Strategic Planning required us to give our thought processes extreme makeovers with lots of specialized critical thinking and long-term goal planning. During the class, I found I wasn’t a fan of the transformation process. Judging by the moans and groans of my classmates and the sea of pale faces that filled the library the day we held our press conferences, I don’t think they were either.
From what I’ve learned about PR so far, there are two primary, large facets of employment as a PR professional; one of which does not require this gift of strategic thought so much as the other.
There is the “head honcho” executive type that has mastered this unique way of thinking: creating organizational goals and objectives, drafting strategic plans, intricate timetables and sturdy budgets. These honchos typically have a higher figured income (and rightfully so).
On the flip side, there is the technical type that does more of the hands-on work that results in tangible products (i.e. newsletters, press releases, media kits, etc.) These lower ranked positions (“lower” not being said in a degrading sense) that are more entry-level, tend to demand a lot of creative thinking and offer a diversified list of tasks but are somewhat lacking in terms of green.
While I enjoy being in positions of leadership, I find myself leaning toward facet number two. I feel I could become a honcho and enjoy it someday; however, I truly enjoy the technical roles of a PR professional (I think that’s my journalism side coming out!)
That’s not to say one should limit him or herself to only those positions, however, the impending pressures from: society, parents, professors and this sense of obligation (from our education’s big price tag) to excel and climb those rims of the business ladder up to the jumping-off point, shouldn’t control what we choose to do: what makes us happy.
The best example I can think of is one of our most recent Disney events (if you want to know what the heck I’m talking about, ask me in class; I’ve already written plenty) that was held at a neighborhood pool.
While the management level jobs of my station’s staff were necessary to establish our contact with the client, draft a budget, coordinate sponsors, select a venue, have the event, etc., that did nothing to communicate the “magic” of Disney to the kids present at the event. Cue the “hands on” workers: performing and interacting with the kids in a positive, fun, family-friendly way.
This little girl had missed out on a Radio Disney neon, color-changing pencil (awesome, I know) and was crying (the cute disappointed crying—not the obnoxious attention-seeking crying) as she and her mom walked back to their beach chairs. Upon noticing this, I was able to simply grab a couple of awesome neon pencils and give them to her. Her unexpected smile was enough to bring tears to my eyes!
Like I said, big management, those head honchos, they have their place and enable technical positions to even exist. But for now, I have my place—with the technical little things.