How Adele Helped Me Realize I Deserve Better in My Career

Larry Stansbury
3 min readJan 26, 2022

I remember the night Adele’s new song was released. I watched the music video with my mom. We both adored Adele so much and talked about how good she looked, her vocals, and every scene from the video. After the video, my mom went downstairs to take a cigarette break, and I decided to go back and listen to the lyrics again, but this time, I caught a lyric that reflected my career. “But I can’t bring myself to swim when I am drowning in the silence.”

After college, I thought I wanted to go into public relations. After several years of doing my best and surviving in the industry, I realized it wasn’t the right career path. I had bad experiences from several agencies (which I talked about in my first book) and it was the same thing: long hours, no opportunity for growth, poor culture, low pay, working on the same accounts, and burn out. I liked what I was doing at first, but I just wasn’t excited about sending editors pitches and getting media placements from various publications. I felt like every agency was taking credit for my work. Even after owning up and taking responsibility for my mistakes, I noticed that if you keep messing up at the job, even if it’s in the same field and you try your best, the universe is telling you that this is not the job for you. The universe is going to force you out of the job. You have no other choice but to leave. It took me months (and years) working at several agencies to realize that I was not meant to be a publicist.

Apparently, I’m not the only one. Katie Manwaring, a NYC Blogger and founder of Katie’s Bliss, shares her experience on why she quit her job in public relations. “While I was making advances in my career, I didn’t feel fulfilled. Pitching and securing a major print story for a client in a top womens’ magazine (something I used to dream about accomplishing) didn’t even make me feel proud,” Manwaring said in her post. “I no longer enjoyed what I was doing and still felt empty even after getting positive feedback… It was becoming increasingly clear that my chosen career didn’t necessarily align with my longterm personal goals.”

Another example of why people leave the PR industry is the culture and, as mentioned before, feeling unappreciated from their work, according to PR Week. “New recruits bring paid more than incumbents for the same role adds to the festering sense of being unappreciated and is another common reason for jumping ship,” the post noted. “For some strange reason, being shouted at, bullied (e.g. being asked if your clothes came from a charity shop), dealing with bonkers internal politics, crazy bosses (like the one who throws tantrums and screams at people across the office) or coping with egomaniac prima donnas doesn’t engender a warm fuzzy feeling.”

Before COVID-19 when I was let go from my job in New York City, I decided to go back home to my hometown in Maryland to clear my mind. The day I came home, the coronavirus pandemic started to affect everything. I didn’t realize that this would turn into months while I was trying to look for a new job. I’m not gonna lie: I was overrun by fears. I didn’t have the financial backup and the emergency fund to pay my bills, and I needed financial help to stay afloat while I looked for a new job. So, when I went back into the public relations world, I thought it would be different, but it was the same thing I experienced from my fellowship.

PR was beneficial for me to stay afloat on things and pay my bills, but I realized that I needed to be at a job that’s meant for me. While being home, I became a freelance writer and loved creating content for readers. After months of doing it, I noticed I am not as stressed as I used to be in the PR world. I like to tell my younger self this: if you’re not satisfied with your job, it’s time to look for something else. Trust me, you’ll find something — it just takes time and the place that’s meant for you will go easy on you.