Be Kind, Be Considerate And Beat Everyone

Ryan Nearing

Camaraderie Versus Competition in PR

I am a competitive person. Accomplishments and success excite me. I strive to find new opportunities and challenges.

I am a compassionate person. People are my biggest inspiration. In everything I do, I consider others.

These two statements may seem like contradictions; it’s impossible for them both to co-exist in harmony. Yet, I try to do so everyday.

As a public relations student, finding this balance may seem impossible. In a career where almost everyone strives for personal success, how can other’s feelings have any place?

Public relations is a notoriously competitive industry – there’s no denying it. It’s evident when The Grindstone blogger Meredith Lepore asks if “Women in PR [are] just grown up Mean girls?” Even the WikiHow article on “How to Work in Public Relations” warns, “The field of public relations is a very competitive industry…” and when it comes to competition within the profession, this is again true. It’s visible throughout the co-op placement experience. Students are constantly searching for new opportunities, internships, experiences, mentors, and connections; anything that can give  one up on paper and in an interview.

But it doesn’t have to be like this. I believe it’s best when students show camaraderie – compassion and support for others. This attribute is essential in the PR profession.

PR is an intense program. Long hours, little sleep, dozens of pieces of writing, projects, and countless edits can often lead to disappointment. As students burdening our fellow classmates by being overly competitive can cause additional stress. Remember the quote, “Be kind, for everyone is fighting a hard battle.”

This is what’s unique about the PR program: students work with future colleagues. Today I could be asking a classmate to proofread an article; in five years I could be asking them to proofread a media release for the Premier’s Office.  Each student is entering a committed relationship with each other, and the foundation of this relationship must be camaraderie.

John Hall from Forbes shares ten ways helping others can lead to success, particularly in leadership. “As leaders, we often get too caught up in operations or our own problems to give people the help they need,” he writes. Many of these tips can be transferred to public relations, including:

  • “Sharing your knowledge”

  • “Sharing your resources”

  • “Making others aware of an opportunity”

  • “Giving introductions”

  • “Volunteering your time”

As blossoming PR professionals, it’s necessary to be compassionate and empathetic. These skills are essential to succeed. I challenge you to place camaraderie over competition; to place selflessness over selfishness. Let’s show that our success doesn’t come at the expense of others.

“No one is useless in this world who lightens the burdens of another.” -Charles Dickens