December 29, 2009

18 reflections after 18 months away from PR

Last year, when I elected to leave Edelman (where I served for six fiscal years, most recently as its North Asia President), it was time to come home to my native Canada and reconnect with friends and family after 13 years overseas.

I wasn’t sure whether I would ever return to the public relations business. Even with the exciting advent of social media and a plethora of stimulating industry sectors and consulting services from which to choose, PR can sometimes be a simple and repetitive occupation. I was feeling the need to hit the career ‘pause button’ and take stock of whether there’s enough meaning and fulfillment in the business where I’ve built a two decade career.

Early in 2010, I will be starting my next international PR adventure. I’ve been fortunate to build businesses living in four countries during the past two decades, but before we ship out for the fifth and hopefully foremost experience, I want to share some reflections after this, the third year-plus sabbatical of my career: 18 reflections after 18 months away from PR

  1. This is just to say to you that I wish you a prosperous, healthy and happy new year. from Mark/Seoul *^0^*

  2. Thanks for this very thoughtful post, Bob. You’ve reminded me of many reasons why I love working in PR…and of a few that make me, on occasion, want to leave it. I think it’s true that the role of the typical communicator, given the rise of social media and dramatic changes in advertising, is getting more complex, and more interesting as we enter 2010. (More reasons here But, as one who has spent substantial time in North America as well as outside of it, your perspective is valuable.
    It seems to me that #3 – “big-brain” consulting appetite, but with a commodity-sized budget – is among our largest challenges for the future. Yet, profits do tend to follow quality, at whatever level.

  3. Bob – thanks for following me. I love your 18 reflections — here’s hoping we all can embrace them and improve our profession.


  4. Hi Bob,

    I couldn’t agree more with your 18 reflections – incredibly insightful and they deserve a broad audience.

    Best of luck with future ventures.


  5. Brilliant, Bob, thanks.

    All important points but what stands out to me are your ideas about:

    -hitting the career pause button / going on a career sabbatical (if not stopping completely then atleast slowing up a bit/enough), and

    -the bit about driving more science into the art toward the goal of more insight-driven communications.

    Good luck with the next leg of your journey.


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