Since I retired from my business in 2012, I have been looking for a way to share the many lessons I learned that will help someone else.
Well folks, after a lot of looking, I believe I have found a way! I want to help executives who, in mid-career, have been downsized or laid off. I feel very passionate about this because I was downsized four times in my career and the fifth time was looming when I took control of my future and started my business, John Bailey & Associates Public Relations, at age 57.
I realized this new passion while speaking to the Fall 2013 graduating class of the Michigan Shifting Gears program. Many of the approximately 40 mid-career executives had been laid off or downsized; some were still working but all entered the 8-week program seeking to redirect or refocus their career. Shifting Gears gave them that and more.
People often ask me, “How’s your book selling?” I am happy to report “just fine, thank you.” It’s the “THANK YOU” part that I can’t stress enough! Your support, reviews, likes and tweets are what keep this new author going strong. Sure, I like good sales numbers (who doesn’t?) but it’s hearing your many stories of struggle and success during my roadshow that makes promoting “The Power of Ownership: How to Build a Career and a Business” an incredibly humbling and rewarding experience.
Just this week, The Detroit Free Press published my very personal take on the downfall of former Detroit mayor Kwame Kilpatrick. This is a respected newspaper that I helped many a professional client “get in” during my years in public relations. This time, I was the one with a voice. Kilpatrick’s tale is well-known, so I won’t rehash it here. What I wanted to remind readers was to respect the opinions of others, especially the wiser ones, and not just your friends’. Be honest, stay true to yourself, and don’t be greedy. Such simple advice for complex times. The younger version of Kwame I first met showed me such promise. The older, shameful Kwame will walk away from federal prison years from now, wishing he had taken my advice. Continue reading →
Most of us in public relations have been asked many times by family and friends, “So what do you do for a living?” This can be tough to answer in under a few minutes, as PR is a multi-faceted profession, constantly evolving, and admittedly not always easy to nail down. Many people believe it is “like advertising” or “a way to get good press.” One of my kids once said, “My dad goes to lunch for a living.” And one former boss likened PR to “walking behind the animals in a parade and shoveling up their mess.”
True, PR is vital to establishing and/or maintaining the good reputation of a person or a company. Most people get that to some degree. Increasingly, it’s an important part of the marketing mix for most brands (more on that later). Still, people in business differ in their understanding of public relations, much less agree upon a common definition. Continue reading →
It make me think of the impact downsizing has on workers, a subject I often blog about, have personally endured and recount in my book. It is unfortunate that layoffs and downsizings happen, yet it is a fact of working life. Layoffs always happen, and always will.
So, how can employees of a century-old banking giant, or a truck plant in Toledo, or anywhere subject to business disruption ever truly prepare for such a career calamity? The key is knowing that this could happen to you, and preparing for involuntary separation long before it happens. Continue reading →