Best Career Advice I Ever Received: Dig the Well
I’ve received all sorts of career advice over the years ranging from customer service tips while working at a Burger King (“Make the customer feel important.”) and Xanterra Parks & Resorts (formerly TW Recreational Services: “If it’s good for the guest, do it.”) to technical pointers in using spreadsheets or cash registers. Key tips I learned from my late ex-husband (who worked for Xanterra) included., “A vacant room is the most perishable item in a hotel,” and “Keep on doing what you did to get you where you are.”
But, the most valuable piece of advice received was from public relations pro Mona Mesereau with Denver-based Mesereau Public Relations who managed (and continues to manage) the public relations account for Xanterra Parks & Resorts while I worked with the company more than a decade ago.
Mona’s savvy and authentic way of dealing with people always awed me. She was the opposite of my image of a PR pro, which wasn’t a nice one. She isn’t a spin doctor. “We don’t spin,” I recall her once saying. She is up-front, genuine, kind and tells it like it is.
These days, I’m always pleased seeing her media releases about the national parks and happy seeing her mentioned on travel writer message boards as a good PR pro. She sets the bar in the industry. I was in my twenties when I worked with Mona and when I thought about growing up, I wanted to be like her. She graciously shared her knowledge and a book she found valuable, Dig Your Well Before You’re Thirsty: The Only Networking Book You’ll Ever Need.
It’s been more than a decade since Mona gave me the book yet I keep it handy. Copies have been given to other women whom I thought it would help in their careers. In a nutshell the book is about making connections and nourishing them before the need to call in favors. Although a simple concept, it’s amazing how many people don’t dig their well. Myself included.
During these economic times people need to be digging their wells. Job security is uncertain and being handed a pink slip is not the time to be making connections. The time is now so get digging.