I recently came back to work after 4.5 months of (mostly paid) maternity leave, one of the many benefits of living in Israel! Although I cherish the time I spent with my newborn and toddler every day, it’s great to be back at work energized by all of the exciting developments taking place at GK and in the tech world in general.
I’ve learned some very valuable lessons from my children, and while on maternity leave, I started to think about how these lessons so obviously apply to my work as well.
So, here it goes…
Wow, have I learned patience! If my toddler moved any slower in the mornings, I’m certain gravity would start pulling him backwards. But, he’s learning how to do things for himself and it’s my responsibility to guide him in his discovery and assist when he gets stuck or has questions. When working with clients who don’t have previous experience partnering with PR firms, they don’t always understand immediately what goes into what we do which can lead to misunderstandings and skewed expectations. As PR professionals, it’s our job to be patient and work with our clients and allow them to see the whole picture, while securing the results they deserve.
The only thing I can do when my toddler is having a full on meltdown because he received his yogurt in a blue bowl instead of a red cup, and my newborn managed to soak her newly laundered outfit (and what little hair she has) in spit up when I’m running 10 minutes late to a meeting, is laugh. In general, having a sense of humor about life has been proven to benefit employees in the workplace – 91% of executives find humor to be imperative for career advancement. The world of PR can be tough sometimes – from angering journalists to disappointing clients to constantly having to produce great work on tight deadlines – and maintaining a sense of humor about it all is key.
For most of my life, I was the type of person who was always busy running from one thing to another. Many things came easy to me, so if something wasn’t going my way or was “too difficult”, I would usually drop it and quickly move on – gymnastics class (far too tall and uncoordinated…cartwheels are hard!), jazz band, pre-med, etc. Well, that doesn’t work with kids, and it doesn’t work with clients or journalists either. Our clients deserve ongoing media coverage that will help them tell their story and highlight their respective companies. The problem is, journalists say ‘no’ a lot. Although they don’t necessarily turn down a pitch because they find a company uninteresting, it’s hard to constantly hear rejection. Our job as PR professionals is to keep plugging away. Maybe this time was a ‘no’ but next time I’ll craft an even better pitch or find a creative way to reach out.
Anyone who has spent time around kids or read a children’s book knows how creative little people can be. Their minds run free and are open to processing experiences in totally unique ways. Sadly, most of us lose that quality as we mature. I’m thankful that I work in a profession that allows me to maintain some level of creativity. PR done right is when you can meld the creative side of your personality with your professional side, resulting in pitches and ideas that have journalists (and clients) jumping for joy. Make sure you retain your ability to be creative – it is a key piece in succeeding in our business.
A career in PR is much like raising children in that it’s not only hectic most of the time, but schedules and plans can quickly change. Working in PR is definitely not the 9-5 job so many people are used to. There’s constantly things being thrown your way requiring quick action and each day presents a whole slew of new challenges to overcome. To work in this type of environment and thrive, you better be organized. But, even the most organized PR veteran or parent can’t do anything (but sit back and laugh) when the best laid plans go completely off the rails.
PR, like parenting, is a tough but rewarding job. Thankfully, there’s always room to learn and improve. Big shout out to Zvi and Maayan (my kids) for teaching me so many valuable life lessons and pushing me to up my game at work every day.