Do you suffer from “Sunday night fear”, the feeling of angst about returning to work on Monday morning after the weekend? According to a recent survey, 22.9 million Brits experience this sense of foreboding every week, especially those who work in advertising, PR and marketing.
I’m surprised to hear that my profession is considered to be that much more stressful than any of the others listed: recruitment and HR, banking and finance, health and social care. I do think it’s fair to say, however, that my industry has undergone a massive transformation in recent years, bringing with it new challenges and issues.
Publishers are trimming down their print portfolio or entirely switching to digital while more and more content is being tucked behind pay-walls. News now travels at the speed of Twitter and journalists are busier than ever. Attention spans are at a premium and content is being polarised into two distinct camps: snackable and chewable – the bite-sized and the long-form. Video is king and imagery is queen.
PR and marketing are entirely different beasts to ten years ago. It takes highly adaptable individuals with hybrid skills to make it. No longer is it just enough to be able to write a press release or know what to say when the you-know-what hits the fan. PROs these days need to be data analysts, events organisers, digital media gurus, video experts, seasoned strategists, media junkies, trusted advisors with encyclopaedic client knowledge, designers, word-smiths, ardent networkers and instinctive problem solvers.
It’s a lot to have to master and I can see how, without a caring culture to support employees, some people might not look forward to going to work on a Monday morning. It’s critical to remember that high-pressure jobs can have a very real impact on people’s health and wellbeing.
Over the course of my career so far, I’ve been lucky to work for great companies with inspiring colleagues on challenging projects, but I’ve come to realise that what is most important to me is working for an organisation with a truly supportive culture. It’s so important to be able to push yourself and strive for excellence, but to know that someone always has your back and that you are supported in everything you do.
I subscribe to Alan Watt’s ‘Life is Music’ philosophy (if you’ve not heard of it, watch this fantastic video), the crux of which is that life is too short to drag yourself through toxic relationships, living situations or work environments for the sake of some hypothetical end-goal.
To those PR professionals who answered the survey, I have to ask, is it the thought of what you do that stresses you out on a Sunday night, or is it where you work? If it’s the former, I suggest a career change and if it’s the latter… We’re hiring. 😉