Facing the Future…Are You Prepared?


A Guest Post By Kirk Hazlett, APR, Fellow PRSA

This is that time of year when I, and hordes of  other fellow educators and PR professionals, start seeing an uptick in panic-laced emails/Facebook updates from soon-to-be-graduated seniors who have suddenly realized that life is about to slap them squarely in the face.

Springtime…little lambs frolicking in the fields, chickadees chirping in the trees.

Degree audits and long, serious discussions with parents, friends, faculty advisors about…the future.

As both a public relations practitioner with a “smidge” more than a quarter-century of experience and as a public relations professor now teaching the next generation(s) of PR practitioners…undergraduate at Curry College; graduate at Regis College…I get hit from both sides.

“Mister/Professor Hazlett, can you help me find ‘some places’ to apply?”

Each time the question arises, I experience a moment of angst. Am I really qualified to help young people get their start in life? What do I know about the challenges facing young people looking to get a start in today’s job market?

Then I take the familiar “deep breath” and reflect on the vast amount of knowledge that I have had and still have access to through the Public Relations Society of America.

What a wealth of information!

For me, membership in PRSA is about more than just “belonging” to the largest organization “advancing the public relations profession and the professional.”

It’s about tapping into the resources that are available to me to help both myself and others.

These resources include the “PRSA Job Center,” PRSA’s monthly “Tactics” newspaper, and the quarterly “Strategist” magazine, as well as “Issues and Trends,” the daily information-packed email updates that emanate from PRSA headquarters. And a mind-boggling selection of on-line and in-person seminars and conferences around the country ensures that there’s something for everyone regardless of location.

More important, these resources augment the professional knowledge and the professional network that I have established over the years that can be tapped to help young people eager to dive into my life’s profession.

And helping these young future professionals, for me, is an obligation that I feel I must fulfill if for no other reason than those types of resources are what enabled me to get my start and wend my way through life.

We as PR professionals should see our roles as more than just a purveyor of services for clients or employers.

We should also see ourselves as sources of information for others wishing to either get into the profession or get ahead in the profession.

That implies that we will keep ourselves up to speed on…knowledgeable of…the industry as a whole…and our own area of expertise in particular.

The PRSA resources, combined with the “real-life” interactions with fellow PRSA members, mean that I actually do have the capability to provide young up-and-coming professionals with the guidance they want and need.

What this means for both sides of the equation is that, when that fateful day arrives and decisions about “the future” have to be faced, we will be prepared…both the adviser and the advisee.

“We should all be concerned about the future because we will have to spend the rest of our lives there.” – Charles Franklin Kettering, “Seed for Thought” [1949]

Hazlett_KirkKirk Hazlett, APR, Fellow PRSA, is Associate Professor of Communication (Undergraduate) at Curry College in Milton, MA. He also is Visiting Lecturer, Organizational and Professional Communication (Graduate), at Regis College in Weston, MA. Prior to his move into academia, Kirk practiced nonprofit and government public relations and marketing for more than 35 years in the US as well as Asia. Accredited by the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA), Kirk is a former member of PRSA’s national Board of Directors and has held leadership positions with PRSA Educators Academy and PRSA Northeast District as well as with the Boston and Hawaii PRSA chapters.