5 things PR practitioners can learn from Netflix’s Working Moms
20 September 2021
If you haven’t yet watched Working Moms on Netflix, this is your call to action: go watch it. The show, created by Catherine Reiter, follows four very different thirty-something working-mother friends as they try to balance their jobs, family, and love lives.
But how does Working Moms relate to us at Sauce?
The main character, Kate Foster, is a PR Executive turned Company Director of Kate Foster Public Relations. We watch her journey unfold from a highly successful career woman, to a new mother, to a woman trying to get back into the PR game with an insurmountable pile of expectations weighing on her shoulders.
Working Moms is a roller coaster of highs and lows. Fails and successes. Mistakes and lessons learned.
So, what can we learn from Kate Foster?
- Learn when to say no
In season three we see Kate thrown into a tricky situation where she is pressured into taking on a group of wealthy, white, high-profile, privileged men as clients and represent them as they battle the media in response to negative claims from women. What Kate experiences is a tug-of-war between her moral compass and her financial needs as a new company director. Eventually she realises that the dollar figure at the end of a project is not more important than ethics.
At some point all PR businesses will be faced with this dilemma—say yes to a client who doesn’t align with your values or take the moral high ground and respectfully decline. Knowing your values and living them daily is important to ensure you don’t find yourself in a difficult situation.
Saying no is not a bad thing. Letting go of your beliefs to suit someone else, is.
Passion is often the magic ingredient for success
Kate lives and breathes Public Relations. She lands the big clients with ease. She’s confident. She doesn’t back down. She knows her stuff.
When you are passionate about your industry, your job, or your employers’ values, it shows. This article from Forbes explains that people “destined for greatness know exactly when to quit—only when they’ve found success. You have the patience to see something through to the end. You remain focused and dedicated to achieve a result.”
Work smarter, not harder. It’s never too late to review your processes, upskill, or take some time to look inward to remember what got you here from the beginning: your passion for the industry.
Find the right support
In season one we meet Rosie, an energetic, creative, slightly unhinged assistant who is assigned to Kate when she returns from maternity leave. In season three we also meet Forrest Greenwood, a twenty-something, hunk of spunk man who also happens to be Kate’s ex-boss’s son. Both characters are Kate’s assistant in one point of time, but both support her needs in both positive and potentially career-destroying ways.
Finding ‘your people’ in the biz is crucial for several reasons: team cohesion, office culture, dynamics, support, and sharing knowledge across the board. You can teach a new team member how to do their job, you can’t teach them how to be a good person.
What lesson did Kate learn? Follow your gut. If your gut is telling you this isn’t a good fit, it’s usually right.
In season five Kate lands her first high-profile client as Company Director: Sloane—the head of a publishing house for children’s books. She’s a force of nature, a high-powered businesswoman who gets what she wants simply by making it happen. She exudes power with her token sunglasses and air of authority, and Kate finds herself succumbing to the allure. Kate then makes a critical mistake: she assumes the identity Sloane has created for herself is transferrable and applies some power-tactics while pitching to other clients.
You can guess what happens. No prospective client likes to be pushed around or made to feel small. The lesson here is to be your authentic self. You made it where you are in PR for a reason. You understand the importance of establishing connections and that strong relationships come from giving, not demanding.
You CAN have it all
The main theme of Working Moms is just that—women trying the juggle the needs of their family, their work, and themselves. Kate finds herself in (more than one) awkward situation where she has withheld her work commitments from her husband in fear of being accused of working too much or letting her family down.
Open communication between your family, your colleagues, and your clients, is key to managing expectations. The buzzwords ‘work/life balance’ are thrown around a lot these days, but the objective has never been simpler (or more necessary).
Don’t put too much pressure on yourself. You’re only human, and we’re all stumbling in this thing we call life—together.
“I love you buddy, but mommy is gonna check a little bit of email – not because I’m not dedicated to your walking development but because it’s boring.”