By: Catia Sabak
Alright, PR people. We have a problem.
I’ve noticed a troubling trend lately, something that frustrates me to my core.
It all started during finals week when I came across a terribly annoying, aggressive-eye-roll-worthy tweet. It read: “This is the time of the semester when I wish I was a communications major.” I wish you were a communications major, too. In that case, you may have at least been grammatically correct in your condescending statement, instead wishing that you were a communications major.
All anger-induced snark aside, the misconception of the communications field being one that is easy, that involves little effort or knowledge is extremely problematic. As if that pesky tweet weren’t enough to demonstrate this issue, perhaps the fact that this idea is perpetuated internally should be.
Just the other day, I heard a classmate refer to field of communications in a similarly degrading way. She suggested that people in fields like engineering, medicine, law or “other actually hard majors” have more merit than her fellow communications students. I couldn’t believe that someone with exposure to this industry and with some level of education in it failed to acknowledge its value and necessity.
It seems that people have this warped idea of the communications field, thinking that all we do is play around on Twitter, post pictures on Instagram and talk for the sake of hearing the sound of our own voices. There is SO much more to what communications professionals do and are capable of than anyone could possibly comprehend.
Communications in general is an essential life skill and is absolutely critical to the successful creation and maintenance of relationships–professional, personal and otherwise. The importance of communications and the work communications professionals do pervades every industry, every geographical region and every sector of the economy.
Unfortunately, people are oblivious to the skillful implementation of critically constructed, carefully strategized communications practices all around them.
How is it that we’ve become so quick to accept this level of condescension and misrepresentation? The fact that we allow those outside of the field, and worse yet our own peers, to undermine the work that we do is unacceptable. It is up to us to change these misguided, ill-informed perceptions.
We need to step up and protect the integrity of our industry. Advocate for it in all that we do. Prove our worth and the value of our skills through excellence. Most importantly, we must never let anyone diminish our accomplishments and ambitions.
Standing idly by is no longer an option. Let us lead by example to demonstrate how we are some of the most passionate, intelligent and hard-working professionals out there, and vow to collectively support each other and the communications industry in the pursuit of the recognition it deserves.