Q: I have been working in PR for the last three years and would
like to make it my career. I have a BA degree in English. Would it help
my PR career to get a Masters in Journalism?
Ms. C, Chicago
A: An advanced degree is always helpful but if you want to advance your
career in today's market, I would strongly recommend you get an MBA.
An MBA gives you instant credibility with senior execs and will allow
you to see the company and its problems from a financial
Coupled with your PR experience this can make you a valuable advisor in
the executive suite.
Also, while any training that helps you learn how to write and
communicate in general is helpful in PR, the day is long gone when a
journalism degree is seen as an asset in the PR job market.
Q: I have read a lot about Regulation Fair Disclosure and it seems to be
very controversial with our investor relations executives. Should PR be
involved in this issue?
Mr. J, New York
A: PR absolutely should be involved in Reg FD. Briefly, this legislation
requires companies to disclose the same information to everyone at the
same time, thereby cutting off Wall Street analysts from their formerly
exclusive access to inside company information.
Since 96% of all US companies now have some form of stock ownership,
this regulation impacts almost all of your employees, and PR should
definitely be involved. Reg FD, since it is so broad and applies to all
the various constituencies of a company, should be one of your top
Q: I was talking to a colleague in a bar the other night and it turns
out she's earning more than me. What should I do about it?
Ms. Y, Miami
A: Oh, that old chestnut. It's a common human characteristic to believe
we are underpaid. First, do some research and find out if you are truly
underpaid (see PRWeek's Salary Survey, March 26th). If you find out you
are really underpaid then make an assessment as to whether you could be
easily replaced by someone who makes the same or less. Always remember -
companies pay for what they value. If they are not paying you a market
wage, then it is probably because they don't value your function (read:
it's time to look for a new job). And remember: they can get away with
underpaying people in this market. It is harder to ask for a pay raise
in a down market.
Q: All of my friends are getting tattoos and I would like to do the
same. Will that affect my ability to get a job?
Mr. T, San Francisco
A: Only if you want to work in corporate America. And, of course, it
depends on where it is. If it's highly prominent, it's a definite no-no.
If it's more discreet (like, no one can see it if you've got your
clothes on), you can get away with it. If they object, you can bust them
for sexual harassment!
But seriously, open up any annual report and tell me how many employees,
much less, executives, do you see with tattoos? I realize this is
somewhat of a generational issue, but you should remember that most of
the people who do the hiring are older. They were raised to regard
tattoos as something that drunken sailors, drug users and bikers get -
not clean-cut, ambitious young recruits who are looking to be taken