It was April 2010 that I last made a blog entry and after that, I dint really find anything interesting to make an account of. But since then, a lot has happened on the personal front than on the professional front.
Professionally, life hasn’t made much of a move, considering my own yardsticks of what I call a remarkable step up. A couple of internships followed by a temporary job is all that I managed to grab in 6 month.
Nonetheless, personal predicaments kept me occupied and never failed to amuse me in the sense that it surprised me to see how people who once mattered the world to me had made a quiet exit from the backdoor and yet it did not leave me wondering as I had much expected this. Call it negative attitude if you may but there are certain situations which you encounter time and again with different people in almost similar situations, leading to exactly similar results. A strange awkwardness of silence that seeps into the widening cracks of your loosely connected relationships only makes the emotional ride more tumultuous.
Not being able to find proper work even after one year of successful marriage only added to the already defeated spirit. Thankfully and as rarely as it happens, may I add that my marriage has been the sole stabilising factor in my life and unaffected by the financial crisis, ever since I came to London on 14th September 2009. If it were not for my spouse and his patience, I wouldn’t have been able to sustain through this rough period and would have fallen apart. Clap for that super clichéd dialogue but I mean it!!
Throughout my journey in London, I observed a great deal of people, their impeccable mannerisms, careful courtesies, their loneliness and sometimes their obviously visible dislike towards a ‘race’ reflecting their insecurities. But their professional attitude is something I have to appreciate. At times, they wouldn’t care to take into account any emotional attachments, leaving you conspicuous about their mechanical life.
Being in London also gave me a great sense of independence, rather complete independence which left me feel vulnerable sometimes. People who come from overseas often say that once you’ve been here, done that, it is very difficult to go back to where you belong. No, not because they develop any liking towards the place, but because like everybody else, they also get caught in the viscous circle of living up to the family expectations and feeding several stomachs. Besides, England is too dry, apathetic and insipid to suit the tastes of merry making Indians who sadly never feel completely owned by any foreign country and after a while, they are unable to return to their rustic milieu. Just that our adaptability is quite congratulatory.
Nevertheless, I’m looking forward to going back to India and definitely not with a heavy heart as I still feel closely bonded to my family and my hometown. One thing that absolutely satisfies me is the kind of people whom I met as they added up to the experiences I had, leading to my growth as a more patient and tolerant person. No lawful speeches here but I have known one thing for sure that life shouldn’t be taken too seriously and people with indifferent attitudes should definitely go unnoticed! 🙂
More stories to follow……
I still remember my first day at the University of Westminster, Harrow Campus. I was tad nervous, yet immensely happy to finally see my dream come true! I always wanted to come to London to study……..could be anything!
The journey was a tough ride for me, since I come from a culture which is so closely knitted, involved and nurtured with affection. I wasn’t used to the aloofness, the silence around and the distance always scared me.
But gradually, the distances did fade and I realised that the people around my class are very cordial and helpful. The long nights at the library, the struggle to come up with one brilliant idea for the assignment, the brain storming sessions with my mates always came in handy!
I broke down at the most awkward times to embarass myself, I shared some precious laughs, the many after class gossip sessions at the canteen, I even learnt to ice skate, though I was a disaster!.…But this course made me tough. I fell many a times, but I’m really glad I learnt to face my fears.
I owe a big thanks to all my teachers….Pam and Michaela who have been with us as great mentors. Kim, without whom the fashion module wouldn’t have been the same and Matt, who taught us some great tricks for blogging and tweeting.
Last but not the least, to all my classmates….without each one of you, this course wouldn’t have been such a wonderful journey…….now it is a beautiful memoire for life!
A crackling debate about women in PR broke a buzz of discussion among the entire class. And most importantly, it got me thinking why aren’t there enough women on the top positions in the PR sector? The debate picked up two important ‘so-called’ weaknesses that pull women back from ruling the roost.
1) Their first priority is their family. They do not opt for demanding job profiles lest they would neglect their families.
2) Women are not practical enough and do not have a business bent of mind. After all, it is all about running a successful business and making profits.
But there were some very strong points thrown by the opposition that women are known for multi-tasking and there are so many influential women who have been successful in striking a balance between home and work. For Eg: Indira Nooyi, chairman and CEO of PepsiCo is a role model for many Indian women.
Since I have a soft corner for my species, I would say that women till date have not been given enough opportunities to show what they have and now that the stereotypes are slowly crumbling, women are gradually making their way up the ladder. Women are smarter, more efficient and more competent in delivering multiple duties at the same time.
