I felt very little at the beginning of 2022.
There are exterior details I can’t really get into, but I had hit a wall of sorts with my work. Public Relations wasn’t dead, and the agency was and is fine, but it has always been eerily good at predicting economic downturns. And one was coming — it didn’t fully manifest until March or April, as the hangover effect of an economic panic began to set in around certain clients that began to get anxious about costs. It sucked, as it has always sucked, as it sucked in 2019, and then 2020. 2022 was different, though, because the only thing to blame it on really appeared to be “the market got drunk on capitalism,” with the stock market (and many startups) suddenly realizing that interest rates would not be zero forever, and that at some point your company would have to make money.
Thankfully, I had returned to writing in 2021 (and to a lesser extent 2020), and I truly believe it saved my life. In the Count of Monte Cristo, Abbe Farria puts it well — that one’s physical freedom can be taken away, but one’s mind and knowledge cannot be — and writing what will now amount to around 200,000 words in 2022, I feel like I found freedom both as a person and as a professional. While this is an incredibly masturbatory way of describing writing a newsletter or management stuff, for me writing has become a form of therapy — taking errant thoughts (and interpreting chaotic events) and giving them life, and purpose, and consideration.
I had also firmly attached my identity to being a “public relations” guy, something I’ve never enjoyed. I’ve written two books about PR — I’m not even going to link to them — and I never felt that much enthusiasm writing them because I have given up on my peers. While there may be a few good PR people, the industry still lacks the self-awareness to have any real fun or act like a real human being. PR people are often disliked because they spam, or they talk like their responses are generated by an AI, because they are afraid of “breaking character” and being a normal person.
It’s also a strange industry where you’re often considered “good” at your job for doing less of it. A good PR person is one who sends less emails, or interferes less with the process. Journalists respect PR people for not talking to them. One might say that this would leave PR people with more time to read or broaden their horizons — but instead PR people choose to continue to bother reporters with irrelevant pitches and then get up in arms when…