Tag Archive: First-Person Plural


We all lost a great one today.

He was one of the most popular governors in the proud history of California.

George Deukmejian was much more than the 35th chief executive of the Golden State.

For Almost DailyBrett, a former cub reporter with a fascination of all things political … and a little hair at the time (see photo above), meeting and working for George Deukmejian changed my life.

Instead of taking and keeping an eternal vow of poverty as a reporter, your author was serving as the press director of the Deukmejian Campaign Committee at 27-years-very-young.

My salary was $18,000 annually, but quite frankly I would have worked for nada for the experience. My transformation from a registered Democrat to a proud Reaganite Republican began in 1982. More importantly, my three-decade-plus career in public relations ensued with the gubernatorial primary and general election campaigns; we almost lost both until we won.

Sacramento was a hostile place in 1983. The other party controlled literally everything with the exception of the corner office. We needed the “Iron Duke” more than ever.

Feb. 26, 1983: California Gov. and Mrs. Deukmejian, left, watch as Mrs. George Finlayson, wife of the British Consul General, curtsies before Queen Elizabeth II in a reception line at the Broadway Street Pier in San Diego. This photo was published in the Feb. 27, 1983 LA Times.

Our friendly adversaries in the Capitol Press Corps, who were not predisposed to our way of seeing the world, deep down respected “The Duke.” They would state that George Deukmejian was a little dull (his favorite color was … “gray”), but his team was well-organized. The Deukmejian administration spoke in one voice from the first day to the last day eight years later.

It was well known that others were offering their champions as press secretary when the job came open in 1987. There was little secret that I wanted the job, primarily based upon my institutional memory about everything and anything George Deukmejian.

The governor had faith in me, and gave a chance so many others would have denied me. For three years, I served as his spokesperson and a chief message developer. The first day became the next day. The first week became the second week. The first month …

Looking back on his years as governor, your author still remembers pushing the media horde back just to give him a glimpse of the horrifically damaged Cypress Structure the day after the October 17,1989 Loma Prieta Earthquake.

LOS ANGELES – JUNE 07: Governor George Deukmejian campaigns for George Bush on June 7, 1988 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Michael Grecco)

Each year after leaving the Office of the Governor in December 1989, George Deukmejian never missed sending a holiday card or a note now and then. When my first wife, Robin passed away, (he attended our wedding as governor), he called me to offer his condolences. That is the George Deukmejian I knew, kind and considerate right up to today … this sad, last day.

“We”, “Us”, “Our”

George Deukmejian always spoke in first-person plural, never wanting to draw undue attention to himself even though he was the chief executive of the largest state of the union. In a rare occasion in which he would employ the first-person singular, he once said: “my tear ducts are close to my eyes.”

His lifelong campaign was for public safety. He bravely called for California’s assault weapon ban when little Korean children were murdered by an AK-47 on a Stockton schoolyard. The NRA went crazy. What else is new?

The suffering endured by his ancestors in the 1915 Armenian Genocide always brought sad memories every April 24, and opposition to the Reagan administration’s stance on Turkey.

Many focus on his judicial appointments (yours truly wrote the vast majority of these news releases), his expansion of the state prison system, and his support for highways to get people to work … but seem to forget his lifelong dedication to human rights.

Then California Attorney George “Duke” Deukmejian and wonderful wife, Gloria at the Deukmejian for Governor headquarters opening in Manahattan Beach sirca 1982.

George Deukmejian was a committed fiscal-integrity, public-safety conservative. There were no flip-flops with the governor. He was at total peace with his philosophy.

And when the day was done, it was done. He went home to Gloria, his children, the noisy beagles and his one consistent vice, jamoca almond fudge.

Almost DailyBrett sensed this day was coming. My only regret is that I wished for the time and at least one more opportunity to be with him in these last years … just to say hello, and goodbye.

Your author will sign off with a tear from the ducts close to his eyes. He will make a promise to only use the first person plural. He will always remember the man who gave him a chance, when others would not.

George Deukmejian was the Governor, who changed my life.

http://www.latimes.com/politics/la-pol-sac-skelton-george-deukmejian-20180510-story.html

 

 

How many graduating university/college seniors in communications disciplines (i.e., public relations, marketing, investor relations, public affairs etc.) will utter the  worn-out cliché to hiring managers in the coming weeks and months: “I really work well with people”?

Gag!workwell

What precisely is the return-on-investment (ROI) for someone who allegedly works well with people?

How does one measure how effectively a candidate interacts with other humans?

Come to think of it if one was pursuing a career in anything and everything communications, wouldn’t working well with people be a given?

Tell me something – anything – that I don’t already know.

