Up to this point, I’ve tried to avoid mentioning the much-talked-about survey that claims PR is the second most stressful job.  However, it’s being quoted a lot and used as an excuse to explain a number of job-related issues. 

For those not familiar with the survey, CareerCast.com recently published a list of the most stressful jobs in the U.S.  Commercial pilot ranked first, followed by Public Relations professional.  The survey says: “Public Relations Officers are responsible for creating and maintaining a positive image with the public for many companies and government agencies. They typically are responsible for giving presentations and making speeches, often in front of large crowds. This highly-competitive field and tight deadlines keep stress at high-levels for specialists. Some PR officers also are required to interact with potentially hostile members of the media.”

Before making a detour away from a PR career, consider that this survey clearly focuses on senior PR pros within corporations.  I know first hand that there is an abundance of stress faced by those individuals, but that’s only a small percentage of the entire profession.  While senior agency executives face P&L demands and other pressures, few employees would rank their jobs as the second most stressful job among 200 careers surveyed. 

PR pro Chris Brooks responded beautifully to the survey results, noting that stress for PR professionals isn’t due to “hostile” media or giving speeches or deadlines. “It’s mostly due to the widespread misunderstanding as to what public relations is and should do for an organization. It’s a strategic management function, but too often relegated to poorly advised tactical activities by management that is not patient or smart enough to see that it is about mid- to longterm relationship development with multiple publics, not short-term transactional goals. When paired with an enlightened management team it is a very satisfying career. And far less stressful than, say, nursing or police work or myriad other professions.”

Want to avoid the stress?  Try one of the 10 least stressful jobs and be bored silly.