauma, tragedy and life-altering news. One must be stoic, sensitive, articulate and composed, all in spite of the hearts you may be breaking and the untold pain your words may inflict on the families and loved ones of the victims who are the subject of your breaking news.

To be the bearer of bad news is never ideal; therefore, those who have to manage through that challenge have my utmost respect. Hopefully to them, theirs is not the 'worst' job in PR.



Susan Matthews

News Generation

Bethesda, MD

There are two things that can make a PR job bad: having no passion for your pitch and having to ethically compromise what you believe in to get the job done. The worst PR job would have to be one that combines the two. For me, it would be a job in the tobacco industry pitching a product.

Having two grandmothers who passed away from smoking-related illnesses, I wouldn't have the ambition or the principles that would allow me to do the job. Another factor that makes a PR job bad is working for a client who does not understand the value of PR. As a result, you spend all of your time justifying your efforts, changing your pitch to meet someone else's needs instead of the media's and finding advertising equivalencies for hits that you worked hard to place and know have much greater intrinsic value than ad spots





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