There are precisely 1.490 billion results when one Google’s, “I Really Work Well With People.” Surprised there are so few web instances devoted to this NOT thinking outside of the box phrase.

Almost DailyBrett will declare now, and will say it forever:

Telling a hiring manager you work well with people: 1.) Makes the hiring manager roll her or his eyes; 2.) Brings into question whether you have any creativity; 3.) Does not differentiate you from your tenacious competition for the legal tender; and 4.) Makes one wonder whether your brain has flat-lined.workwell1

Strong opinion to follow.

Tell Me/Us About Yourself?

At this point in the interview process, the hiring manager is transitioning from the requisite small talk to getting serious.

The above question, which surely will follow with “Why do you want to work for us?” is more than an ice-breaker. It is an opportunity for a candidate to systematically demonstrate ROI based upon experience, results, digital and analog skill sets and education.

Think of it this way: A dollar is a friend (same applies for pounds, euros, yen …).

An agency, corporation, non-profit, governmental agency has to spend a certain amount “friends” in the form of income statement SG&A salary, benefits, time-off and maybe even stock options to hire you as opposed to someone else or no one at all.

Why should they make this investment in your particular personality, talents and skills? Aren’t your type a dime a dozen?

Instead of the throw-away line about working well with people, how about talking about how you collaborate in teams and what you and your teammates accomplished? Everything should be first-person plural: We, Us and Our.

Teaching digitally oriented public relations, advertising, integrated marketing communications (IMC), blogging/social media, corporate communications and investor relations now at Central Washington University and before at the University of Oregon, our students were always required to work together as teams to reach assigned goals for their clients.

This experiential learning approach does not require each student to love or be loved by their teammates, which is asking too much. Instead, a hands-on collaborator needs to respect and be respected, which is the essence of being a good team player.

Instead of tired verbal Pablum, how about demonstrating with concrete examples how you teamed/collaborated with others to cure cancer, climb Mt. Everest, achieve world peace and break political gridlock in Washington, D.C.?

The candidate with real-time results, which can be quantified and verified, and who didn’t take all the credit but collaborated effectively with others, has a better chance – a much better opportunity – of being hired.

The Stark Difference Between Anxious and Interested

Let’s be generous for a second:

In most cases, the candidate who feels compelled to blurt out how well he or she works well with people (or others … a distinction without a difference) runs the real risk of coming across as hungry and anxious.workwell2

Hiring managers are not welfare agencies. They are not there to feed the hungry or heal the sick. They are there to recruit the best and the brightest to solve problems and perform miracles.

Some candidates feel compelled to incorporate “objectives” right at the top of their resumes, declaring they are seeking a position in a given field.

Well, duh!

Didn’t you already make that point in your cover letter?

The smart applicants start with a “profile,” detailing their individual value, accomplishments and what she or he is bringing to the party. These wise contenders immediately demonstrate through concrete examples their ROI.

They also speak in the language of the company, the agency, the non-profit, and the public sector agency.

Instead of “you know,” “you guys,” “me and my team,’ and Almost DailyBrett’s favorite, “stuff,” the prepared applicant talks about driving the top and bottom lines, fiduciary and corporate social responsibility, and enhancing SEO and SEM.

In short, they speak the language and signal it will not take long to become totally fluent in whatever serves as the Raison d’ etat for the entity doing the hiring.

Yes, the wise candidate understands very clearly how the hiring manager’s company makes money, which even applies to non-profits.

As you will note, this is not the first time your author has written about this subject. Just like cock roaches this offending phrase instead of going away is actually multiplying.

It’s time … not it’s past time … deep-six this horrific, “I really work well with people,” before another hiring manager has to excuse herself or himself from the table.

https://www.google.com/?gws_rd=ssl#q=I+Really+Work+Well+with+People

https://www.livecareer.com/interview-questions/how-well-you-work-people-you-prefer-working-alone

http://jobsearch.about.com/od/interview-you/qt/working-with-people.htm

http://www.forbes.com/sites/jacquelynsmith/2013/11/15/the-20-people-skills-you-need-to-succeed-at-work/#74d85a6264b5

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2015/07/18/online-college-not-good-enough-for-pr/

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2014/06/08/i-really-work-well-with-people/

 

 

 

Did I hear this right?

A devoted wife was essentially ordered by her narcissistic husband to deliver via c-section (e.g., major surgery) her baby four days early in order for the offspring to be born on the birthday of one, Jim Morrison.

jimmorrison

 

The presumed thought-process of the selfish father: “My daughter will forever share her birthday with ‘Mr. Mojo Risin.’” The emphasis is on the first-person singular: “My.”

The mother-to-be was not pleased, but ultimately relented. The  Boomer family’s male OB/GYN thought the idea was really cool.

