March 5, 2010
When I was a print journalist, the exhilaration of landing a front-page story or scooping a competing newspaper was my daily buzz. You were never absolutely sure that you had won the day’s battle until you ran down to the convenience store and bought the first editions of the local newspapers.
By quickly flipping through the pages, you instantly knew if you had won or lost. You also knew that you had a few hours to enjoy any success. You could see where the story might go during the day that was just beginning. Soon, it would be time to start reporting again.
So how do we experience such exhilarating moments as PR professionals these days?
Some folks are addicted to industry awards. Others love to see their name in the trade press, detailing how they won the big RFP or recapping how they handled the crisis.
Instant gratification can still be achieved, including through the first-day impressions garnered by the product launch or the appearance of that top-tier feature story that took three months to land. Many ex-journalists find professional satisfaction in these outcomes.
For me, the backslapping “job well done” feeling as a daily reporter now only comes in the form of a phone call, e-mail or conversation with a happy client or boss.
Is it embarrassing to admit that you like to hear a heartfelt compliment or a sincere thank you when it’s deserved? Perhaps, but I bet that many of you would.
Praise has been hard to come by lately. After a tough year working harder than ever in a business where outcomes are often intentionally murky, it’s exhilarating to hear that you have exceeded the expectations of someone who has been in the trenches with you.
If you did not experience that feeling as much as you would have liked in 2009, then allow me to offer four paths for those in search of more praise this year:
After a year in which compliments (verbal or financial) were hard to come by and a constant state of anxiety made the positives hard to spot, it makes sense to reset expectations about what constitutes “winning” and the exhilaration of a job well done. Success, whether we like it or not, is now measured in minutes.
The thrill is not gone. It just arrives differently.