Specializing in social marketing and business communications training

10 signs PR pros should consider retiring

Seasoned PR pros are pretty damn astute. At least, I’d like to think so. Remember the adage, “Don’t forget where you came from”?

Before you take a peek at the balance in your 401(k), read on.  

Here are 10 signs that retirement may be closer than you think. 

1. Everyone you’ve interacted with this week is named Chad, Preston, Kaileigh, or Amanda. (“Susan” is a dead giveaway that I’m amongst the seasoned). 

2. When asked how long you’ve been in the field, you have to pinch yourself. Then you begin to mumble. 

3. You remember planning press conferences when reporters actually showed up.

4. The only web you recall as a child is the book, Charlotte’s Web. How could you forget? You nailed an “A” on your 4th grade book report.  

5. You cherish the memory of not having a cell phone, and still being able to get the job done. 

6. You took a typing class in high school that was missing one thing: guys. 

7. When you called a newsroom to pitch stories, they were staffed by 12 full-time people, four weekend reporters, and a sports department that worked around-the-clock.  

8. To blast out your press releases, you used WinFax Pro.   

9. When you drove to a client meeting, you jotted down the odometer readings from your dashboard so you could get reimbursed for travel. No Mapquest or GPS. And the only time you mentioned “Google” was when you were entertaining your 3-year old nephew.  Who knew?

10. Viral meant you needed to go home and get plenty of bed rest. 

Care to add to the list? Feel free; I’ll be sitting on the front porch of the PR Retirement Home with Uncle Joe from the Shady Rest at Petticoat Junction.  Got ya.

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  1. Twitter was for the birds.

    There was only 1 kind of mail.

    Spam was edible.

  2. You still think social media is a fad and ask, “Why do I want to know what someone had for breakfast?”

  3. Patricia Pickett, APR says:

    A “meet up” was for a sundae at the drug store, a flash mob was best avoided (and probably included a guy in black socks and a rain coat) … and i was a morning news anchor in RADIO who relied on the AP wire machine and the police scanner for breaking news! Thanks for the Friday trip in the Wayback Machine, Sherman! :)

    • These are fabulous! I also recall finding breaking news by way of police scanners and the AP wire.
      Thanks for reading, and sharing a good laugh!
      Best regards,

  4. Estee woods says:

    Don’t forget typing your docs in DOS and saving to floppy discs!

  5. 11. You know what a Rolodex is, and envied the overstuffed one of that grizzled media relations bigfoot down the hall.

    12. You ever had to rent a bag phone to work an event out of town.

  6. 13. You not only know what a type writer is, you can remember how to change the ribbon.

    14. If sending a press release in your day involved licking a stamp and walking to your mail box. Although it involves the send key for most, I wonder if the snail mail would actually be so nostalgic to a city desk editor that should consider retiring, that they may actually open and read it.

    Oh wait…if the city desk editor is named Chad, Preston, Kaileigh, or Amanda, they may not know what it is and it may not be opened until it is too late.

    15. If you know that you should address the snail mail press release to the actual editor that could approve the release, using their personal name because….

    16. If you are more adept at using blackberries on your cereal for breakfast and not with breakfast and you do not have the personal email or phone number of the city desk editor named Chad, Preston, Kaileigh, or Amanda in your Blackberry or Smart Phone.

  7. Ah. These are great. I remember the days you actually spoke to reporters on the phone and faxed press releases to the newsrooms. A year or so ago I took a client of mine on a press tour (yea, a real press tour) to WSJ, TIME, C/Net and a couple of other outlets on the east and west coasts. The reporters were actually excited we came out to see them. I don’t think anyone does press tours anymore. :)

  8. Messages were handwritten on pink slips of phone messaging paper…press releases were couriered to clients for review and final sign off…faxing was considered expensive…printers required a cover aka “cone of silence” to reduce sound…WordStar was the word processing application…press kits took several hours to copy and assemble…photos could be submitted to AP photo wire via a hard copy print…when you left the office it didn’t follow you home. This knowledge does not make you a has-been, in fact, it gives you a rich experience-base that a Kaileigh, Kayla or Chad could never understand nor appreciate. No, this is not a ticket to retirement…it is a ticket to wisdom. Besides most of the Susan’s, Tom’s and Sid’s lost their retirement or homes in the big 2008 bust and have to work well into their “typical” retirement years to recover. This knowledge is actually a battle cry for a renewed and refreshed career that will be bigger and better than before!!

  9. H. James Hulton III says:

    Who can afford to retire these days? Any mature and seasoned PR pro, and other seasoned execs, know that retiring is a thing of the past. Things are so expensive these days, us seasoned types even have to continue to work to afford our lifestyes. Too many 401Ks and IRAs have taken big hits in the last ten years, so who has money to retire? Surely anyone suggesting that seaoned PR pros, or anyone else, retire is jesting!

  10. Debbie Linck says:

    Releases about an individual included an actual photograph, printed on photo stock of all things. And a Media Kit – forget about it! What’s that!


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