What’s Next?

Aaron Sorkin’s successful series “The West Wing,” featured Martin Sheen as President Josiah Bartlet. The show’s rapid-fire dialogue, constant deadlines and behind-the-scenes look at the fictional Bartlet administration, enthralled viewers who enjoy politics, drama and news. President Bartlet handled problem after problem with the line, “What’s next?” after each situation was addressed.
For some time, my pace has been rapid-fire; deadlines every ten minutes, as I faced an unforgiving broadcast clock that drove me to be at the ready even if power was out or every drop of blood had theoretically drained from my body. It was always fascinating to see people’s faces when I explained to them I only had a production assistant; no team of writers or producers or any real help in compiling, writing, editing and producing the news of the day. The pressure was certainly nothing like a White House administration, but I knew doing morning drive news in a major market, all eyes and ears were watching and listening. When problems arose, I addressed the situations, fixed what needed to be fixed and often, out loud, said, “What’s next?”
Out of that history, I now begin What’s Next Productions, LCC. As with any business, the process is anything but rapid-fire; there’s research, education, planning, questions and more questions. My business plan outline is a work-in-progress. Being a one-person operation for now, I’m reaching out to the many resources available to firm up my ideas. My 30-second elevator speech is this:
What’s Next Productions offers public relations, media training and crisis management services to mid-sized and small businesses as well as non-profit organizations. Another service I’d like to offer is recording business or family histories that could be used to document a company’s progress over time. Family histories would be recorded for future generations.
So, the process is underway with the business entity formed and online “paperwork” processed. Now, looking into a web site, content and rounding up those clients will take time. My mind touches the wise words of my friend who said, “Find something that really makes you happy.” The prospect of working on my own or with a partner or two, setting a schedule that makes sense without the pressure and stress that enveloped me for so long, sounds attractive. Will this make me “happy” professionally? Time, of course, will tell.
I continue to volunteer with the Community Foundation of South Jersey, which is launching in the coming weeks, the public relations committee at Trinity Presbyterian Church in Cherry Hill, Sustainable Cherry Hill and just beginning work with the marketing committee of the Burlington County YMCA. The transition continues with the change now being to look forward at What’s Next, not at what is past.

Re-adjusting the reinventing plan.

A wise friend of mine has told me more than once, that while I’m in transition, think about doing something that makes me really happy. Great thought, but figuring out what I want to do that I can make a living at these days, is not an easy proposition. The journey includes good days and downright dreary days. The other night I headed into center city for an event where I could do a little networking. A few people I’ve known for some time as business associates gave me “the face.” They cock their head a little to one side and say with a serious face, “So, how ‘ya doin‘?” Please don’t give me “the face.” I’m fine, thanks very much. I sure have been better. Then they go on to talk about how busy, busy, busy they are. That’s wonderful. Now, how can I find some of THAT!
Here’s the plan: I’m on a two-week jaunt to reach out for any opportunities that might be plausible. I’m going to a networking event and have signed up for a “starting-a-business” seminar. I’ve applied for a few more positions I found and have sent some emails to people I needed to catch up with. Then, I’m going to breathe. The gym gives me sanity and health. Summertime can make be feel good. My son turns 15 soon and he has a summer to enjoy. I want to enjoy some time with my husband and son. I’ll continue tapping into various resources and people who are supportive and helpful in this journey and will continue freelance opportunities, but I now need to give my head and heart a break. I get depressed reading about how the economy is depressing. I’m sick and tired of being sick and tired. The “front” I put on is also distressing. It’s time to remember what my wise friend has said: Be happy.

Rant on Ramirez

Are you kidding me? Manny Ramirez has again proven even bad publicity is good publicity. His latest 15 minutes is shining on his sample showing a positive test for a banned substance. How is it possible that these amazingly paid (many say overpaid) professional athletes don’t take the extra precaution today to be sure that what they are putting in their body is NOT in baseball’s list of banned substances.

When you are a professional, at the top of your game, no matter what that game is, isn’t it clear that you have to hold yourself to a higher standard? I suppose not, since the Ramirez philosophy of, “Rules for me; rules for everyone else,” rang true when he apparently did not take another step when his physician told him what he was giving or prescribing Ramirez was not a banned substance. http://www.nj.com/newsflash/index.ssf?/base/sports-17/1241718404230770.xml&storylist=sports

These athletes have trainers, team doctors, nutritionists, the best medical care money can buy at their disposal at the drop of a bat. It is amazing how a person of Ramirez’ stature in baseball could be so ridiculously absent-minded. Now, Ramirez is sorry. Watching MLB Network, one of the commentators believed that because Manny is in L.A., it’s an environment where he’ll serve his 50 game suspension and be cheered back to the diamond in July. I agreed with another commentator on the panel who said he believed Ramirez should have to lose his entire $25 million salary, not just one-third. I think ballplayers should indeed lose their salaries, but they should be donated to children’s athletic programs, especially in inner cities where kids often don’t get a chance to experience a team. I think the salaries should also go to rebuilding long-neglected public fields in cities where funding to children’s programs and recreation budgets are often the first budgets cut during these lean times. Imagine: $1 million dollars of the $8 million to eight strapped cities where children who look up to these professional athletes could see something good happening with those paychecks lost because of stupidity.

Lastly, J.C. Romero was held up as the poster child over the winter break as a professional athlete who also should have known better. The Phillies lefty reliever also had no one to blame but himself when it came to buying the over-the-counter “vitamin” supplement 6-OXO Extreme, then claiming ignorance. Sorry, J.C. You’re a great reliever, a real personality on the mound and an excellent team player, but he, too, should have held himself to a higher standard when it comes to what he puts in his body. Didn’t your doctor tell you if you eat a balanced diet, exercise and monitor your health, you probably don’t need to take vitamins?

Among the athletes who knowingly or unknowingly take a substance presumably for health benefits, they must be extremely insecure. Their window of prime time play can be short, but their agents and the teams are seeing to it they are paid handsomely. With decent money management, they may never have to work again. “I didn’t know,” “I thought it was OK,” “My doctor said it was OK,” are completely lame excuses. They have no excuse for being ignorant. Get over yourself Manny and anyone else who gets caught. The devil did NOT make you do it. Use some of that cash and hire yourself a good psychiatrist; give the rest to inner city sports programs.