The baby fortunately was born relatively healthy and happy. Most of all, the narcissistic father of the “Me Generation” through a raw exercise of personal power, and a selfish disregard for the opinions of others, attained what he wanted: A December 8 c-section/birth.

If the baby had been born as scheduled four days later (December 12), she would have shared a birthday with “Old Blue Eyes,” Frank Sinatra. Enough said.

Back to the Jim Morrison birthday c-section: What was the purpose of this trivial and potentially dangerous procedure to the health of the mother and the daughter? One and only person was personally delighted, but in the long run will he ever be totally satisfied? The unrealistic demands will just keep on coming. And most likely there will be no reciprocation offered in any way, shape or form.

morrisongrave

Maybe the mother and daughter will be required to make a pilgrimage to Morrison’s final resting spot? Springtime in Paris?

As it turns out, the youngest daughter also has the same birthday as Kim Basinger, Sammy Davis Jr. and Ann Coulter.

One can only imagine, if Mr. Y-chromosome demanded the c-section be performed on Mick Jagger’s birthday, eight months later on July 26. Wouldn’t it be easier to hold out until December 18  to accommodate Keith Richards’ birthday?

Scar of caesarean section

The real question that comes to mind: What kind of husband demands that his wife hurry up or delay a C-section in order to accommodate the birthday of a rock legend?

“Men Need Better PR”

Walking the halls of the Office of the Governor in Sacramento back in the days when it was “Morning in America,” I was confronted out of the blue by our scheduling secretary.

She was not upset with the author of Almost DailyBrett per se, she was having difficulties with the testosterone-laden gender and needed to unload her frustration.

One could surmise that her anger was compounded by the presence of obsessed males of the Baby Boomer or Me Generation.

Without any further ado, she stated ex-cathedra that men needed better PR. She offered no rationalization, just assuming I would instinctively understand her thought process. Having got this matter off her chest (no double entendre intimated here), she proceeded on with her business.

Even though this exchange was a mere nano-second of my life, I always remember this gender-specific  pronouncement and in many ways one has to concur. Yes, the most important public relations are personal public relations.

Ubiquitous Narcissism

Even though the author of Almost DailyBrett has never taken a psychology course, and most likely never will, he does detect greater societal attention to the subject of Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD). This affliction touches both genders, but for this discussion let’s just focus on “Mr. Light My Fire.”

narcissus

Does this mean NPD is ever-present with male Me-oriented Baby Boomers born after World War II or from 1946-1964? Let’s leave that question to those with a higher pay grade.

Back to the question of a mother, a c-section, a daughter, Jim Morrison and a NPD father, clinical psychologist Dr. Craig Malkin identified some of the characteristics of rampant narcissism. Three immediately jump out at you:

1.) Idol worship (e.g., the lead singer of the Doors)

2.) A high need for (ultimate) control

3.) A lack of empathy

There is also a  fourth characteristic that comes into play: The NPD-type will take immediate and long-standing umbrage to anyone and everyone who points out even the most-minute human frailty.

Let’s not forget that Baby Boomers and the X-Gens that followed through the fruit of wombs and issues of loins gave birth to the Millennials, born after 1980. Some have praised them for being civic-minded and others have derided them for generation-wide narcissistic behavior.

Having worked in both politics and big business, the ones that emerge to the top in these tough professions have a highly inflated opinions of themselves, the majority of whom are men. And yet not all of them display all of the symptoms of NPD.

The best of them (and I was fortunate to work for two of them) certainly had the obligatory ego to withstand the inevitable slings and arrows that comes from being at the top. What was most impressive was they insisted on eschewing the first-person singular: The “I,” the “Me” and the “Myself.” This song was not about them.

Instead, they mandated that all communications whether verbal or written, regardless of the technology, utilize the first-person plural: “We, Us and Our.” Yep, we were a team with a leader who was part of the team. This approach is healthy.

Without expressly stating it, they were also calling for the adherence to “The Golden Rule,” essentially treating others the way one would want to be treated.

Thinking back to NPD Mr. Jim Morrison Birthday C-Section, there is no first-person plural even though we are discussing what was once a complete nuclear family, and certainly no concept of The Golden Rule.

Instead, there was only “Me, Myself and I,” and Jim Morrison too.

Almost DailyBrett Note: The above story is true. Specific details including the particular rock icon and corresponding birth date have been changed to protect family privacy.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jim_Morrison

https://www.thedoors.com/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Narcissistic_personality_disorder

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Me_generation

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caesarean_section

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Obstetrics_and_gynaecology

http://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2012/05/millennials-the-greatest-generation-or-the-most-narcissistic/256638/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Golden_Rule

 

 

 

 

 

 

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