‘So, Why’d You Do It?’
A Team Blog Post by Ben Mitchell
‘So, Why’d You Do It?’
If I had a pound for every time I’ve faced that familiar refrain since calling time on a 20-year media career, well… I’d be writing this in Aruba by now.
But I spent hundreds of hours of that very same career banging on about consistent, honest communications so it’s about time I did some of my own!
In truth, to properly articulate why I performed my own post-Covid pivot back in the dog days of 2021 would probably fill the pages of several blogs and nobody wants that. Mid-career doldrums? Check. An unbearable itch for new adventures? Check. Professional disillusionment? Check. Rubbish pandemic? Check. The disbanding of brilliant teams? Check. A yearning for more financial & professional independence? Urge to get back to basics? Check. Early mid-life fidgets? Check, check and DOUBLE-check.
If we’re all honest, most of us will only have a handful of opportunities in our professional lives to do something different. Even less of those will come along amid a perfect storm of inclination and application. I’m forever grateful to the Very Good People at VMA GROUP for giving me a whirl.
Before joining last autumn, I’d spent 20 years in journalism, media relations & corporate comms. In that time, I remember helping to report terrorist attacks and anti-war marches. I remember operating a studio camera – badly - on a live new year’s day broadcast because we were short-staffed. I recall recessions and redundancies, hyper-growth and financial freefall, many wonderful colleagues and a few fruity adversaries. A carousel of rebrands, restructuring programmes, financial results and change – always change. I remember marshalling my troops through a merger and a pandemic. At the same time. And advice dispensed, some with impact and plenty ignored.
“You’re never too important to be nice to people." That’s what one of my first bosses told me many moons ago. Her words stuck so well I now hear myself drumming the same mantra into my daughters. But right she certainly was.
And so, as I’ve navigated the first year of my own career reboot, it’s been refreshingly familiar to see that the other touchstones I’ve always fiercely believed in are just as fundamental to success in my new profession. Collaboration. Communication. Empathy. Respect. And a sense of humour. They trump it all. Without those, I believe we all fall on our face.
What is also enduringly familiar is the challenges facing both industries right now. Cyclical change comes with the territory, of course, and comms pros and recruiters are usually preternaturally well-equipped to roll with the breaks and handle both crisis & success as the two imposters they really are.
It’s been especially rewarding over the last few months to be able to share some of those two decades of experience with fellow practitioners, both those of a similar vintage and others building a career, as has the chance to re-engage with the industry I still love in areas I never thought I’d reach.
Best of all, it is genuinely a privilege to work with so many clever & talented people, many of whom are hellbent on trying to make the world a better place. Amid new introductions and old acquaintances rekindled, the opportunity to build sustainable, long-term relationships once again and play a small role in helping some of those achieve their vocational goals success has been an unadulterated joy.
So what can Ben 2.0 promise? Integrity, honesty, empathy, japes and plenty of elbow grease… the same old me. Either way, it’s great to be here.
Happy New Year. Looking forward to working with you in 2023 & beyond.
VMA GROUP is a leading international interim, contract, temporary and permanent recruitment and executive search specialist. We are specifically focused on providing support to the communications, marketing, digital and change communities.
Our specialist practice areas cover: communications, corporate communications, internal communications, change communications, PR, media relations, financial communications, CSR, public affairs, investor relations, marketing, brand, digital marketing and agency services.
We have a reputation for providing expert consultancy services and advice, supported by in-depth knowledge of the professions we recruit for. Our thought leadership and benchmarking studies have become go-to resources for the communications, marketing, digital and change industries, supporting planning and decision-making for organisations of all shapes and sizes.
In the UK, VMA GROUP has offices in London, Bristol and Manchester and in Europe, VMA GROUP has offices in Amsterdam and Brussels, but we work with organisations and individuals on a global basis.
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