Life After PR Series – “Vicky”, Part 1 – How did Vicky’s background and early career contribute to her flexibility in making career decisions?

Judith Cushman All Posts by Date, Life After PR - Vicky 0 Comments

judith cushman associates human resources consulting life after public relations prAnswer: Vicky began her career in the Western US, living in a booming high-tech community. She was educated there and graduated with a broad background in marketing and communications. Her major was in advertising and as she describes it, she “happened into PR”. This was during the heyday of marketing and product PR, press releases, trade shows, B2B PR and Publicity. Lines were blurred between the tools and methods to support sales. The pace was frantic, intense and direct. Start-ups were popping up all over, either flourishing or burning out quickly.

One of her first jobs was with a PR tech agency. It was founded by a visionary owner, a woman who changed workplace practices to accommodate the needs of working mothers and families. The firm was growing rapidly and Vicky, a promising, talented, hard-working professional could take on as much responsibility as she could handle. She had an instinct for connecting with clients, quickly earning their trust, with the strategic ability to see the big picture and help them with their issues. Promotions came quickly. The agency was established in the late 80ties and later sold to a top tier global PR firm in 2002.

Vicky jumped in to “do it all.” She did not see herself as a PR professional but rather as a Marketing professional and gave little thought about her ability to do whatever had to be done. It seemed quite natural that she could write proposals, create a full range of promotional materials (including financial), manage accounts, develop staff as well as “pitch” new business. She quickly took on the role of Office General Manager. Also, during this early phase of her professional career, she began to display a natural talent to support and mentor her staff.

Unlike many professionals who are excellent in a specific discipline, she could do everything that was demanded of her. Her talent as a “generalist” was something she did so naturally that she underestimated how useful that could be to building her career. Also, unlike many professionals that started out in agencies and expected to stay for one or two years before jumping to another firm and maximizing their earnings, Vicky’s values were different.

She understood the advantage of staying in one place for a reasonable amount of time. She thought if she were happy where she was, and remained interested in the work, with the ability to both grow business and be involved in client strategy, she could make the most of the situation. There would be no reason to move just to increase earnings alone. Throughout her career, she has valued stability over short term gain.

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