My father works in oil and natural gas. My mother is a speech pathologist. Neither of them has any idea whatsoever as to what I do for a living.
While I might not understand the subtle intricacies of either of their jobs, growing up, my friends and their parents, from time to time, would ask things like, “Lucas, what do your parents do for a living?”
My answers probably weren’t perfect, but I could generally give people a ballpark idea as to what they did to make money.
What’s Taking Place All Too Often
Now, flip the roles of the aforementioned situation and things get a bit more complicated. Seriously, as a PR person, my parents literally have no idea what I do all day. I’m not guessing here—I’ve seen them try to tell others about this.
Needless to say, I’m not too thrilled about hearing things like, “Oh, he’s usually just making Facebook posts and things like that.”
Doesn’t sound too important, does it? This image sums things up rather nicely, I think:
Even worse, I’m fairly certain my parents have actually given up any hope of ever understanding what PR is and how it’s practiced. That said, I haven’t fully give up the fight.
My Best Efforts to Set the Record Straight
The following are a few one-liners I’ve come up with over the years to help my grandparents, parents and any other old person try and understand what PR is and how I make it happen on a daily basis:
- “I create media.”
- “I sell story ideas, asking for no cash in return.”
- “I build and maintain industry-specific communities online.”
- “I make certain my clients don’t look bad.”
- “I help journalists do their job in a timely fashion.”
And my personal favorite:
- “I sit at a computer and send an unhealthy number of emails.”
Listen, I realize that my short-hand answers aren’t doing much for my professional reputation with my parents’ friends, but they’re the best I’ve been able to come up with.
Come to think of it, the whole, “Oh, he’s usually just making Facebook posts and things like that” thing might not be so bad after all.
Clearly, I’m doing more harm than good. For that very reason, I’d be interested in knowing what you have to say. When your parents—or friends, for that matter—ask you what you do for a living as a PR person and you’re pressed for time, how do you respond?
Tweet your best one-liners to @EchelonCopy. We’ll make certain to retweet the best of ‘em for all of our devoted followers to see.
Lucas Miller is the Founder of Echelon Copy. When not writing, editing or running, he's working tirelessly to perfect what he claims is the "World's Greatest Pompadour." Additionally, for what it's worth, his editorial works have been featured on Social Media Today, Business2Community, Ragan's PR Daily, Spin Sucks and many other top-tier PR publications.