Is Proving Our Worth Paying Off?


The Great Recession has ravaged many organizations and many lives. Everybody knows people who have lost their jobs in the last year. Some reports say the job market is likely to be difficult for some time.

But something seems different about this recession. As I look around, I don’t see the wholesale slashing and burning of communication jobs that has occurred in previous downturns. At least, communication jobs don’t seem to be faring any worse than those of other professions.

One indicator that the suffering might not be as bad this time around is the fact that my friend Ned Lundquist has had no problem filling his weekly “Job of the Week” newsletter with openings in a variety of communication fields.

Please don’t misunderstand: I know many out-of-work communicators. I know a great number of companies, agencies and nonprofits have eliminated jobs in corporate communications, public relations and marketing — just as they have eliminated jobs in sales, finance, human resources, manufacturing and most other sectors.

I don’t want to downplay or minimize the pain many of my communication colleagues are experiencing. It is real.

However, I recall previous economic downturns in which it seemed some organizations cut their communication departments to the bare bones. For example, I remember when George Allen was governor of my home state of Virginia, he ruthlessly eliminated many public affairs positions. Clearly, communication was not one of his priorities.

I just wonder if we haven’t turned a significant corner in the life of our profession. Perhaps all the work in trying to prove our worth in the last 10 to 15 years is beginning to pay off. Maybe all the effort to align our work to the bottom line has been worth it.

Could it be that business leaders now realize they really can’t live without the value communication professionals add to their organizations? What’s your take?

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2 Responses

  1. I hope you’re right. But I have noticed — subjectively — that there don’t seem to be as many high-level positions on JOTW and other job boards as there used to be.

  2. Guess karma bit Ol’ George in the butt following his infamous and now legendary “Makaka” comment. Wonder how many communicators laughed in his face when he asked for their help – that is IF there were any around.

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