Public Relations is a High-Stress Profession

With Chick-fil-A’s same-sex marriage controversy nearly played out, the one thing about that crisis that made PR pros pause was the tragic death by heart attack of the restaurant chain’s longtime head of PR, Don Perry. While we don’t know if the controversy and the stress associated it had some bearing on what happened to Perry,  it does bring up the pressures that PR pros face while on the job.

In fact, PR executives ranked No. 7 in an infamous list of Top 10 Most Stressful Jobs released in January. While working on a story about PR and stress for our 8/13/12 issue, I solicited some interesting insights from PR leaders on the subject. It’s a sensitive topic, and some requested anonymity in exchange for their comments.

Suffice to say, PR is not neurosurgery, but being responsible for critical business outcomes results in a lot of stress. What causes the most stress? Not surprisingly, a crisis was high on the lists of my sources, as well as handling staff layoffs, placing stories in top-tier publications and delivering bad results to the C-suite. From an agency perspective, dealing with demanding clients was on the top of the list.

For more insights on PR and stress—and tips on how to deal with the pressure—you’ll have to read the article. But I’d be interested to learn what causes you the most stress on the job.

After all, identifying the cause is the first step in dealing with the problem.

Follow Scott Van Camp: @svancamp01

  • Sue Brennan

    After 16 years of dealing with postal shootings, mailbox bombs, anthrax in the mail, management behaving badly, employees behaving badly, facility closing and consolidations and everything in between – I can’t wait to read your article!

  • Daniça Goles-English

    Ojalá leas español. La precisión del comentario me impide escribirte en inglés. Llevo 15 años en PR de clínicas, hospitales y médicos. Creo que el manejo de crísis y control de daños es lo que produce mayor estres en episodios agudos. Pero el estres permanente y cotidiano esta determinado, a mi juicio, por la necesidad de sostener el posicionamiento de la marca de instituciones y personas, teniendo muchas veces al “enemigo” dentro del sistema. Es decir el error no forzado de los propios ejecutivos, que en sus acciones o declaraciones atentan contra si mismos y sus intereses. Creo que al final del día eso es lo que no me deja dormir bien! Saludos desde Chile. Espero ansiosa tu artículo.