Tag Archives: character

When working hard and being ‘liked’ isn’t enough

I was laid off four times in my career. It was the threat of a fifth firing that made me take ownership of my career once and for all. Which, in turn, led me to start a business.

Many of you can relate to the pain and promise that comes with leaving a job. In my book “The Power of Ownership,” I recount how each time I was let go from a job, I went on to work for someone bigger and better. Someone new to pay me and take care of me.  I thought that if I had a job, did okay, and was liked, that “they” would keep giving me more responsibility and money, enough to retire.

So, that’s how it was for years. With every new job, I worked harder to exceed expectations of my clients and those around me. I kept challenging myself to be better, to be the best, at what I did. My responsibilities grew and I busted my butt to always do better than was expected.

Still, I worked for someone else. They made the decisions about my future, not me. In 1996, I was  the executive vice president at Shandwick-Detroit, formerly Casey Communications. You’d think as some high-ranking VP, my seniority would protect me, like tenure does for a professor. It didn’t. It never does. Like every place before, I was this hard working dude, very successful at my job and I knew I was invaluable to the company. Sure enough, I was not in my employer’s future plans. I decided not to be let go. Not this time, and certainly not a fifth time.

Careful, considerate planning and some well-placed phone calls came into play, as I recount in chapter eleven of the book. I resigned from Shandwick-Detroit, hung out my own shingle, and called it John Bailey & Associates Public Relations. Now my ownership was complete. I owned my career and a business.  Within two years, my new company was larger than the one that was not going to promote me. (Shandwick-Detroit was shut down in 2000. It wasn’t so much vindication as it was validation that I absolutely made the right decision.)

You can see the details of this career-path in my book, The Power of Ownership: How to Build a Career and a Business (paperback or Kindle). You can learn the things I learned that will help you avoid other people making decisions about your future. Even if people like you and you work hard, you may face being let go or other job circumstances out of your control. Don’t let that happen. Take control of the situation, and ownership of your career and yourself.

You can be honest and treat people fairly… and succeed

People ask what my book is about. They ask why I wrote it in the first place.

Here are my two main points:

  1. You can be honest and treat people fairly… and succeed.
  2. You can also follow the golden rule… and succeed.

Aren’t you tired of hearing about people who cheated or took advantage of others to gain some money or fame or whatever for themselves? I know I am tired of this and wonder why people don’t get it… do wrong, you will get caught, and you will pay.

My mother and father were simple people. They loved each other and their family. They were honest and worked hard. They believed in doing what was right and not saying anything bad about others and, they believed in respecting others. These are not hard rules to follow and they are the ones I grew up with and carried into my adult life.

Some people think that in business you need to lie, cut corners, talk down to people, and take advantage of others. And, sometimes these people make a lot of money. Sometimes you even hear that greed is good. But these people get caught and lose everything.

I saw a few of these folks as I built my career. Some did better than others. But, they all got caught.

When I started my business career and later my own business, I was determined to follow those simple rules I grew up with. There are numerous quotes in the book, this is the first one:

I hope I shall always possess firmness and virtue enough to maintain what I consider the most enviable of all titles, the character of a man.
– George Washington

How simple. How beautiful.

In the book I talk about how an average person can indeed build a career and a business—while being honest—and can succeed. I reveal lots of fun anecdotes that took place throughout my career but you will be the judge of if they are fun or not. And I review some of the successes I and we experienced along the way. I reveal the lessons I learned that can hopefully help anyone who reads them build a better career and business.

So what’s the point? Anyone can succeed in a career and a business and be honest and treat people fairly.

The book will be available to order June 1 on Amazon.