What is interesting though, is that some people never learn the lesson. As employers we all hope that they do it all when they are young, and then move on to taking a more mature approach to things, especially if they want to get ahead in their careers.
The challenges of being an employee are many, but mostly, it's about life in general. People spend so much time at work, they have to love it, and get the most out of the situation. It has to be part of a greater plan.
My first employer was a perfectionist
When I was younger, I remember one of my first employers was a perfectionist, and it was hard to always be 'perfect' at everything I did. But I learned not to make the same mistake twice and always listen, take notes and check my work before handing it in. At the time, I was terrified of him, but respected him because of his talent and the fact that he did some really smart things and ran a business with no University Degree, or backing. Just an inate business capability, creativity and a desire to do everything 'perfectly'. He also had a philosophy that everyone must stop for morning tea and afternoon tea regardless and sit together and chat about anything other than work.
I was paid $12,000 per year
It challenges you as an employee to live up to these expectations, but it has set me up for life and for that I am grateful. I also hold this employer in the highest regard. I was paid $12,000 per year, and after a few months, he put it up to $14,000 per year. I wanted to come to work earlier, and work later, but my immediate supervisor was against this, and it's funny, as I am that same person today with my staff. I don't want for them to work long hours. I want for them to live life.
You could sleep your way to the top
Other employers taught me different things; working in big corporations particularly in the media I learned that politics is everything, and back then, you possibly could sleep your way to the top (sad but true). I never did and never have, but it was possible back then - less so now. Another employer taught me the importance of good family values and treating everyone like they are a member of your family. Being there when things are tough, and allowing stars to shine. They also taught me that there are some people that you should just let go - and see what they come up with. They did that to me, and it's amazing what I achieved and how proud of that work I am today. I am still in contact with them and still part of the family. Something I cherish.
Then there was the opportunist employer, who at the time I was grateful for giving me an opportunity, but found that values are more important. I left only because I needed to stay on the career path of marketing and the role was too PR related. He saw an opportunity in the not-for-profit space and took it.
I didn't quite respect him
The last one that really touched me and helped shape me was someone I didn't quite respect, but learned that you should take risks and networking is everything. What I loved about that job was the fact that I was able to meet some of the most powerful and influential people in the world, and travel with them promoting an industry. The lack of respect only comes from my own moral compass, but I do believe that it is important to appreciate what these people give us in knowledge and insight. He taught me that age doesn't matter when it comes to jobs. He had a 21 year old run a magazine straight from University. He also taught me that some people just have ability to hire the right people, and he certainly did that. Everyone who worked there was ambitious and went on to become serious players in their careers.
Standout employees make others sometimes feel insecure
My very last big role before starting my own business taught me what it is like to work in an environment where you stand out, but that makes other's feel insecure. How to manage that, I did not know at the time, but I watch for that in my team now and make sure that they navigate that path in a way that brings out the best in everyone.
Working for someone is a privilege, and even though I am saying that as an employer, I think many young people forget that. Owners of small businesses in particular have a lot of stress and have to think about things you would never have considered. Paying payroll and ensuring that there are enough clients to sustain a business is just part of it. But it's also HR, accounting, marketing, legal and leadership. There is so much to think of. Why I say that it is a privilege is because whether you like it or not, they make sure that every week you get your salary, your super is paid and you get 4 weeks annual leave, 10 days minimum sick leave, and 10 days or so that are public holidays. That's a lot for FREE, and I know employees don't see it that way, but at the end of the day, this takes a huge chunk out of the year and productivity.
I am grateful
As an employer, I am grateful. I have given myself the opportunity to have the dream job, but with everything that is good, there is always challenges that bring you back to reality.
Today's team of people that work at Marketing Eye are amazing. I am lucky. Anyone who has ever left, meant to leave. We only live once and as long as we do so with integrity and compassion, it's a life worth living.
Then there were others that came along, without qualifications but equally capable in getting column centremeters like Roxy Jacenko. They have built their businesses on largely fluffy PR but have done so with gust and have certainly gained my admiration.
I played the PR game earlier on. I realised that it was a quick way to make some serious money. I worked on the more serious part of the equation; public listings, technology PR, business PR and alike. It was fun. All it required was an ability to write a press release and build a relationship with a journalist. By knowing what the journalist was interested in, I was able to tell the client upfront whether or not they had a chance of getting published or not.
For that privilege, I wrote the press release in 20 minutes and charged $2,500 per piece. Easy money and paid the rent. Didn't get much better than that.
Gosh times have changed. Why did I ever stop doing this. Now, we charge a few hundred dollars for writing a press release and send it out to a database. Not the same results might I add, but it seems that that is what most people are doing and getting away with.
Good PR people have the following qualitites:
As we watched on as Leonardo DiCaprio spruiked, "The way I look at it, their money was better off in my pocket," many of us couldn't believe that world existed quite like that. But it does. And it's right here on our doorstep too.
Australia and America have long been tied
Historically, Australian companies that have expanded into the US have benefited immensely from foreign exchange rates. After the initial shock of start up costs, companies see the silver lining of building businesses in the US and bringing US dollars back to Australian shores.
Here is what I had to say:
"Small businesses are the backbone of the Australian economy.
There are over two million small businesses in this country, which provide approximately seven million jobs and comprise up to 20 per cent of the national economy.
With a Federal election looming and a new Prime Minister to be appointed (or, in Kevin Rudd’s case, a returning Prime Minister), small business owners will be eagerly and nervously awaiting party platforms that impact them.
I understand the pressure and considerations of running a small business more than most. I founded my first business at age 25, and in 2004 established Marketing Eye, Australia’s leading marketing consultancy firm for small to medium businesses.
This got me thinking. What should go in a press kit (or media kit) in 2012?
Here are some things you should be considering;
The U-turn in Public Relations: Why the media has to change its ways.
The entire purpose of Public Relations is to communicate with the public, whether at a government, organisational or individual level. Therefore, it only makes sense that if we now all turn to our computers to talk to each other, then journalists and PR companies need to do the same.
If you mention the word ‘Twitter’ to a room of PR people, I’m sure it would generate a huge buzz of opinions. After all, it is one of the most fundamental changes in how media works today. Instead of sending out press releases, the publicist can now just send a tweet to a journalist through their twitter account with a link to a press release, landing page, video or social media experiment, and instantly have the journalists attention.
It's Sunday, and like most Australians, I am enjoying the day, relaxing, reading the papers and eating with friends and family.
Reading The Sunday Age is always a treat, especially when I get through the paper, start to finish. It is full of interesting stories on people, places and world affairs.
For some light reading, I often pick up the Sunday Life Magazine, and flick through. Having Gwyneth Paltrow on the cover helps, as I am a BIG fan of her acting, singing and sense of style.