Two months ago, on a glorious, sunny late summer morning, I was unceremoniously relieved of my position as public relations director. Here are some random thoughts on what has happened since, what I’ve learned and where I see myself headed.
1. The sun still comes up. Every day. Yes, despite my little setback, life did go on, and quite well. I’ve made time between my search to reach out to old friends and make some new ones. I’ve made time to learn more about trends and developments in public relations, especially those related to online communications and measurement. I’ve reaffirmed that public relations is a passion and my profession.
2. Don’t believe everything you read, hear or download. Yes, the economy continues to sputter and there remains a lot of uncertainty as to when it will get better. But I’ve found opportunities are out there in the market for skilled communicators willing to apply for posted jobs or pound the proverbial pavement to put themselves in a position for a job. Nothing concrete yet, but progress is better than stagnation.
3. Time really does make things better. The days after I was shown the door, I was angry. I felt betrayed. “How could they have made this mistake?” I kept asking myself and anyone who would listen. Today, I still wonder what I could have done differently to retain my position. The answer: Nothing. “You were a valuable addition, you contributed, you were innovative and adaptable. Now it’s time to start another chapter,” I reasoned. I had the time to resolve some feelings.
4. Howdy neighbor! I’m around the house a lot more, even though I have a fairly active schedule of meetings away from home. I’ve become closer with the nice lady with the little dog, the neighbor who opened a nearby grocery store, the couple canvassing to get new candidates on the February ballot. These folks are now my friends because I interact with them more often than when I was at work five days a week.
5. Change is something to embrace, not avoid. I was a true creature of habit, and I loved it. Now, my days are less structured, which will make me stronger and more adaptable to wherever my career takes me. Not a bad thing for someone who never plans to really “retire.”
6. “Hello PR Department. We need you more than ever.” Plain and simple, companies, associations and governments need sound, strategic public relations now more than ever. A recent poll showed that nearly 80% of respondents search for information using new media sources, up by some 20% from a year ago. Any organization that ignores the fact that online resource have changed the communications landscape is in for a rude awakening.
Do I wish I was back in my old position? Without question. But life throws curve balls, meaning I have to learn how to lay off or go to the opposite field.
I remain steadfast: I will be back in the game, and soon.