Siddhartha Mukherjee: Why work in PR?

01 Jun,2017

By Siddhartha Mukherjee

 

There was a time when for some, getting into PR career came as a last option. However, now, with there being literally no end to career ideas, when people still land up in PR profession, one would expect that the move was well thought through!

 

But sadly, when you ask business or communication school students or professionals who are, say, two-three years old into this profession,a basic question – why did you get into PR? – some amazingly bizarre, naïve and yet-so-confident responses come by. Here is a quick collation of some scattered responses I have come across:

1. I like meeting people: This is one of the common responses I have come across. The fact that they have joined this profession because of their “aspiration” to meet people, comes across as a wake-up call. The best part is that such candidates are being recruited/absorbed by recruiters (read: agencies and corpcomm departments). If such is the candidate’s career aspiration, god save him/her, god save the employer and may the universe save the client. If I were to try and reconnect, is this the reason why both the employer and employee only talk about how many journalists do they know?

2. It is Glamorous: Well, starting your career sifting through newspapers and magazines, making clippings dossier, chasing journalists to get them to write on their clients, convincing them not write negatively on their clients or to turn up for a press conference, burning the midnight oil to create and manage an event, etc. is far, far from Glamorous! Not only that, this scenario does not change much well into the latter years!

3. I Get to meet and be with Bigwigs: An advantage no doubt, but such momentary pleasures come in short flashes. Whether they be corporate, sports or movie celebrities, it comes at a price of physically andmentally strenuous work and comes after a particular level of seniority.

4. I like working in ‘Media’: Media is often associated with glamour. Being on TV or Newspaper is equal to media which in turn is equal to news and a lot of other aspects. They have no clue of the segments or corridors within media and the type of skill sets each demand!

5. I get to travel (at the Client’s cost): Yes, this too came as a category of response, though in small proportions. While I can understand the desire to explore geographies persisted across generations, more so in today’s, but this being the driver to opt for PR leaves me spell bound.

 

Very rarely have I heard of responses which border around related words like passion to build brands, reputation, perception, thought leadership, drive business, research, data, insights, and so on. While this segment of well-informed, focused candidates varies market to market, industry by industry, but one can say for sure that such proportions are in minority! Till the time such candidates contribute a majority of our workforce, our industry’s boast of being able to add value will continue to be a sham! Education Institutes, Recruiters, Clients and more importantly, the Industry bodies/lobbies, where are we heading to?

 

For now, I would love to hear more funny or strange responses you have come across to the question – why did you join PR?

 

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