On Tuesday Sept. 27, Agnes Estes, a public relations professional, visited the Illinois State University chapter of the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA).
Estes has 15 years of experience in the public relations (PR) business, with an emphasis working in agency PR. When she visited our PRSSA Chapter she informed everyone about the ins and outs of the business. The one area that seemed to catch the most interest was “advocating for yourself”, a phrase Estes was fond of saying.
The question that prompted the use of this phrase was, “How do you manage the work and life balance?” Estes told everyone the honest truth: PR was hard and time-consuming, resulting in long hours and weekends spent in the office. However, she stated that this was a formula that will quickly lead to burnout and eventually turnover. In order to prevent this, she stated that a worker must eventually say enough is enough.
A common misconception about the PR workplace is that the bosses are domineering, uncompromising and apathetic toward employees’ needs. Estes could not stress enough that this was not the case. She stated that it is a good idea to work a little extra, but not if that work causes you to come to work every day with an “I hate my job” attitude. If an employer asks you to work this weekend, it is okay to say no. Estes reassured the crowd further by stating that oftentimes people who work strictly a nine-to-five job can be more productive than those who are working 60 or 80 hours a week.
Estes had a great impression on us PR younglings. A common phrase heard afterwards was “I’m not so scared of going into PR anymore.” Estes not only informed us about what our jobs will be, but also about how we can enjoy them, which is a topic scantly covered in PR classes nowadays. The lessons she gave us are not offered only to us students but also to current workers in the PR industry. We no longer have such a harsh view of our desired positions and approach our graduations with a little less anxiety.
Written by Kyle Bartolini
PRecisely PR is the blog of the Illinois State University Chapter of the PRSSA. We write about Chapter events, the public relations industry, member profiles, and more.