Twenty years ago I was a public relations consultant with an outstanding list of clients in the fast-growing technology sector. Working life was hectic, and we were building and developing a great team of colleagues.
I'm now in full-time public relations education. Working life is hectic, but I'm helping develop some talented young people.
I've made one rather banal link between the two roles. Much better is this from Maister et al's The Trusted Advisor, a book about consultancy skills in business:
In many ways, advisory skills are similar to those of great teaching. A teacher's task is to help a student get from point A (what they know, understand, and believe now) to point B (an advanced state of deeper understanding and knowledge). It is poor teaching for the professor to stand at the front of the class and say "B is the right answer!" (As the old joke goes, a lecture is the fastest means known for getting ideas from the notes of the teacher into the notes of the student without passing through the minds of either.)
Maister et al 2000: 33
The one obvious difference between my two peaks is that the technology sector was fast-growing then, and has remained so ever since. Higher education has had a twenty year growth spurt in the UK (it was in 1992 that former polytechnics became universities), but the brakes are on right now.
We're still in business and our skills are still in demand, but it's a tougher world to enter now. That said, I'm always willing to talk to practitioners about the journey from PR practice to PR education, a journey that often starts when you give a guest lecture and discover it to be a very worthwhile communication challenge. Perhaps you too will come to find it the biggest communication challenge of your career.
Photograph from Apeiron Academy's photostream on Flickr