In these tough economic times, many are looking for a silver lining. NBCSanDiego is profiling San Diegans who have changed their professions and are starting over. In some cases, their journeys may provide a road map for others to follow. Our series, "New Beginnings," will be featured throughout the month of August. -- Ed.
How many times can a guy get fired and still pick himself up? A lot, says public relations consultant Rick Griffin. Through good and bad economic times Griffin has managed to bounce back and every time it seems like a new beginning.
Griffin started out as a newspaper reporter. "I'm a news junkie," fascinated by it ever since the age of 7. "I can't get away from the variety," he said. From the days of covering Mayor Pete Wilson to the PSA jet crash Griffin loved a good story. That is until one day an ad agency called to ask him how he'd like to "pitch stories" instead of "getting pitched."
Griffin's experience as a reporter wasn't lost in his new job of working for dozens of clients like the Better Business Bureau. "Warning people about scams and frauds that target elderly victims who lose their life savings just breaks my heart," said Griffin. He also values working for the Multiple Sclerosis Society, where the "courage and determination of people who have the disease, endure day by day and still have a positive outlook on life," he said.
Griffin eventually started his own public relations agency and even though he did his homework, there are times that have been really rough and ego-splintering. "How many times have I been fired...4 or 5? I've been fired by clients because of money problems, or they say 'we don't like you anymore," Griffin remembers.
"So talk about making transitions," he said. "There are many discouraging days, you pull yourself up by the bootstraps, your faith is helpful, your family support. You get up the next day, face the world. You can't quit."
Especially with the California economy in such a cash-strapped predicament, Griffin understands his clients could evaporate at any time. So Griffin has several jobs going. Besides running his own firm, Rick Griffin Communications, he's also the manager at Grossmont College of the community relations department and he's a fill-in preacher on some Sundays. He's on rotation to teach Bible class too.
The bottom line, Griffin says is to have a lot of possibilities in case one job falls through. And when he opened his own agency, he did his homework. And asked questions: Who needs help? How much can I charge? What kinds of clients would I be going after? Who's my competition and why am I better than them?
What's surprised him about starting over? "The harder I work the more doors open," he said. "The more phone calls I 've made, the more effort I extended....you reap what you sow. The future will always be brighter than the past. There are hard lessons learned in life and experiences. I'm always looking forward to the future."