Your Career and You: “Hard Work = Recognition Earned”

Frustrated StudentAbout this time every semester, I start getting fearful emails from students who, not having scored the “A” grades that they expected for having come to class, want to know ”what else” they can do to get what they feel is their rightful reward for showing up.

I write about this pretty often. And it’s not just in academic settings where this attitude can be found. My wife mentions it frequently in regards to some…not all…just like I’m not talking about every student…of her co-workers.

I look back on my own spotty career both in college (we studied by candlelight, in case you’re wondering) and as a public relations professional and can assure you…recognition doesn’t just fall off trees.

I’m the English major who got an “F” on his 11th grade report card…in English! Huh?!? I had gone to school every day and was awake in every class.

It was a wake-up call from my teacher who knew my capabilities, saw that I was coasting, and fired a warning shot across my bow. Got my attention!

I’m also the Public Affairs Intern who, having worked his rear end off learning and producing during that internship, was given a choice first assignment as Public Affairs Officer for the U.S. Army Intelligence School at Fort Devens, Mass., while other colleagues who “did what was required” went off to entry-level assignments and…eventually…worked their way up the ladder.

Bottom line here? Show me you care. Show me you want to succeed. Show me you’re invested in your future.


Because when I see you trying…when I see you giving 110 percent…I will do everything in my power to help you go even further.

But if I see you skating along (checking your phone every three minutes in class to see if Simon Cowell has called you to appear on “American Idol,” for example), I won’t. Purely and simply.

We’re heading into Spring Break at Curry College, where I oversee the Communication Department’s undergraduate Public Relations Concentration and teach most of the PR courses, and at Regis College, where I teach in the graduate Organizational and Professional Communication area. Expectations are high…as are anxiety levels.

But all’s not lost. There’s always room for improvement…and time to show you care. All you have to do is:

  • STOP – Doing the things you’ve been doing that are interfering with your ability to succeed
  • LOOK – At ways to show that you really care and want to succeed
  • LISTEN – To others’ advice on how to get ahead and to succeed

There is light at the end of the proverbial tunnel, and you will be recognized…if you put forth the effort and show others you are committed to doing the best you possibly can.

“By the work one knows the workman.” – Jean de La Fontaine, “Fables,” bk. 1, fable 21 [1668]


About kirkhazlett

35+ years' federal government and nonprofit organization PR experience followed by more than 20 years' undergraduate and graduate college teaching experience. Community and media relations expertise, as well as a fanaticism for quality service and customer satisfaction. PR for healthcare and member services organizations ranging from Blood Bank of Hawaii to Medical Area Service Corporation to Boston Harborfest. Consulting services for Manila and Singapore Red Cross.
This entry was posted in careers, Communication, Curry College, Graduate Communication, public affairs, public relations, Regis College. Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to Your Career and You: “Hard Work = Recognition Earned”

  1. Mike Venuto says:

    Never forget my first PR experience with Ruder and Finn, Inc in NYC…it was the pr for the first Japanese Trade Ship to the US the “Sakuru Maru”… I handled all the pr including the press conference and had to make sure all the issues were covered. : ) I thought about this reading your piece about going to the professor after the grading period was over… not sure what my grade was with the Japan Trade Center? Hopefully it was passable…thanks.


    • kirkhazlett says:

      My “trial by fire” was production of the newspaper for the Army ROTC summer camp at Ft. Lewis, Washington, in 1978. Didn’t listen to my assistant…who had been there the previous summer.

      Spelled the commanding general’s name wrong…got an “up-close-and-personal” visit from the general himself to show me his nametag so that I wouldn’t forget next time. The good news is…there was a next time! 🙂

      Thanks for reading and commenting, Mike!


      • Mike Venuto says:

        My tour in the US Army was Advisory Team 90 in Vietnam… guess the Honorable Discharge was my okay… : )


  2. kirkhazlett says:

    Yeah, I think that’s a good sign! 🙂

    English Language School for me in Saigon…teaching English as a second language to the Vietnamese military,,,did two separate one-year tours (69-70 and 71-72).


  3. dickpirozzolo says:

    Great post!


  4. dickpirozzolo says:

    wonderful post! Life is NOT about just showing up!


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