According to an article in PR Week 2002, a survey conducted among 200 female respondents from the PR industry shattered many a myth about them. More than 50 per cent of the women surveyed were graduates – a further ten per cent having a post-grad qualification. Of those who were married or co-habiting, 47 per cent were the main breadwinners for their family; which means that they are well qualified and competent enough to shoulder any responsibility provided they are given a fair chance to prove their worth.
Though, the survey results clarified that women in PR are not very apprehensive about sexual discrimination or male dominance over managerial roles. Rather pressure from the family and the upcoming younger talent who are eager to put in extra hours is what intimidates them.
Signs of change showed up even a decade ago. Biss and Co. Chairperson Mrs. Biss entered the industry in 1978 who has witnessed more female MD’s as her boss says that the industry welcomes anybody who is talented and upfront – regardless of gender.
A survey conducted by the CIPR reveals that increasing number of women enrol for PR degrees and courses across the world and more and more women are entering the PR sphere. This trend does barge into the male dominance and allows more room for diversity, deeper understanding of the profession from different perspectives, fertile dialogues between the company and its publics and expansion of market shares. Women have the charm and elegance which is just the right quality for this profession.
Women are a great work force with a deep understanding and endurance and bringing them into any work space will introduce a balance, growth and acceptance of innovation in a fundamentally ‘male supremacy’ environment.
PR Week on Diversity: http://www.prweek.com/uk/news/search/487418//
Indira Nooyi on the women power: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=prM0jRIxC2I
Time and again, Public relations has been associated with all things unethical – lying, spin-doctoring, and even espionage. Many critics argue that there can be no ethical public relations because the practice itself is akin to manipulation and propaganda. Or how else would you justify those PR agencies who deal with the tobacco or ammunition clientele?!
There is considerable body of evidence to prove that modern PR practices have thrown ethics out of the window. To list a few popular spin doctors of the industry, Hill and Knowlton who have many a scandals in their kitty. Max Clifford, the famous media manipulator who honestly admits that telling a lie is sometimes necessary and he’s proud of being able to do that. Alastair Campbell, communicator, writer and strategist had a major role in justifying USA’s attack on Iraq.
An unfortunate belief among many journalists, policy makers, and laymen is the belief that the term ‘public relations ethics’ is an oxymoron: either an unreal possibility, or smoke and mirrors to hide deception.
Take coca cola India for example. The fizz giant is struggling to brush away a series of scandals by trying to spin the facts and shed their responsibility. The bottling plants have been discharging toxic wastes into the sacred rivers; the only source of harvesting for the farmers, have reduced the underground water tables to an all time low and have been careless about pesticide traces in the beverage.
On the other hand, a fashion retailer deserves a mention in terms of being ethically and morally upright in their PR practices. I once presented a case study in my fashion PR class about Monsoon Accessorize which is now a global brand with 1000 stores. I have never come across a more environmentally responsible and socially contributing company ever. And hey, if twisting some facts and hiding some malice is what PRO is ought to do for a client, then I think it’s high time they learn from Monsoon.
But Simon Goldsworthy, a senior lecturer in PR, Westminster University says in an article in PR Week that, “BBC journalist Andrew Marr says we must all deviate from the truth every now and then – he says ‘a day of honesty would be enough to finish most of us’Could you imagine a world where PROs spoke freely about every single worry affecting their company? Of course not. It would be a foolhardy PR professional who would say a client has big problems.”
At times, telling a lie just becomes a necessary evil or a part of his duty towards the client. PRO owes full responsibility to keep up the reputation of his client at any cost.
Max Clifford Founder, Max Clifford Associates says in the PR Week February 2007, “The only mantra I work to is that your duty is to your client. If I’m not comfortable lying, I won’t do it, but there will be plenty of other agencies lining up to take the business. All PROs at all levels lie through their teeth. I lie on behalf of a cross-dressing MP, a prominent businessman who is having an affair with a man, and a gay footballer. Always the aim is to keep their identity out of the press. There’s only been one footballer who was revealed to be gay, and he hanged himself. I know the ruin that will befall these people if news gets out. Here the truth is destructive – I lie because there is no choice.”
The current state of ethics in public relations practice depends heavily on codes of ethics adopted by every company and individual practitioner. Truth as said is very relative. A former editor of The Observer once said, “There’s your truth, my truth, and then there’s the real truth.” It all boils down to an individual’s choice of how much can he compromise with his moral values and where does he choose to draw a line. Same stands true for a company.