1. confident and direct in claiming one’s rights or putting forward one’s views
2. given to making assertions or bold demands; dogmatic or aggressive (Collins English Dictionary)
There are many things that we learn during our childhood, which reflect on our life as adults. One writer, Robert Fulghum published a book in which he claims that everything he needed to know about life, he learnt in kindergarten, things such as being nice to other people, playing fair or saying sorry when hurting someone.
But if these things are embodied in our DNA before we even learn how to write, then it’s no surprise that, as adults, we have to learn how to be assertive. We go to workshops, buy books and try to become assertive, because that is required in the workplace, in the 21st century, when EQ tests are being used more than IQ ones.
But how can we begin to understand how to state an opinion that would put other people in an uncomfortable position, if we have been told, since childhood, to be humble? And no matter how many workshops we attended, when will we be ready to be assertive without feeling guilty of being too aggressive or hurting someone’s feelings?
Of course, being assertive does not mean anything else than managing any type of unfair situation in a diplomatic, yet competent way, and unfortunately, most of the time, this means confronting other people who may or may not be as be prepared to face the situation in a decent matter or without feeling personally insulted.
It is true that we can’t be naturally assertive when we have to learn to share our ‘toys’ with others and not question their emotions. WE are accustomed to listen, understand and try not to demand things, even when we are right. It is not surprising that we often feel guilty when being assertive, when, while growing up, our parents thought us to apologize, even when it wasn’ t our fault.
We can’t be naturally assertive, but we have to learn how to become, when it comes to dealing with people in the workplace. Unfortunately (or not) even if all we needed to know about acting in our personal life we might have learnt in kindergarten, we need to learn how to be assertive in order to survive in the workplace, without feeling frustrated or ignored.
It takes time and exercise, but if we don’t try, there will always be big elephants in the corridors of our organisations that nobody will want to talk about.
There are many reasons why one should date a PR professional. Requirements that come with the job are more than appealing, such as a bubbly personality, enthusiasm and the ability to interact with any type of people.
But how about the downsides of dating someone who works in this field? There may be many that relate strictly to their personality, but how about the ones that relate to his/her job description? Just as doctors are likely to develop some form of hypochondria, PR professionals bring home many implications of their jobs.
Not surprisingly, most of them are related to managing conflicts and leading negotiations, the two most common problems likely to arise in relationships of any kind. So here are the top three reasons why NOT to date a PR professional:
1. Arguments. We know how to avoid them, but when they occur, don’t even think that you will win. We know exactly what to say, how to say it and, most annoyingly, we don’t tend to raise our voices. So, with a calm tone and full of competent counter arguments, we will provide endless reasons why we are right. We won’t necessarily prove that you are wrong because, as ‘spin doctors’ we know that the most important thing in an argument is to prove how we are right, and not if you are wrong.
2. Silent conflicts, In every relationship, there comes a period of silence, when one of the two involved is trying to make a point of any kind. It won’t work because, as PR professionals, we always have to wait for results and, in most cases, all the campaigns that we have worked on have shown results after a certain period of time in which we waited, patiently. We have the confidence to wait and, in the meantime, we will think of how to turn the situation around. We are used to deal with journalists and we are experts in persuading. Silence does not crack us up.
3. Negotiation. Maybe it is a harsh term to use when talking about relationships, but negotiation occurs, when both parties have to learn how to compromise. This is tricky, because we know how to negotiate. We have learnt theories upon theories of how to achieve a ‘win-win’ situation , but all of those who are inexperienced, beware! With a smile on our faces, we will know exactly what arguments to put on the table, in order to achieve what we want and make you think we have compromised something, as well. It isn’t fair, but we have chosen to work in PR for a reason. And that reason is that we know how to persuade (to be read manipulate) people.
So, ladies and gentleman, these are the top three reasons why not to date a PR professional. I chose to write about the reasons why not to date someone in this field, because there is no list long enough to include all the reasons why you SHOULD date one.
Recent researches made into the UK PR industry have shown statistics that have made the PRCA reconsider ways in which people can enter the field.
While the percentage of professionals with a PR degree being of 89% (according to a 2011 PRCA census), may bring a smile to the students willing to work in the industry, the new changes made by the PRCA with their national apprentice scheme are very likely to discourage the same students.
The need for diversity is understandable. Also, it is normal for such a versatile and interactive industry to acquire graduates or non-graduates with a different background. But how good is this change?
There is obviously a silent conflict about to emerge among those who have paid for a degree in PR with the dream of working in the industry . But what are the chances of a PR graduate if more and more agencies develop similar apprentice scheme to make room for those not as qualified?
OF course, according to a recent PR week article, many professionals still consider that a degree gives ‘ the guarantee of basic intelligence’ , but others disagree, claiming that a degree does not necessarily shows if a candidate is ‘savvy’ and prepared to do the job.
Among the silent disagreement shown by future PR graduates, there is another, more ethical question to be asked. If having a PR degree guarantees a decent entry-level salary, those who do not have it and therefore, apply for such apprentice schemes, should be aware that this was criticized as being an excuse for ‘ cheap labour’.
It is too soon to tell if this national apprentice scheme can benefit the field of PR by increasing diversity in the profession. It may seem as a good thing to do, especially as university fees have gone up and may well be a good thing for the near future.
But for those of us who have been at uni for three years, the last generation of non-increased fees, things are still looking up, with a research as recent as 2012 showing that 86% of recruits from PR are graduates.
For us, the generation with three years of university assignments and projects in our portfolio of skills, things still seem to be looking up.
For those who want to enter this colourful profession, sit back and think…To degree or not degree? That is the question.