Sunday, May 1, 2011

Managing Hats

While most of America had alarms set for the wee hours of the morning to watch the Royal Wedding, I proactively decided I would YouTube the footage much later in the day when I was awake enough to not confuse any of the guests for peacocks or swans.  I want to be at my absolute best before I start making fun of the Kentucky Derby style wedding hats.  I’m pretty sure a few of them winked at Kate as she walked by.

All joking aside, my attention was slightly more focused on Saturday’s White House Correspondence dinner.  With all of this “long-form birth certificate” drama, I was sure it would be mentioned at least several times by Seth Meyers, comedian on duty to roast Washington’s finest.  I never imaged the extent President Obama would go into playing along with the nonsense.  Check out this video played before President Obama’s speech; please pay attention to the first minute of the video:

OK, where do I begin?  From the pounding birth certificate to the Tron and Hulk Hogan shots, it certainly wasn’t what I was expecting.  What started off as a few jokes about Donal Trump turned into a total Trump roast.  Even Seth Meyers spent a lot of time knocking down Donald and his mysteriously fashioned frock.

When I was watching the video, I kept thinking to myself, “How did I accidentally click on the wrong YouTube video.”  I’m still in shock they put a video collage together of things that are stereotypically American.  I can’t decide how I feel about it.  A part of me is laughing thinking it looks like something that could have come out of the offices of South Park, and another part of me is thinking, “Oh, come on now, be nice.”  It was with this internal conflict that I realized something.  The roles politicians have to play have totally changed.  Politicians have to balance their roles as policy makers and public figures.  I think helping control and maintain an image of a politician would be excruciatingly difficult.  You are constantly asking yourself, “What image does this action serve and will it hurt others images that we want to portray.”  Some of the hat’s these politicians have to wear are about as crazy as Kate and Williams’s wedding party hats.

The media has taught me a lot about what I want to do and what I don’t want to do as a PR professional.  With the new roles necessary of public officials in place, I know helping control those images would be tough!  I’m not sure if I would have been confident enough to give that video and some of those jokes the green light.

What I Learned From The Crooks And The Cheats!

I have always thought of myself as a pretty ethical person.  The decision to not cheat on a test isn’t one I have to think about for very long. For me, ethics has always meant doing what makes the most sense.  If someone acts ethically, he or she is also acting out of common sense. Before my ethics class started, I was very aware of the people in this world who don’t have any sort of internal ethics. When looking at different case studies, to me, it’s extremely clear to see if someone is acting ethically or not.  Unfortunately, many people in this world are crooks who don’t possess any sort of moral compass.  I’m not sure if I would consider this an ‘oh wow” moment but it certainly is depressing.  This ethics class discussed case, after case, after case, of people being idiots. I’m not going to lie, the existence of some of these idiots has made the job of a public relations professional pretty interesting and, at times, exciting.  Cleaning up people’s mess is simply the nature of the beast, but someone’s got to do it.  What I got out of talking about all these cheaters and crooks was anyone could be one.

Without a doubt, I’m going to walk away from this class with a different perspective of the leadership I work under in the professional world.  Just because someone is my boss doesn’t mean he or she knows how to act ethically. The issue that I have to tackle with as I start my professional career is to not be so trusting.  I say that I have a lot of personal ethics and can see what is right or wrong easily, however, if my boss is telling me to do something, it’s hard for me to even consider it as unethical.  I justify it by saying to myself, “Why would someone ask me to do something unethical?” 

This class has helped me put things into perspective and encourage me to use my own personal ethics rather than trusting in the ethics of my superiors.