You check the clock. 6:28 p.m. Two minutes before you absolutely must leave work in order to meet your friends for dinner. You can’t be late and disappoint them—again. Furiously typing, you finish what seems like your 100th press release of the day, hit send and rush out the door. You’re driving with one hand and trying to re-apply mascara with the other when your mom calls. You haven’t talked to her in forever, but once you try to pick up you’re interrupted by an email saying your press release was never received. The boss is mad—real mad. Stressed out yet?
You should be. The life of a young professional is a hectic schedule of work, play and trying to figure out just what the heck you’re doing. Every young professional will go through the struggle of finding a work-life balance at some point, and everyone will experience it differently. Here are four tips from young professionals and The University of Alabama alumnae Siarra Swalve, Meg Burton and Savannah Bass on how to navigate your journey into your career and successful “adulting”.
1) Make time for what is important.
Time is precious in your jam-packed schedule, so make the most of it. Think about what really matters to you in life—your family, friends, pets, hobbies and more. Then set aside time specifically for those things that work will not invade. When you prioritize a person or thing, it shows how much you care.
2) Schedule “you-time”.
Go for a run. Watch a movie. Treat yourself to ice cream. Read a book. Whatever it is, do something that makes you happy every day. Even five minutes of relaxing and listening to music can be enough to sooth the most stressed-out psyche.
3) Understand that your life and career will change like the seasons.
This is a big one. Sometimes, your career will feel like it’s dominating your life. That is natural. Just like seasons in nature, career stress will come and go as you strive for new goals and then settle into your positions. A work-first mentality will be necessary at times to help you achieve your goals. At other times, you’ll be able to ride the wave of a solid work schedule and find more time to focus on your personal life.
4) Remember that no one actually has it together.
It’s almost a guarantee that even your highest boss feels like his or her life is held together by Elmer’s glue at some points. Public relations is a stressful industry to enter, no matter what position you find yourself in. The best thing to remember is that you can find support from your co-workers, and in return you can support them. As young public relations professionals we are all in this together, one caffeine-binging late night at the office at a time.
How are you going to ensure that you find time to relax during the first years of your career?
-by Bethany Corne, UA PRSSA Publications Committee Leader
Bethany Corne is the publications committee leader for The University of Alabama PRSSA and a digital strategist at Capstone Agency. Connect with her on LinkedIn, follow her on Twitter @BethanyyyC14 or email her email@example.com.
“I’m the low man on the totem-pole.” We’ve all probably had that thought run through our heads. However, we don’t have to stay there forever. Rick White was once in our shoes as a young public relations professional, and now he is the associate vice chancellor for communications and public affairs at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. While speaking at The University of Alabama’s PRSSA Southeastern Regional Conference, White shared his tips on how to become a leader in the public relations world.
Key Takeaways from White’s Presentation:
1) Be self-aware.
What kind of leadership style do you bring to the table? Are you a strategic, tactical or process thinker? Match your leadership opportunities to your strengths, because if you don’t, you might find difficulty in being successful.
2) Practice ‘everyday leadership’ every day.
Being good at something requires lots of practice. For example, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. had to practice his speeches multiple times over before he perfected them enough to present to a larger crowd. Practice makes perfect.
3) Have context and purpose.
If you start to ask yourself, “Well, what’s in it for me?” you’ll end up falling into the dark. In fact, being a leader involves being selfless. You need to ask yourself, “Why am I doing this? Why am I here?” Once you know what you really want to accomplish, you’re on your way to becoming a leader.
4) Pick your spot.
When you get yourself into a situation where you have the chance to lead and make a difference, look for signs of welcome. However, don’t overstay your welcome. Be sure to stay professional at all times. As aspiring public relations professionals, we need to do our work to the best of our ability and when appropriate, ask for more. If we’ve completed the duties that we had, we should move on to the next thing.
What skills does White recommend for success?
1) Be able to manage your time.
Respecting time and schedules is equivalent to receiving respect from others. That’s how you become a consistent leader.
2) Be a crisis thinker.
We never know when something is going to be thrown our way. We should make sure that crisis does not affect the way we lead. We should be able to remain calm and handle it like a normal day.
3) Be able to work with others.
A sign of a good leader is his or her ability to work well in a group setting. Address problems head on. Remain objective and do not have favorites among the people you are working with. Develop strong listening skills to show the people you lead that they are important.
As someone who wants to be a leader in the public relations field, I found this presentation to be extremely attractive. Rick White’s advice inspired me to work better as a leader in my own world. I hope that the same can be said for you in whatever stage of life you’re currently in.
What more can you be doing right now to become a leader in your community? Write down the answer and go out and achieve it! You’re capable of doing anything that you set your mind to.
-by Mary Catherine Molay, PRSSA General Member
Mary Catherine Molay is the president of the Public Relations Council of Alabama’s student chapter at The University of Alabama. She is also a student assistant for the Athletic Communications Department at UA. Connect with her on LinkedIn or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
All blogs are written by general members of UAPRSSA and Capstone Agency.