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“Welcome to the Jungle” – Guns N’ Roses
Let me start off by saying that I do not have the answer to this question. At one point I thought I did, but lately I’m not so sure anymore. I’m hoping some of you can help me out.
Six months into my PR career, I was promoted and given a 20 percent raise following a series of media placements and an overall ‘knack’ for bringing value to clients. No, I wasn’t making a lot of money, but that was significant to me and I was certainly thrilled. First thing I did was I went out to the local mall, bought some new clothes, a $125 pair of Ray-Ban sunglasses (still have them), and couldn’t wait to get on the train the next day and walk around like a Wall Street big shot (even though I worked on Park Ave … but still, not too shabby).
This continued for the next two years. Every six months I was getting promoted and receiving significant increases in my salary. It was like watching Bill Murray’s character in “Groundhog Day,” I was reliving the same story … and it felt good. Real good. But eventually things started to change, slightly, but it was still a change. I don’t know if it was the beginning of the downturn in the economy, or just how things start to get when you move up in the corporate world, but the promotions and raises were not happening nearly as quickly. I began to realize that there was much more to advancing in this world than just getting your clients quoted in the New York Times and getting them opportunities to appear on cable news shows.
There were a series of questions I began to ask myself now that I had accomplished some of the basics in PR, and they all revolved around what it took to move up and maintain that ‘fast track’ status. Those questions include:
- Is it bringing in new business?
- Getting your clients to increase their retainer?
- Working longer hours than everyone else?
- Is it consistency?
- Waiting for someone to leave in order to open up a new opportunity at your agency?
- Learning social media and adding new value to your personal brand?
- Waiting for the economy to turnaround?
The short answer is that it’s probably a combination of everything on this list. But to reiterate, I don’t have the answer and I’m hoping some of you can help.
Would you add anything else to this list? Is there a senior-level executive that reads this blog and can help some of us out? Please comment.