We’ve all seen the 1989 PSA, “A mind is a terrible thing to waste,” and for the younger readers of this blog who haven’t viewed this video, watch it now.
Since the beginning of the economic downturn, we’ve all noticed that morale is low everywhere – from PR agencies to in-house communications staff. People are unhappy about the lack of impactful raises, the slashing of perks and benefits, and the uncertainty of their futures. And while people have every right to be upset, this also presents a unique opportunity for management to see who steps up and, even more importantly, who doesn’t during these tough times.
In every agency there’s two kinds of workers: the ones that work hard and the notorious “complainers.” While we’ve all been guilty at some point of lamenting about our job and/or our clients, it’s the complainers that most let their emotions affect their performances. They are the people that show up late to work, mope around the office, and give less effort than others. I’d even be willing to bet that nine times out of ten the “issues” they’re having with their agency are ones that can be discussed openly with their boss(es) and addressed in a timely fashion. Whether they are walking into the bosses office asking for more money or for different clients, you can’t expect change to happen overnight. But that doesn’t mean it’s not going to happen. And the worst thing you can do is continue to have a negative attitude and not bring your “A” game to work everyday – this is the biggest factor in whether or not those changes will ever occur. The saddest thing about all of this is that somewhere along the line these same people proved to be talented enough for their agency to hire them, and now they are allowing low morale to stunt their personal learning growth, and weaken their value to that same agency.
Ultimately, the people that are unhappy will move on to another agency. Some will get more money in the short-term, some will change career paths, and some will take another job where they continue to be miserable. But if you are one of the hard workers that battles through negative emotions, comes to work early, stays late when you have to, and produces during these hard times, I guarantee you will be one of the lucky ones that quickly rises to the top of your PR agency (title-wise and financially) faster than others when the economy bounces back. Just hold on a little longer, stay positive, and don’t let your talents fall by the wayside!