When Kansas City-based Publicist Andi Ennis tells people what she does for a living, she says '…..she'll often get looks suggesting she had just morphed into a hideous bug.' Ouch. And NYC-based PR 'rep' Termeh Mazrahi says people assume she's 'incapable of making genuine, no-B.S. statements.' Double ouch.
Ennis and Mazrahi were interviewed for a ClassesUSA.com article headlined, 'Good careers with bad reputations.' In addition to 'publicist,' the other good career paths with bad reps are mortgage broker, executive recruiter, insurance agent and tax collector.
According to figures provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook (and, I'll bet that's a fascinating read), PR specialist gigs are expected to grow by 18 percent in the next seven years. That's impressive, especially considering the industry-wide contraction in 2009.
I'm not surprised PR jobs have a bad rep. There are a number of reasons why:
- Hollywood depicts PR people as either clueless, gum-popping blond party planners or sleazy snake oil salesmen
- The media resent the role played by public relations practitioners in story development and go to great pains to ridicule us at every opportunity
- Our various PR trade organizations do a woeful job of portraying the many facets of our profession and the countless, positive contributions we make to society.
As a result, we're stuck being listed alongside used car salesmen, mortgage brokers, headhunters and tax collectors. But, hey, it could be worse. We could be lawyers. As bad as our image may be, we'll never come remotely close to the reputation depths plumbed by the average lawyer.
I'm happy to see the strong job prognostications for PR. And, I'm not at all surprised by the 'hideous bug' reaction. But, I am curious as to the type of bug Ms. Ennis would describe as hideous. A tarantula, perhaps? A red ant? Wasps do it for me. In fact, they scare the bejesus out of me. Even more than the average lawyer.
*Special thanks to Jessica Hayward and Matt Sloustcher for the idea.