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