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The Feeling of Guilt While Doing Good Things for the World as a Communicator

By Gisselle Bahena

DePaul PRSSA held its first meeting for this Spring Quarter on April 12th all about entrepreneurship. Going into this meeting I did not think I would get so much out of it, I mean I never thought of myself as an entrepreneur. I believed the most I would get out of this meeting was that I should at least know that becoming an entrepreneur is an option for me that might give me what I always wanted from an already established company. But I was wrong. While listening to what the panelists in the meeting had to say something stuck with me. It was their remarks about how they felt guilty of benefiting from this current pandemic while their customers were being affected horribly. They reiterated that knowing that their business is prospering because of this pandemic made them get a newer sense of the value in their work.

The feeling of guilt while doing good was something that stuck with me during the meeting because I know I am going to feel that way in my future as well. Ever since I can remember I always told myself I was going to do good in the future. That I was going to be financially stable, travel, get a bachelor’s degree, live in a big house, and help others at the same time. But I completely disregarded who was going to get me there, who the people were that would help me put my work into action. Living through a pandemic was never on my list of “Things I want to experience before my 30’s”. And it was probably on no one else’s either, but here we are. There are good things and bad things that came out of this pandemic. One thing for sure is that public relations and social media marketing businesses benefited quite a lot from the pandemic.

Image via Nextiva

Social media is the window to the world, it is what businesses use now to promote their business on TikTok, Instagram, and just about any other social media platform out there. But many small businesses do not know how to use social media or how to get their business name out there on other platforms, and so they seek help. They might seek your help and even mine as well, especially if anything impactful happens in the future. And as much as I want to do good in the world, I know I will feel the same way that the panelists did in the meeting. The feeling of guilt out of profiting from something that is negatively affecting others more vulnerable to it. It might overwhelm me to feel like I am taking advantage of my customers. Driving me to the extent where I feel like my work is rooted out of greed not of good because without anyone needing my help my work is not being put to action.

I am just a freshman here at DePaul University. I still have a couple of years left before I go out there in the “real world”. But it might not be the same case for you, you might be graduating in one or two years and you might also encounter moments where you feel like you are benefiting from something that negatively affects others. But as the panelists in the meeting reiterated, it will give you a newer sense of how meaningful your work is. Remember, doing public relations related work is not to serve yourself, it is to serve others who need your expertise the most. Before you enter the public relations world find out who you want to help. Find out who you believe you can help out the most with your work. You might be the first one that helps businesses enter the world of communication, something they might be new to.

Remember, doing public relations related work is not to serve yourself, it is to serve others who need your expertise the most.

You know the power that communication, social media, public relations, and so much more have over businesses and people. I cannot say that we will never experience another pandemic or that we will never experience anything else that will not damage communities. But one thing I can tell you for sure is that whatever work you do with public relations during hard times remember that it should not be the case where you feel guilty for doing good. Instead, it should be feeling guilty for not doing any good. If there is one thing I learned from life is that nothing feels worse than knowing you could have done something to help others but you decided not to do anything. Use your public relations work for good and remember even in hard times people still need your expertise to help them, whether you profit from it or not. Do not forget the value that your work has as you get successful, because what you have can help benefit others more than it can help benefit you personally.


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