Someone sent me a solicitation letter recently for a dental care company. It began: “My name is Misti and I am a Dental Assistant and Public Relations Specialist.” Wait a second here! An expert at tooth decay AND pr? What are the odds two totally diverse occupations could come together, all in the name of crisis management and good hygiene? Not many, I suspect and hopefully, not any on the horizon.
Today’s business leaders have spent years in pursuing a career, putting in the time, not to mention blood, sweat and tears to achieve a level of respect and professionalism. One would not take the profession of a sales executive, a school administrator, a firefighter, a clergyman(or woman), a business entrepreneur or an engineer with a grain of salt and I would encourage those companies out there, not to look at the profession of pr with the same lack of understanding and yes, admiration.
Since writing is my passion and PR my career, let me educate you on what people, like me, do. PR ‘specialists’ today guide companies through crisis, growth, turmoil, brand extension and the basic efforts, press and publicity, with a high level of understanding and experience and it is NOT a field that can be lumped together with another, assuming those ‘perpetrators’ believe pr is a profession anyone can do. Anyone can’t.
If anyone is so removed to think pr is simply writing press releases, then they probably deserve Misti. I wonder if FEMA relies on PR Specialist/Manicurists to deal with the media and the thousands of people affected by hurricanes. I question whether politicians pushing legislation relied on their PR Specialist/Landscapers to inform and educate the American public on serious issues affecting their lives. And I wonder if a company in say, Montana, that was looking to create jobs and stimulate the economy consulted their PR Specialist/Upholsterers to talk about the promise of better times. I would guess they did not.
Now, manicurists, landscapers, upholsterers and yes, dental assistants are jobs that require training, education, creative instincts and dedication and I would never assume I could do their job, just as I am sure they believe they could not do mine. Maybe the real problem are companies that don’t understand that the best assets of the business are those who get on the elevator at 5:30 pm every day or get into their service trucks, carrying with them a pride in what they do and a feeling they are ‘special,’ because they have a job, regardless of what it is or what it pays. Maybe they don’t understand that one can’t ‘requisition’ a profession or ‘assign it’ to someone, especially pr where if I hear one more person who thinks they can do the job say :”well, I’m a people person,” I’m gonna scream.
We all are professionals. I am sure of that. But maybe I should have called my lawyer/dry cleaner to check this before I submitted this column.