Sisyphus and you


My dears, as I keep repeating (because all PR Girls know that messages need to be repeated), AFPRG is winding down this Friday, November 21.  Here’s another post from the archives, about one of my favorite characters – Sisyphus.

If you don’t know the myth of Sisyphus, PR Girls, you should familiarize yourselves.  Sisyphus, who had misbehaved when he was alive, was forced to spend eternity pushing a giant boulder up a hill.  When he was just short of the top, the boulder rolled down the hill. So Sisyphus had to do it all over again.  And again.  Forever.

Lots of us enter this profession because we’re great at solving problems.  We love to jump in, fix everything, make our clients happy and feel like heroes.  But some problems resist every attempt at a permanent solution. They continually recur. Some problems morph into new and different problems.  Even if you fix one thing, something else will break.  We are never done pushing boulders.  This is why my status update question is always, “How are things at this five minutes in time?” Because I know that six minutes from now all hell could break loose.

Bill Keller wrote a great op-ed in the New York Times about John Borling, a Vietnam Vet who was captured and imprisoned in the infamous the Hanoi Hilton.  Borling’s point of view on Sisyphus is enlightening:  “My view is that our job is to get the rock up and over the hill,” Borling said. “And once you do, the rock rolls down the other side, and what do you see? You see another hill. The essence of life is really just pushing rocks.”

Exactly.  Problems are the one predictable constant in life. Embrace this truth, PR Girls, and you’ll thrive.

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