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Why kids kill your PR career

23rd January 2011

I wake up to find that our youngest child is sick. Now, my first reaction as a parent should be the welfare of my darling young offspring. But I have to confess my first thought is “What am I going to tell the boss?”.

I can’t call in and say that I am going to work at home, because for some reason, everyone thinks that I never DO any work at home. This is patently untrue, as I send emails and update Twitter regularly.

As I have precious little holiday to use up, I decide that I’ll have to call in and say that I am sick. This creates two problems. What if feverish child is still sick tomorrow? And is my acting good enough to look like I’ve just recovered from a nasty bug?

Let’s face it, having children f*cks up your PR career. PR firms may claim to be flexible and parent-friendly, but they aren’t. The only parents who succeed are those that have partners at home who do all the childcare. Or who run their own agencies so they can set the rules.

Here’s why you can’t have kids (and a partner who also works) and climb up the PR career ladder:

1. You can’t work kid-friendly hours. PR just isn’t like that. There are evening events to go to, campaign pitches that keep you up all hours, trips to far-flung destinations (I went to Birmingham last week), and clients want their PROs to be on call at all times.

2. PR is a young industry. And young managers don’t like parents juggling work and a home life. They think we’re slackers and don’t appreciate how much more focused and efficient we are. Well you are.

3. Your priorities change. Once you have kids you suddenly wake up to the fact that PR really doesn’t matter. And it’s the people who are passionate about their PR jobs that get promoted.

Anyway, must dash, time to give little one his next dose of medicine. And then I must look in the local paper to see if there is a council job I can do that is less stressful and more suited to someone who puts their family first.

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