CAREERS: Pandora's Problem Page

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


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