More Random Thoughts for a Friday Afternoon

Hard to believe it’s been 11 days since my last post.  Being an ethical public relations practitioner, I’ll disclose why there’s been such a drought of thoughts, especially with lots of local and national news items that offered opportunities.  (There will be more, I’m sure.)

1. I caught a nasty upper respiratory ailment that made it a challenge to think, much less think coherently.
2. Project work demands — ghost blogging, article writing, editing and more — took up a lot of time the past few days.
3. More time was spent concentrating on my goal — securing that next great position in public relations — as opportunities surfaced that I had to address.
4. Volunteer work demands — for the Universal Accreditation Board, PRSA Chicago and Logan Square Preservation — increased recently.

But I’m back, rested, over the flu and ready to offer these random thoughts for a Friday afternoon in mid-April.

Take That, Chicago Tribune — On April 8, the Chicago Tribune, still my favorite daily newspaper, published a piece, “Aldermen spent freely in ’09.”  This piece detailed how the 50 aldermen of Chicago’s 50 wards (or districts) spent some $70,000 allocated annually for expenses.  No issues with the scope of the article, but I bristled at the reference to public relations consultants being singled out among “questionable” expenses for luxury auto rental and payments to relatives.  Why were only PR professionals singled out?  If the alderman hired an accountant or an attorney, was that an “unquestionable” consulting service?  I drafted a letter to the editor, but it has yet to be published.

Sound, Succinct Advice on How to be a Leadercommunicator — Just finished a great, inspiring short read: “You Can’t Not Communicate,” by David Grossman, ABC, APR, Fellow PRSA.   (Note: I received the book after hearing Mr. Grossman speak as a panelist during a PRSA Chicago luncheon.)  The crux of this engaging, well-written and designed book centers on Mr. Grossman’s contention every action and message delivers a communication. Great leaders need to recognize this and be great communicators (with all apologies who coined the phrase for President Reagan).  Mr. Grossman has coined the phrase “Leadercommunicator” to accentuate his point.  One great take away for me is Chapter 8, “What’s your story.” It addresses the value behind an ancient form of communication: The story.

April is Not the Cruelest Month: It’s PRSA Accreditation Month — Earning the Accreditation in Public Relations (APR) certification in 2004 was the single most important personal achievement I accomplished, well, since graduating college.  (That was well before 2004, but who’s counting?) I am and always will be bullish on Accreditation for our profession.  It’s the only industry certification for public relations professionals, and it’s a personal achievement that promotes life-long learning.  Many PRSA and Participating Organization chapters hold formal training to prepare candidates for the process.  This piece on Chapter training programs by yours truly was posted in the PRSA online edition of Tactics magazine.  What’s your excuse for not pursuing Accreditation?

Back to April for a Moment — Not sure where you live, but here in Chicago, April has been a delightful month — from a meteorological perspective.  It’s been awesome weather: Warm, sunny and just enough rain to make things grow.  With my time somewhat unstructured, I have embraced the spring weather fully.  Each day, something in my yard  or along the modest parkways of our neighborhood explodes with growth.  Flowering trees are in full bloom.  The major bulbs — tulips and jonquils — are alive with color.  And the turf is a verdant green.  Okay, enough. This isn’t a gardening blog.  But I feel blessed that for the first time in my adult life, I have the privilege of witnessing this natural phenomenon unfold, each day and at my own pace.   It’s one benefit of a career in “transition.”

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With Spring Around the Corner

My desk calendar tells me that Spring starts tomorrow, March 20.  Here in Chicago, Springlike weather graced our fair city most of this third week of March.

And, all the right signs — crocus and snow drop emerging from barren gardens, flowering shrubs starting to bud, robins and cardinals return, the kids down the block playing kick ball — are right outside my window.

From a non-meteorological perspective,  Spring is a time for renewal, a time to reflect on what’s ahead.  I’m taking stock of where my life and career have led since I launched my concerted effort to secure that next great position in public relations.

And, I’m energized.

During these past several weeks, I’ve had a tremendous opportunity to learn, progress and ultimately succeed.  I continue to complete project assignments that help my small, but loyal, roster of clients meet their communications needs.  I continue to have the luxury of learning about the next development in social media (these seem to surface weekly) and how it fits into public relations strategies and tactics.   I continue to volunteer time to advance the Accreditation in Public Relations (APR) designation, which I am proud to hold.  And, I continue to have the time to write this blog.

Mind you, I spend a large part of my day networking, “cold calling” targeted companies to seek out opportunities and responding to posted positions  commensurate with my skills and career objectives.   But I do it at my own pace.  I have the luxury to delve into a new direction, as long as I meet my deadlines.

I’ve never for a moment considered myself “unemployed.”  I’m maximizing an opportunity and poised to bring this advantage forward to the right company at the right time.   We’re in daylight saving time, and I’m springing ahead.

One more thought involving “spring,” and again it will involve the verb.

Alexander Pope, a British poet and essayist from the early 1700s, wrote a much-quoted line, “Hope springs eternal.”  This is a guy who overcame a lot: He suffered a disease that stunted his growth (he was not even five feet tall), and being Catholic, his family was ostracized and forced to live outside of London.

Yet, Pope overcame these and other challenges to become a literary giant in an era when authors were the rock stars and screen idols of the time.

I know I will overcome the challenges of today’s economy land a great new position. When? I don’t know.  But I’ve got hope, drive and determination. And, it’s Spring.