Diary of a PR Amateur

A Hot Commodity

August 24, 2010
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I know I haven’t updated you in a little while, but when you are on the market (as I am), certain things tend to take priority.

So here’s the latest …

FACT: I am much more marketable than even I ever could have imagined.

FACT: There is no question that I’ve made the right decision by looking around for a better position.

FACT: I can list facts just as well as Dwight Schrute.

FACT: My current boss and the CEO are both jerks, who have effectively “kept me down,” limiting my opportunity for growth.

FACT: I have a great smile that seems to be winning over all those with whom I am meeting about new jobs.

FACT: I have not yet received any offer, but I am hopeful.

All the interviews have gone basically the same. I wow the HR (that’s human resources) person, since they generally have no clue about PR itself. I could read a baking recipe to them and they wouldn’t know the difference. Then, I meet with the VP of marketing, who generally has ascended to his (I have not yet met any female VPs of marketing) position by wearing nice clothes, having an interesting hairstyle, and some type of facial hair. But I am not impressed with their content when I meet them, and I make a point to make it clear in every interview that I don’t just want the PR job that is available; I’m gunning for their jobs. I think that makes a good impression, because it shows I’m a real go-getter who isn’t ever going to be satisfied.

Once I wow the VP of marketing, he outlines the specifics of the role and then asks me if I have any questions. Of course, I did my research and know exactly what to ask, in an attempt to make myself memorable. (After all, these guys are meeting with a bunch of candidates, not just me.) I ask:

“Do you allow people to put their feet up on their desks here?” and then I proceed to put my own feet on their desks.

Barack Obama's got nothing on me.

Maybe it’s a little nervy, but it’s memorable, and that’s what I’m shooting for. We each have our own brand, and I’m promoting mine.

So no offers yet, but I expect something to come through soon. Then, I can get out of this rotten company I’m working for now and actually make some things happen!

Until then, I have to pretend I’m still interested. So I tried to get another brainstorming session together for tomorrow, but when my boss saw the email, he shot it down. Said something about it being a waste of time. Considering how it went last time, I have no idea what he’s talking about, but he’s the boss, so I have to listen.

Okay, back to the job search …


A New Chapter

August 16, 2010
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Well, folks. I thought I had a fool-proof way of getting a raise, but it turns out it’s not fool-proof because my fool-of-a-boss and the CEO both turned it down.

You see, I had done some research into the average salary for in-house PR people. It was simple, really. I just went to PR Week and O’Dwyer’s, and each of them had a survey of salaries. So I took the average of both averages, and that turned out to be higher than the salary I have been making.

I took the surveys into my boss’s office and said, “If you think I’m lower than average, you can keep my salary as is. If not, I would like an increase.”

He smiled and said, “I’ll have to discuss this with (the CEO’s name), and will get back to you.”

You’re darn right, you should be discussing it. I’m the last guy they want to make unhappy.

Well, it wasn’t even 15 minutes later that he came back to me with their answer.

“We believe that you are currently worth less than the average PR person, but that you do have potential, Joe. Therefore, we are keeping your salary the same.”

I'm not feeling too good right now. But that's about to change.

So I responded, “If you don’t think I’m worth what I think I’m worth, I may have to leave the company.”

“I understand,” he said, and walked out of my cube.

So that’s it. I’m now definitely moving on. In fact, I have my first interview scheduled for tomorrow.

And I’m particularly excited, because it’s with an agency. Imagine how impressed they will be when I outline my client-side experience to them.


My Grandma Made A Fool of Me Once … Once.

August 9, 2010
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It’s so funny when you run into someone who thinks s/he is smarter than you. Perhaps that doesn’t happen to you very often. But to me, it seems to happen all the time. I imagine it comes from the other person’s general insecurity.

Anyway, in response to my simple inquiry regarding the results of the media tour, I received this from John at the agency:

“Joe –

Thanks for the email, and for including (my company’s CEO) in the cc line. I am surprised that you needed to ask about it, given that we sent you a full report on the tour the day we returned from San Francisco. (By the way, I hope you can go next time. SF is a great town.)

Anyway, I’ve attached my original email summary to this email so you and (my company’s CEO’s first name) can both review it. In short, it was a major success, and I hope we can do this every 3-4 months.

Please call me with any questions and/or concerns.

John”

What a jerk. What kind of an agency guy cc’s the CEO on an email designed to make me look bad? Well, I decided to put him in his place, so I responded with this – without cc’ing my company’s CEO:

“John –

Thanks for the re-send. I don’t think it makes sense in the future to waste (my company’s CEO)’s time with these kinds of emails. Perhaps you should just send these kinds of things to me in the future.

Thanks, and by the way, I found the formatting in the summary to be confusing. Please make sure it is done properly next time.

Joe”

Danny Vermin's got nothing on me.

So that’s the end of that, and I think I’ve made clear who’s running the show at this point.

By the way, there are big things on the horizon here for me. I just found out about a potential salary increase for myself. And I plan on bringing it to the attention of my boss tomorrow.


Media Tour Revisited

August 5, 2010
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For any good PR person, life is divided in half:

First half: Doing amazing things and achieving great results; and
Second half: Telling the world how great a job you are doing.

Well, you all know that I’ve got the first half covered. But I haven’t been paying as much attention to the second half as perhaps I should.

Well, today that all changes. From now on, I’m cc’ing our CEO on all my emails. And I mean ALL. In fact, I sent an email at the end of yesterday to our agency asking them for an update on the results of the media tour, and I cc’ed him. His reply?

“Joe, please let me know how they respond.”

You see? He now knows I’m on top of things. And here we are, nearly 8 a.m., and I still haven’t heard back from the agency.

So I just sent the following:

“John – I was surprised to check my email first-thing this morning and not see a response from you to my email about the media/analyst tour. Are you ignoring me?

And I cc’ed our CEO again. This is a great tactic, because it makes me look good and the agency look bad at the same time. That way, they will be on their heels and wanting to kiss up to me in the coming days so that I will be nicer to them.

Anyway, I hope they get back to me about the tour today so I can report back to our CEO.

And if you are wondering why I don’t feel the need to cc my boss (the VP of marketing), well, let’s just say I believe in cutting out the middle-man.


I Hate Delays

August 2, 2010
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I’m a little embarrassed to let you know, because I really built it up and I’m sure you have all been checking this blog on a daily basis, but the big announcement – on which my raise and promotion were riding – has been postponed indefinitely.

Apparently, (my company) has not exactly done what is necessary to make this particular customer feel loved. You know, sometimes I think that I’m the only person in this company who knows how to do his job.

I wonder how (my company) would do if we sent out a satisfaction survey to our customers.

In any case, we are officially delayed, which means I have to figure out a different way to prove that I am promote-able.

I’ve got a few tricks up my sleeve, and I think it all starts with taking some of the pressure off my boss. Of course, this will involve having to work a little harder than usual, but I think it’s worth the short-term effort for the sake of the long-term.

By the way, it has come to my attention that there is a Facebook Fan Page devoted to me, which is not entirely surprising, given the quality of the information I generally provide here. You should check it out.


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