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One of the things I love about the communications profession is the fact that while walking down the street, it’s often difficult to immediately pick us out from a crowd. Let’s be honest: You can usually tell with one quick glance when someone is a real-estate agent, lawyer or an account (perhaps because each requires significant training and/or licensing in their respective professions that often gives them a bit of an aura of being . . . different from the rest of us, but I digress). But when walking down the street, you can’t really immediately pick out a communications pro. We just come in all shapes, sizes, demographics and personalities.
Oh sure, we’re typically a hyper bunch, a bit aggressive, too, and maybe a little paranoid that we’re missing out on the next big thing that we should be getting our clients or organizations into. But for the most part, as a whole, communications professionals come from vastly disparate educational and professional backgrounds, and that, to me, is what makes this business interesting.
I know terrific comms people who, in a former life, were lawyers, teachers, ad men/women and a whole slew of other vocations, and had little to no formal education and maybe even training in this business when they first got into it. And they are thriving in their current positions and loving every minute of it.
I also know people like my friend Kate, who has an amazing educational background in communications from a well-respected university that has prepared her for what is already a great career in this business. And then there’s my good buddy Jeff Esposito, who like me, came from the wide world of sports, and spent years pulling out gems of random information from hundreds of pages of stats, creating cool promotions and arguing with coaches after the 10th loss in a row to just do one interview with the media. I’ve been there, and you better believe it prepared me for what I’m doing now.
That doesn’t mean that Jeff and I are any less qualified to be great professionals in PR as anyone else, nor does it make us any better because we come from outside professions. It just makes us professionals, and I know we both have to work our asses off to make up for our lack of formal education in this business, and I think we’re both fine with that.
My point to all of this is that in this recessionary economy, when we are seeing more and more people from professions and backgrounds other than communications and PR, we shouldn’t be the profession that is so quick to jump down the throats of those who are looking for something more enjoyable and fulfilling in their careers. We should embrace this, as it means that the communications profession is a growing, vibrant and highly-respected profession.
IMO: It takes all types to be a successful communicator. Some are bold and brash. Others are quiet and reflective. And still some are a mix of the two. Each can be successful in their own way. And as long as you have a bit of wisdom, a lot of patience and a major drive, a lot of different people from various backgrounds can be successful communicators.
And that’s something we can all be proud of. So what is your background story? How did you finally become a communicator? Me? I have an undergrad degree in exercise science; a master’s in sport management and spent four years working in collegiate athletics media relations before switching over to more traditional PR.
What’s your story?
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