Wednesday, October 08, 2003

It's in the Stars

Back in June or July, I started talking to Stephanie Armour (no relation to the hot dog empire, I asked) about age discrimination and reverse age discrimination. While it may sound like a whine, there is both types of discrimination, but it appears to be more acceptable to discriminate against younger people. Being younger, and not having a family to support, I was able to pull back from the job search and begin my own agency - and I realize that not many people have that luxury.

One of the points that I made to Ms. Armour was that I am not really that young - I'll be 32 on October 21, and am accepting gifts - but that I am 'cursed' by looking younger than I am. For awhile, I did think of dying my temples gray, and I grew facial hair which actually made me look younger. Hey, I'm not balding, and I have 3 gray hairs - two in my beard and one in my nose (don't ask). People have pegged me at anywhere from 21 to 26, which will be nice in a few years down the line. Yes, it's such a cross to bear.

Have I been discriminated against in the past because I look young - yes, information got back to me through the grapevine that while the ability to do the work and my experience were good fits, that the people were shocked at how unseasoned I look. Blah.

From that article, I did have a radio interview today with the PM drive time host of WSPD 1730 AM in Toledo, Ohio - Denny Schaffer. While I have done television and some television media training, this was the first time I ever did a radio interview, so was naturally nervous. But, Denny is another good ol' boy from Michigan (he's from Flint), so I let it go with the Michigander flow. We discussed the article, and I agreed with Denny that a lot of people are out of work, and noted that public relations itself took a nasty hit during this economy. Denny seems like a really nice guy, and the interview went really well.

One point that I forgot to mention is that large agencies - caution, big agency slamming - tend to cut senior people and their great experience for the much lesser salaries of junior people. Is there any wonder that boutiques are making a comeback? And, unfortunately, senior people seems to include any PR person with more than 5 years experience - cut them to free up salary and bring in two ACs is always the right answer.

So, one cool thing about this is that I'm part of the third most viewed story today, and fifth most emailed story...

Why does this all matter? Well, it is fun. But, someone I work with peripherally attacked me for doing the article, asking me if I thought it through. He had this attitude that it was a dumb move. On the contrary, I did think it through, I believed it is a valid story and thought that it might bring in some press. But, that really threw me for a loop - the person is an older business person, and made me rethink the story. Before doing the story, I spoke to a few colleagues in Los Angeles and San Francisco, and they agreed that it would not be a bad story to do.

So, had to double check with some PR people I work with, and some reporters. Hey, I'm a young agency, and I can't be too risky.

One mentors said that "I think it's an amazing coup, evidence of your superior skill as a PR practitioner."

Another mentor and advisor said that "Amazing. You really are a media wizard."

A local Arizona reporter whom I worked with in the past said it was a nice write-up for me, and congratuated.

Another reporter whose input I value highly said that what he got it from the article was that "you are someone who recognized there's a problem, understands that it could be construed as whining (you said that in the quote) and has dealt with the problem by starting your own business - sort of like, 'f**k you, you won't hire me, i'll go out and do it myself.'"

He added "plus, you're not that young ... i think by being 31, it shows that you have experience in the workforce and such."

The kicker was this week's horoscope from Rob Brezny's Freewill Astrology:

LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): "There is only one thing in the world worse than being talked about," wrote Libran Oscar Wilde, "and that is not being talked about." You won't have to worry about the latter problem in the next two weeks. The number of discussions about your character and behavior will probably exceed that of any other 14-day period in the past five years. Fortunately, the astrological indicators suggest that a relatively high percentage of the gossip flying around will be benevolent and even flattering. It will be a good time, therefore, for a marketing campaign or networking blitz.

That pretty much calmed my mind today - like it wasn't a busy day with client work and meetings, that I would need to have someone throw a monkey wrench at me and rattle me.

But, the stars say all will be good... plus hockey season started today, so all is good :-)
Post a Comment