Let-downs and pick-me-ups: On the road with “The Power of Ownership”

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

What the heck is public relations?

What the heck is public relations?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

Building your network and continuing education are career-long opportunities

On September 23, 2013, JP Morgan Chase laid off 367 people in Metro Detroit, a region where every job counts as being mission-critical. Earlier in the year, that same company announced they would cut 15,000 jobs nationwide.

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

What happens when you get laid off or downsized?

Middle aged woman laid off from her white collar job carries a box of her belongings.  Isolated on white.Layoffs and downsizings have been happening to people practically since the beginning of time. This happens to many good people, and quite often, more than once.

When it does happen, you may feel like a failure, a louse, a complete and utter zero. “I’m too old to start over! This is awful! My career could be over!” Then you have to tell people like your spouse, the kids, and all of your other family and friends. Things could not be worse, or so you may feel.

It is hard to realize that a layoff is not an ending, but rather, a beginning. You now have an immediate opportunity to reevaluate yourself and your career, and then plan for a new future. I have gone through this four times and almost a fifth. To me, each was an exciting time. It can be for you, too! Continue reading

Networking and its importance to you

Don't miss your shot: John Bailey presents during a public relations networking event in Detroit, 2013.

Don’t miss your shot: John Bailey presents during a public relations networking event in Detroit, 2013.

When I started John Bailey & Associates Public Relations in 1996, I knew that my network of people in business, comprised of persons I of course liked and kept in touch with during my (then) 30-year career, would be important.

I had been a successful PR professional and knew hundreds of people in business, media, government and the community in general. I was confident these people would be willing to help me as I opened my new business.

However, as I opened the doors to JB&A, I quickly found that I had underestimated just how important my network would be to my success. I didn’t just happen to know these people. They upheld my very reputation in the community. Former clients, colleagues and such spoke about “John Bailey” and “John’s new agency” to others, which helped to land new contacts (and eventually, contracts). This continued for years. I became known as a person who said what I meant and did what I said. Continue reading