Don Perry, the vice-president of public relations for US restaurant chain; Chick-fil-A died on Friday morning from a sudden heart attack.
Don Perry’s tragic death came as he was in the middle of a huge public relations campaign focussed on Chick-fil-A’s reported support for anti-gay campaign organisations. We mentioned the company’s alleged Twitter faux pas last week.
You might be wondering why a technical PR agency based in Stafford is bringing you this tragic news. Well, the loss of Don Perry got us to thinking; could working in PR be a real factor in our overall health and stress levels?
Now, I realise Chick-fil-A is a US based company but still, we all deal with similar situations working in Public Relations. While it can’t actually be said that the job caused the sad death of Don Perry, it does highlight just how pressurised it may be, and the stress that PR bodies feel whilst doing their job.
In fact, The Huffington Post ranked the position of PR officer as number two in its top 10 most stressful jobs list, here.
Now, we know that working in PR isn’t as stressful as defusing time bombs, performing brain surgery or being Prime Minister. (We imagine these are all quite a strain on stress levels.) But we do face targets, and the fast paced flow of it all can add up.
PR can significantly affect the bottom line of our client’s businesses, so naturally there is significant need to get things right first time. Once something has been released to the media, damage control is very difficult.
But the job is fun. Don Perry himself said, "My expression routinely is ‘there are no dull days.' You just don't know what's going to happen moment to moment." So it probably wasn’t PR that killed him, and we’re reasonably certain that technical PR is probably safe, but, statistically speaking, chicken PR is best avoided.