Q I'm a PR major at a large university, and I'm trying to choose a minor for my degree. My professor recommends that PR majors take communications or advertising, but in such a big school with a lot of choices, I am leaning towards taking something that might diversify my education, such as English or film. What do you think?
Ms. P, Miami
A While PR is a division of most communications programs at universities, and other subjects may be discussed within those courses, it's somewhat redundant to be a PR major with a minor in communications. I think it's very wise to gain other skills and knowledge.
English could help you develop the superb writing skills that would make you an asset as a PR pro. However, unless you really enjoy literature or feel that your program does not emphasize writing enough, I'd go with something that you're really interested in personally. Who knows? If you really enjoy film or art history, your expertise would make you perfect for a niche job representing actors, studios, galleries, or artists. Other subjects I'd recommend considering are history, politics, philosophy, or a foreign language.
PR pros are lucky that their jobs can extend to a multitude of different industries and arenas. You just might discover a previously unknown affinity for politics or poetry. Remember that a good education doesn't merely train you for a job; it broadens your horizons and makes you a more well-rounded person.
Q I've been at my job for a short time, and I feel like I've really found my calling. I get along well with my coworkers, I feel challenged by my work, and I get to represent interesting and diverse clients. My boss, however, is a person who is easily stressed out, and continually tells me that he is overwhelmed by his enormous workload. While he is always in a state of panic, I am a naturally calm person. I feel that he's threatened by my demeanor, and wishes that I would get stressed every once in a while.
It definitely causes some tension in our office. The last thing we need is more stress. I wish I could do something to help him, but I don't know what.
Ms. T, Chicago
A First of all, congratulations on finding your dream job. Yours is a common workplace problem. People deal with stress in different ways, and it just happens that your boss is someone who acts out when under the gun. Other people withdraw and talk to no one when they are overwhelmed at work. At any rate, I think that the source of tension is a combination of the empathy that you feel for him and his jealousy over your calm nature, though the latter suggestion is a bit of a stretch. I doubt that he has the time to be jealous of your situation.
I feel the difference between your mannerisms is actually an asset. If you were as stressed as your boss, the place would just be a giant panic room. Though an ideal situation would be for both of you to be calm, your personalities are quite compatible. You offer him a calm stability that he can count on when he is finding it hard to get things done (or keep his head about him).
As for doing something to help him, the best idea in your situation is to simply offer your help whenever he is stressed. Maybe you can help ease his workload by volunteering to do some simpler tasks that would otherwise take up a great deal of his time. You can also offer to talk about anything that he gets frustrated about. Perhaps you can work out a way to work more efficiently, or adjust deadlines to minimize the stress that both of you are experiencing. Good luck.
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