Gini Dietrich

Five Reasons Communicators are Frustrated and Lonely

By: Gini Dietrich | February 23, 2017 | 

Five Reasons Communicators are Frustrated and LonelyWe often joke around here that our real jobs are that of therapists.

If you are on the agency side of what we do, you know what I mean.

How many of your meetings are spent with the client venting about how they have no support from their teams?

It happens all of the time and that’s because communicators tend to work in silos.

It turns out the CEO isn’t the only lonely one in the business.

The job of communications is pretty lonely, too.

Because most don’t understand what we do—and, let’s be fair, the industry (as a whole) does a terrible job of describing it—we’re cast off to our corners to do our “black magic.”

I’ve seen so many communicators frustrated by doing great work that goes unappreciated, by learning about things nearly too late to do anything, and by being cast into their corners.

There are lots of lonely communicators out there who are stuck in this place, and I’ve noticed some trends and similarities.

I want to share those insights with you…the major reasons why smart, talented, savvy communicators feel frustrated and lonely.

Reason #1: You Work in a Silo

As much as I really hate to see organizations that have silos (I did, after all, co-author Marketing in the Round), I’m not naive enough to pretend they don’t exist.

Too often, you learn about a new product the week before it launches, you sit outside a closed door meeting, only to discover you should have been in there to begin with because a crisis is brewing, or you’re asked to write yet another news release about something no one cares about.

Bottom line: You need access to information and you can’t get it in time to be effective.

Reason #2: You’re Constantly Asked, “What Am I Paying You to Do?”

Man, that’s so frustrating!

You just wrote yet another news release you knew no one would care about, but you have a great relationship with the news editor at the business journal and they agreed to do a profile.

The profile runs and, two days later, you’re asked, “So what is it I’m paying you to do?”

From the perspective of the person who is asking, it “just” took you one phone call to get that profile created. Why can’t they just pay you for that one story instead of a retainer or a salary?

Reason #3: Communicators Have More Down Days than Up

Our clients spend a lot of their days the same as you—frustrated by the down days.

There are lots of down days—days where you don’t think you’re doing the right things and question yourself…mostly because you’re constantly being questioned. Your only escape is to read blogs and figure out what the experts teach to confirm you are doing the right things.

It’d be great if you could have more up days than down.

Reason #4: Loss of Confidence

One day, you’re told you have the passion of the owner.

The next, you’re crying in a corner because you’re asked to write another news release about a new hire or another client added or an award won.

That dent in the wall?

It’s there from you banging your head against it.

Not to mention all of the really targeted pitches you’ve sent, that no one is answering…and your boss (or client) is beginning to lose patience. And you’ve begun to lose your confidence.

You sit and wonder, “Am I really made for this job? Why won’t anyone respond to me?”

Quick hint: It’s not you. You are made for this job. You’re really pretty good at it. You just need someone to boost you up.

Reason #5: Plain Old Loneliness

How often have you wondered how much easier life would be if you had a job you could leave at work at the end of the day?

Trust me, I’ve been there.

Sometimes I think, “Wow. To be a barista and leave work and not have to answer emails or do reports or time entry or INVOICES. That would be amazing.”

We love what we do, but we’re not so sure it loves us back.

Then, the next day, you’re handling 17 balls and not a single one drops and you think, “That’s right! I’m the bomb!”

We live for those days.

We persevere and hope it’s all worth it in the end.

And, it is worth it—in between the “what am I paying you to do?” and “why did it take so long for you to do this?” questions.

It is worth it. You’re just feeling plain old loneliness. And that can be fixed.

Now it’s Your Turn

Do any of these five challenges strike a nerve?

If so, we have a program that might be a great fit for you.

(Heck, it IS a great fit and it’s fun and you’ll learn a ton so go check it out!)

Find the details here.

And now it’s your turn. What other reasons are there that cause frustration and loneliness? 

About Gini Dietrich

Gini Dietrich is the founder and CEO of Arment Dietrich, an integrated marketing communications firm. She is the author of Spin Sucks, co-author of Marketing in the Round, and co-host of Inside PR. She also is the lead blogger at Spin Sucks and is the founder of Spin Sucks Pro. Join the Spin Sucks   community!

  • Yet, when we do “score” a viral hit or major media insertion, everyone is there to celebrate with us. Luckily, there are better analytics to help combat reason 2 🙂

    • Yes, luckily indeed! The challenge with that, that I hear a TON, is, “But they still want media impressions.” So I always say give them to them AND give them the stuff that matters.

  • OMG. Multiply these by 100 when working as a solo agency and dealing with multiple clients on a rolling basis.

    I just made the leap to fully focus on my business and was really worried about feeling even more lonely than I have been on the daily. This is amazing. Thank you for making this available.

    • It’s been really fun to watch you do this. Congratulations!!

      • Thank you! Couldn’t have made it this far without incredible people like you who put their faith in me!

  • paulakiger

    I am sure MANY readers will be able to relate to these five items. I think virtual work, while often INCREDIBLE, can sometimes contribute to this and takes foresight on the part of a leader to keep from happening —- sometimes it can be isolating if you don’t take measures to connect with others. And I hope people will take advantage of the special opportunity!

    • Me too! 🙂

    • You are right, Paula. But if we think about it, working in an office with several people around you can be lonely too if there is a hostile environment, or if the culture is a “me, me, me” thing.

      As you said, we need to take measures to connect with others. It’s easier in a brick and mortar place, but it can be easy for virtual work as well. After all phone calls, whether via internet or landlines connect us all…virtually 🙂

      • paulakiger

        Very true, Corina. Good leadership makes a difference whether a team is virtual or brick and mortar (or some hybrid of the two).

  • Pete Salmon

    I have recently started using the dating website It helps a little bit.

    • Pete, when we talk about things internally before they launch, could you please provide these kinds of ideas? I would have bid on for this project.

      • Pete Salmon

        Please don’t leverage my loneliness. It is so quiet everywhere.

  • Wonderfully insightful post yet again, Gini! I haven’t commented on one of your post in a while. I wanted to check in many times, but have just been too busy sitting here working. Alone.

  • Brandi Newton Devlin

    All of this! I work at a nonprofit so I have to produce results with no budget and few resources. Zero. Nada. Add to that the fact that the CEO did my job 10 years ago when PR was VERY different – pre-social media, pre-blogs, pre-viral video – so she second guesses everything.

    • Arrrrrrrgh! That has to be so incredibly frustrating.

  • Brandi Newton Devlin

    Reason #1 X 1000! “You need access to information and you can’t get it in time to be effective.”

    I’ve been in nonprofit marketing and communications for years. Staff members think they’re helping when they write and design a marketing piece for their program, and then send it to me for approval. They say, “I didn’t want to bother you with this little thing.” Two choices: 1) If there’s time to spare, I redo it; or 2) if there’s no time to spare, I wince and reluctantly approve it with minor changes to at least align with our branding standards. I have explained in the nicest possible way, “Next time you’d like a piece to promote a program or event, you can include me in the initial conversation. That’s why I’m here – to help you! It will save you a lot of time and effort.”

    • RIGHT?? And not only am I here to help you, but I will do it right the first time. Argh!