Q: I just got promoted to a new position at the PR firm where I have been working for three years. In my former professional life, I was a pediatric oncology nurse for seven years. I wanted a change and a friend encouraged me to go into healthcare PR. It seemed like a really good fit because I had helped out the hospital with special fund-raising and educational events, and have always been a good writer.
This is my second job title change since I have been with the firm, and it is my first major jump up the ladder.
But as soon as my new business cards were printed, I got headhunted by another firm. Honestly, I wasn't looking for a job, but this new opportunity is really intriguing and the salary is higher than my current one.
I would love to accept the job, but I'm hesitant to do so because I really lobbied for my promotion. Do I owe it to my current employer to stick it out?
Mr. A, Minneapolis
A: How touching that you feel the moral compulsion to even ask me this question. Many wouldn't even think twice about accepting an exciting new opportunity, even if it meant disappointing their current employer. But you must think about yourself right now. I am not totally convinced you really want this new position. Ask yourself this: All things being equal - salary, benefits, job title - which is the job you would rather have?
If you are sure that you'd like to take on the new job, there is nothing to stop you. It is admirable that you feel a sense of responsibility towards your employer. But you did not actively campaign for the new title by sending out your resume. You were headhunted and thus have no reason to apologize for seizing a terrific opportunity for yourself.
Q: Our small tech firm lost a lot of accounts last year. As a result, we have all been given a new mandate to bring in new business and grow accounts with existing clients. I really like prospecting for new accounts because it's a lot like pitching a story to the media. You get to think about creative ways to get the attention of your target, and if you can even get a meeting with someone you have accomplished a lot.
The problem is, I hate how we are being forced to try and beef up business from our current clients. Many of them have been forced to have their own internal PR layoffs and their budgets are stretched already. I feel like an idiot trying to push some new measurement tool on them or get them to do another media tour that they don't need, just so I can increase the amount of money they give us every month. It also makes my relationship with the client pretty uncomfortable. I mean, aren't they supposed to trust me as an advisor? How can they if I'm trying to sell them stuff they don't need?
Ms. D, Denver
A: You should never try to sell your existing clients services they don't need. That is an easy way to lose the client altogether. I am not convinced that your boss wants you to do this either - perhaps you are not understanding the object here.
You need to have a comprehensive understanding of your client's goals and a plan for how to meet them. There may be opportunities you have not explored in reaching those goals and those ideas should be shared with your client. You also need to prove to your boss that you have a thorough grasp of your client's needs to convince him or her that you are advising your clients in the most effective way possible, for both them and your agency.
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