I have been asked more times than I can remember — why do you keep doing it? I work in a profession that can be relentless, where it can feel like you are moving from one urgent thing to the next. It can leave you feeling undervalued and unappreciated. And tired.
It can also challenge you and provide a great career path like it did for me. I have stuck it out, and I thought I would share a few reasons why.
Over the years, I have had many conversations with other communications professionals who think their time is up. It’s time for something new. The battles with internal clients and external suppliers have gotten the better of them, and they start to wonder what else is out there. I get it, it can wear you down over time and sometimes you need a change.
During a lot of these conversations, I get asked, ‘but what about you?’. I know a lot of communications professionals question if they should keep going, so I thought I would share the reasons why I stay.
Why do I love it?
I knew from very early on that this was my thing. As a teenager, I organised and promoted events at the local community centre – fashion parades, battle of the bands. I would create posters at school and put them up around town, beg suppliers and promise free promotion. I would call the local papers and radio stations, who knew I was learning how to pitch a story.
I don’t think I have ever looked back, or seriously considered walking away. From applying for a communications degree at 17, through my experience in London and a decade in the public service to now as a solo consultant. I knew this was the path for me. Communications is my passion. It’s just part of who I am.
It’s hard to explain what it is that I love about it. I started this article by trying to write a list, but it just didn’t seem to really capture what it is that drives me. There is an unknown element that is hard to articulate but here are a few fundamentals I know I love.
I love problem-solving — the ability to analyse a situation and find a solution. I like to understand a challenge one of my clients is having, considering the environment they are working in, who the audience is and what we can tell them. I like to put all of the pieces together until I have that “ahuh!” moment and can see the communications solution.
I like the creativity that comes with finding that solution. I am in no way a creative person – I can’t draw, paint, sing or act, but I love getting creative in solving a communications challenge. There is no template for a great solution, as much as you try to streamline the strategic communications process, each one is still unique. I love that moment when you know you are on to a winning idea, and you can build a whole campaign around it.
I love seeing the tangible end product – a new website, media coverage from your media release or an internal event going to plan. Sure, there are times when your great idea falls in a heap, or when despite months of great planning things go wrong, but that feeling when you finish something. It’s just so satisfying!
I love working with others. Communications is not a solo gig. Whether it is working with my clients to understand their challenges. Working with in-house communications teams to deliver content, or graphic designers and web developers to create a new product. I love the collaboration that goes into developing a great communications outcome.
It’s not always easy
I didn’t say it’s always easy. There have definitely been days I wanted to throw in the towel. I have been yelled at, kept out of the loop, excluded from meetings, told that my contribution wasn’t needed, had months of work thrown in the bin, ignored and dismissed.
I stick it out because I love it.
I am a passionate communications professional. I want to lift up others in my profession so that we can all be better. It’s why I write these articles. Because part of what I love about comms is that we are all better when we work together rather than compete.
There are so many reasons to love this crazy profession, I would love to hear yours.