Do You Act Professionally?

I like to think the best of people until they give me a reason not to. I’ve seen bad client relations, bad journo-relations, bad motivation in building or executing strategies…frankly I’ve heard (or seen) some weird stuff.

I like to think we get beyond that here at PRBC.  We don’t use this as a platform for self-promotion (at least not directly – everyone likes to show off their smarts and/or ideas, but you don’t see us looking for speaking gigs or clients), we’re open to many different kinds of opinions and writing styles, and generally try to share the “wealth” – if we can get someone into a conference so they can cover it for the blog, and at the same time give that conference a little ink, and the professional a little bit of professional development, it’s been a good day.

However, it’s been a disappointing “day.”  Some of you may recall, a few months back, we put out a call for folks to cover conferences in regions where we don’t have regular writers and for some other roles.  I collected the names and we’ve been able to dole out some book reviews and the like and are still looking to match some folks up with appropriate assignments.

One person (perhaps our first) to take on covering a conference on our behalf has successfully lived up to the worst of what our journo friends have come to expect of us.

Long story short – In late November we received a note re: a social media conference in her area.  I dropped the organizer a note to see if we could arrange for press passes (essentially free admission and usually some other perks).  Oddly enough the email address was a “blind” address, but I was pleasantly surprised when I discovered it was an acquaintance running the show.  They made the arrangements and so it was that 60 minutes asking if I could get her press passes this person had the appropriate discount code in her email box for the an event the following week.

Three weeks later – I dropped the (as-of-yet-to-write-anything) writer a note asking how the conference went?  Silence.

Three weeks after that (it was the holidays after all – 6 weeks total) – I drop another note, checking in – nothing.

Ten days later – another note.  Still nothing back.

So after nearly 2 months of simply not getting a response, I decide to check this person’s Facebook profile.  I assumed of course it would be private (it wasn’t), and thought perhaps they had gotten sick or otherwise were having problems.

There were ample discussions of her island vacation plans.

And this little gem –

I’ve decided that 99.999999999999% of the world’s population is either a) remarkably stupid and/or b) inexplicably lazy.

Apparently I’m the first and she’s the second.

Last week I dropped her yet another note, just checking in.

The moral of the story – Our industry is pretty small. The number of times I’ve run into folks or been asked about people is a bit…crazy. Is this the kind of impression you want to leave with people who could be in a position to refer you business, or at the very least speak of (highly or not so highly) of you in some manner.

It’s worth noting, we don’t usually take our own “out for a walk” in this manner, but the gall this particular person demonstrated – to not even reply to multiple emails (even to say, if it were the case, that there wasn’t enough worth covering, they don’t have the time, or simply that they’re too busy) really merits a close examination of how we want to be perceived by our peers in this business.

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  • Anonymous

    That’s unfortunate. People. like that, are what give our industry a bad wrap. We are all super busy, but simply don’t take on more than you can handle. Or if you find that you have taken on more than you can handle, give ample notice. Be considerate, shoot off a few emails and try to make the situation right.  

    Also on an unrelated note, if you ever need someone to do a book review or cover a conference for this blog, I’d be happy to help out.

  • That is a disappointing story to here, especially considering how hard most of us are working to revise the PR professional image in the face of so many scandals and examples of laziness. I hope that students can read this and extract a moral lesson that it is important to work at honoring your commitments.

    • Hey John – 

      Thanks for reading and you’re definitely right re: the students.  Then again they’ve also got that LinkedIn problem I posted about a few weeks back (with the animation).  Oy!

  • It blows my mind that there are people out there that act like this – perhaps is a misguided sense of entitlement or, more likely based on her Facebook post, narcissism. You get what you give in this industry – and in life.

    Good for you for posting this story. Maybe it will dissuade others from being as unprofessional as she clearly is. Would love to hear if she reads this!

    • Heya Paige –

      I’m guessing not (at least not yet).  Just checked her FB profile – still public.  Even if I was embarrassed to reply at this point at least that would be turned private uber quickly.

      Cheers (and nice blog 🙂 )!!

  • Kaneesha Martin

    So unfortunate on her part but thank you for writing this article.

    • Hey Kaneesha – My (unfortunate) pleasure.  It really is a bit irksome but hopefully some other folks can learn from this person’s missteps.

  • Mikelle Liette

    This is definitely a good reminder to me. I have been told over and over throughout my college career, don’t burn bridges. This is so true and I have learned to take each opportunity that I have to make a connection and once a connection is made, never let it go. You just never know when you might run into that person again, and need something from them! Thank you for the great reminder!

    • Hey Mikelle –

      My pleasure – at any stage of your career you’ve gotta be careful who you annoy and when you do so make sure it’s intentional and well worth it.

      Thanks for reading!