Ask not for whom the door revolves

Matthew-diffee-office-with-poster-on-the-wall-for-c-e-o-of-the-month-new-yorkbbbbber-cartoonOne need only to read the PR trades to see that agency life in general, and big agency life in particular, is a never-ending revolving door. It seems like some head of healthcare at one holding company agency is ALWAYS leaving to assume the exact same spot at another holding company agency.

And, although the trades never connect the dots, it's also become commonplace for holding companies to report 'record profits' in one quarter only to silently announce a 10 percent staff reduction in the next.

It doesn't take a genius to figure out that personal brand building has never been more important. In fact, I'd argue that lifetime employment has joined military intelligence as a textbook definition of an oxymoron.

That's why I found this Top 10 list from Ford R. Myers so compelling. Myers is a career coach who has just penned a book, entitled: 'Get the job you want, even when no one's hiring.'

I was especially taken by numbers three, four and seven on the list:

– Don't just join trade associations. Take leading roles in them.
– Constantly publish your POV on industry issues.
– Help others, even if they're not in a position to help you right away.

I can tell you from first-hand experience that job offers and, more importantly for the owner of a midsized firm, new business leads have come about as a direct result of my embracing these three specific strategies.

Too many communications professionals wait far too long to begin building their personal brands. As a result, when the Grim Reaper does come around, they're not only stunned, they're also damaged goods (i.e. they've done the same thing for so long that their skills aren't transferable).

Study the Myers list and, whether you're 22 or 52, take his advice to heart. The more people you know and who know you, the better your chances of sustaining a lifelong career path. Make the mistake of focusing solely on your day-to-day work and, one day soon, you'll find yourself a middle-aged, one trick pony who no one knows and no one is in any hurry to hire.

Ask not for whom the door revolves. It revolves for you.

3 thoughts on “Ask not for whom the door revolves

  1. Excellent advice, RepMan. I have seen too many people sit on their laurels until their jobs (and careers) had been outsourced. They are caught like deer in the headlights.
    We have to stay ahead of the curve, keep up with technology and trends in our respective industries, and constantly reinvent ourselves to stay relevant.

  2. Spot on, Keith. One’s employer is no longer responsible for one’s success. It’s up to each one of us to create the brand of me.

  3. Great points and advice, Steve. In an age where consolidation is increasingly taking hold across the PR, marketing and advertising landscape (just look at today’s announcement of Dentsu buying Aegis as an example), it’s important that PR pros are constantly building their portfolios and personal brands. That doesn’t mean job hopping just for the sake of a better title and more salary (though that is a rampant problem in PR) but it does require us to come to the realization that we are the ones who have the power to make our careers successful. We can’t rely on our employers to do that for us because many of them are simply trying to stay in business these days.