What do you do when you fall out of love with your profession?
Once upon a time, I thought I’d found a home in PR/communications work. I was a journalist for eight years before making the jump to the “dark side” as some of my colleagues call it. While there is still a lot of good work to be done in the profession, in its current form, well…
I’m just not that into you (PR)
As I wrote here, Ray Rice’s apology was a debacle. I stand by that. The “leaking” of the actual assault just piled on to what was already a bad situation. I’ve noted elsewhere that Ray Rice would still have a job if I was running communications for the NFL or Baltimore Ravens, an assertion I fully stand by.
In the ideal world, communicators do more than get or keep our clients on or out of the news. We solve problems. We know more about the world than the 24-hour news cycle.
Very few people know that I’ve gone through domestic violence advocacy training. To say it’s an issue close to my heart is an understatement. I could write thousands of words on the mishandling of this by all parties, but that’s done well here and here.
As cringe inducing as the visuals of Rice knocking out his wife are, this shouldn’t have been the tipping point. Former Kansas City Chiefs player Jovan Belcher has that dubious distinction. For those who don’t remember, Belcher killed his girlfriend before shooting himself in front of his coaches on league property.
So what does this have to do with communications work?
Too often — especially when the work is remotely political — we are brought in to clean up problems (many of them self inflicted), not make sure they don’t happen again. This often means we’re protecting the shield. Doing whatever we can to make our employers look good. Killing stories before they get to the news or helping them disappear to minimize the damage.
If you can kill a story, you’ll never be unemployed long. It’s a valuable skill and it’s one I’m quite good at when I need to be. My passion, however, is solving problems.
To be clear, the handling of Ray Rice and his domestic violence issues was far from the catalyst of my disillusionment with my profession. It’s just the latest straw in a hail storm of straws that threaten to break a strong back.
As I ponder my next moves, passion and purpose take precedence over dollars and temporary solutions. What I’m out for, is sustainable change.
You might see me doing PR again. If not, I’m sure I can put these skills to good use somewhere.