Why you’ll never be Samantha Jones if you work in PR

Top Banana offers a warm welcome to our latest guest contributor Tom Walker who is a Freelance Copywriter writing for PR Week

Sassy, always dressed head-to-toe in designer couture and usually holding a large glass of something alcoholic, Samantha Jones of Sex in the City is the inspiration for some people seeking a career in Public Relations. The only problem is, Samantha Jones is a fictional character and the realities of PR work are a whole lot different from the media’s popular portrayals of it. If you’re looking for a life of shopping and sipping booze at star-studded events, PR is definitely not the career choice for you. Lie back and imagine having your toes manicured and your dainty feet massaged while you read our guide to why you’ll never be Samantha Jones if you work in PR.

Welcome to Public Relations, grab yourself a glass

You could be forgiven for thinking PR is all about organising and enjoying elite parties for the rich, beautiful and influential if you only have Sex in the City to go on. But think again. While events often figure as a part of a PR campaign, there is so much more to the role, and even when you do find yourself at such a party, you’ll be working more than you’ll be having fun.

Make easy money for big shopping trips

Samantha Jones might be living the dream of earning big bucks with what appears to be little work. In reality, PR involves long hours and hard work, leaving less time for shopping for shoes. PR newbies should expect some mundane work, including lessons in grammar and writing. There’s a lot more work and learning to be done than the media would have us believe.

Prada, darling

Samantha Jones would be seen dead out and about in anything less than the best designer labels, but you’ll find, while dressed well for events and meetings, real PR professionals are largely office and as such can afford to be a little less image conscious. And what’s more, Samantha enjoys a fictional bank account and a TV network with product placement deals. Don’t be fooled.

No comment

You’ll find Samantha Jones and other representations of publicists in popular culture frequently using the phrase ‘No comment’, but you’re unlikely to hear a real PR pro using those two words as an answer to probing questions. Just as criminals find in police interviews, ‘no comment’ tends to make someone look evasive at best and plain guilty at worst. Press officer jobs require honesty and smart answering, not the equivalent of sticking your fingers in your ears.

If you’re relived to find that Samantha Jones is not representative of real Public Relations professionals, a career in PR might be the challenge you’re looking for. PR professionals need to have tenacity, patience, clear strategies and excellent interpersonal and communication skills. A career in PR will be less about shoes and champagne and more about clients, deadlines, campaigns and communications. PR is a dynamic and exciting career for those who enter the industry for the right reasons and with no illusions to live like Samantha Jones.