It’s been a remarkable past few weeks. In September I started my 5th year heading up WAV Group Communications. I can’t remember a time in my PR career over the last three decades when I worked so hard but had so much fun. I’ve enjoyed an exhilarating streak of success for my clients that have made the long hours well-worth those moments of drudge.
And my clients? Wow. I love all of them. I have a client list right now that’s the best of the best. They are great to work with, and I don’t mind working extra hard because they are all remarkably appreciative of what I do. They understand the value of Public Relations. They get it. And they know that what we do for them is not easily obtained elsewhere. Certainly not at the value level we provide.
I am blessed because I love what I do, and I do what I love. But not everyone can say that, can they?
A Life’s Goal
I wish my parents could have said that; that they loved what they did for a living. But they didn’t. Deep down, they couldn’t wait for retirement. There was too much about the jobs that they didn’t like.
I grew up in a lower-middle class family in Chicago with two working parents. In my most formative years, my dad worked in the hotel business as a night manager of the Westin on Michigan Ave, and my mom worked as a Credit Manager for Lou Lerner at Lerner Newspapers, the largest neighborhood chain in Chicagoland.
I used to walk with my mom to work, as it was on my way to school from our home in Rogers Park, the most Northeastern neighborhood in the City. We lived a block and a half from Howard Street Beach of Lake Michigan.
My most vivid memory of my dad’s job was him introducing me to Bob Hope, who just got out of a limo in front of his hotel in a Tux – full Top Hat and Tails. I was only five years old, but it’s a moment still seared in my mind as if it were yesterday.
You would think they would have loved what they did. I mean, they sound pretty cool, huh? Well, they loved parts of their jobs. But if you asked them this question: if you could retire tomorrow without a financial worry in the world, would you? You would have heard them both shout out simultaneously, “Yes!”
Now, what if you asked me the same question today, I would tell you unequivocally “NO, absolutely not!”
What if I asked you the same question today? What would your answer be?
There’s honestly something special, almost magical, about reaching that place in one’s career when your job becomes your hobby. My oldest son is a senior at the University of Washington, a Community Psychology major who works for me part-time during the school year and summers. I told him the title of what I was going to write about today, and he said, “Oh you mean you’re going to cover the adage, ‘Choose a job you love, and you’ll never have to work a day in your life?'” Exactly.
How do you get there? Sometimes it’s doing the opposite. I watched what my parents did, and I knew I did not want to do that. Instead, I have intentionally chosen to be happy in my career choices. I have taken happiness over money or prestige. When I have found myself in an unhappy situation with a client, I have found a way out. I unflinchingly believe that happiness needs to win. You need to surround yourself with the best people. Choose to work with the best team (thank you Marilyn and Victor and everyone else here) and pick only the best clients. What I have found is that if you do, you will obtain happiness, and those other, less important things like more money and greater prestige, well, they will in time follow.