A scary PR guy

      24 Comments on A scary PR guy

David Chauvin is a scary guy. Despite his boyish looks and easy smile, you don’t want to come into work hung over when you’re reporting to David. The director of public relations services for Great Neck, N.Y. firm Zimmerman/Edelson, Inc. doesn’t even want you to come in on time; he wants you there a half-hour early and expects you to stay late. And he wants you available at night, on weekends, and even holidays if that’s what it takes to get the job done.

David wants you to read four newspapers a day, read PR and media blogs, and be really, really aware of what’s going on in the world. He wants you to know how policy and laws are made, who are the major players in decision-making and how many elected seats there are in the state legislature. He doesn’t need you to be a great writer, but he needs you to want to be a better writer than you are. He wants you to dress appropriately and be personable and ambitious. And you’ll happily do this while making $30-35,ooo a year.

David Chauvin, in effect, wants you to be like him. His very presence says “PR pro.” This is a guy who talks the PR talk and walks the PR walk. Speaking to a group of Hofstra public relations seniors, his classroom call to action was eye-opening and inspiring, and he injected the room with a healthy dose of reality. After his appearance, the students were left shaken and stirred, some realizing that graduating in three weeks means life is really about to change. And it is.

Demands are high in the PR profession; in fact, “public relations executive” was listed by careercast.com as one of the top ten most stressful jobs you can have in 2012. But David Chavin doesn’t seem stressed–not one bit. He clearly loves his job. I predict that most of these new graduates will, too. Your thoughts?

24 thoughts on “A scary PR guy

  1. M.Oliver

    This is really interesting, I love how passionate he is about PR and how he encourages others to take on that same passion and ambition. The fact that he doesn’t need you to be a great writer, but needs you to want to become a better one is really encouraging. It shows how much it matters, in the long run, to have that hunger and drive to learn more. He seems pretty intense, and I’m not sure I would agree with everything he believes about working in PR, but I completely see how his enthusiasm and love for the job makes working hard less of an obligation and more of a self-driven will to do better.

  2. Rachel_Lynn_Gonzalez

    I’m actually really upset that I wasn’t able to make it to the class the day that David spoke. I always find that it is so important to hear advice from successful and accomplished PR professionals. Although it seems to me that his demands are a bit extreme, I guarantee that any PR person who has had a job with him is 100% “on their game” and has become great at what they do. As taxing, stressful, and demanding as working for David sounds, all I could think about while reading this post was how much I would learn and how much sharper my skills would become after all was said and done. This just goes to show you that PR never sleeps! This article definitely made me a little nervous for the real world, but at the same time it made me ready to face these challenges!

  3. Matt Garcia

    Hearing David talk to our class was a great experience. He was such an inspiration to those of us who are heading into the real world. He really made me want to do well at my job, and really go the extra mile in order to get noticed. Using his tips, I will be able to know what to do to stand out in the office environment.

  4. Andrew Katz

    David Chauvin magnified the importance of networking with PR professionals as early as possible. Often at times, people neglect networking opportunities because they may be naive thinking that they’ll eventually get a job one way or another. The fact of the matter is, PR agencies don’t always post jobs openings to the public. Most of the time, job openings are filled by knowing someone within a certain agency. David Chauvin’s advice on networking really hit home for me and made me regret not networking as much as I should at certain events or opportunities in past years

  5. Kimberly Caro

    I loved hearing David speak in class. It was my second time hearing him speak, the first time being at a PRSSA meeting. During the meeting he spoke about government public relations; Although, I am not interested in pursing that field he definitely made it sound exciting. When I heard him speak in class about finding jobs and keeping them, it was extremely helpful. One thing that stuck with me was when David shared with the class that employers do not want to see gaps in resumes and, surprisingly, he enjoys hiring waitresses and waiters because they have learned how to deal with people and handle problems in stressful situations. It was interesting to hear him explain how jobs we may not think relate to public relations in any way can in fact have transferrable skills that would be valuable in the public relations industry.

  6. Pitch Perfect

    I had the great opportunity to meet David Chauvin last year – his work ethic and energy is definitely contagious. He is also a really nice guy – wish there were more people like him in our field. Glad he had the chance to motivate your class with graduation coming, its time for all students to get serious about the “real world” and how PR plays into it.

  7. jkleid

    I didn’t have the opportunity to see David Chauvin speak, but my classmates all said he was a very impressive speaker. As a PR student, I hope that when I go into PR people will think my presence reads “PR pro,” but I agree with the post by hikerprman. I think PR in NYC is a higher stress profession, rather than PR in California, for example. Maybe I’m bias seeing as I’m from out of state, but New Yorkers already have a very career-driven attitude about them, and I think this makes professionals in NYC more stressed and intense.

  8. Robert Leonard

    As a senior executive at a ‘NY agency’ (heaven forbid…) with a significant Long Island pratice and as a fellow Long Islander, I concur with Mr. Cunningham when I say that David Chauvin is a total pro and he and his colleagues at Z-E run a great operation. I see David and his team out hustling and doing a great job for their clients at events and other happenings across the Island both within and outside business hours on a regualr basis – and they are having a blast doing it! David is a credit to our profession and a valued colleague and competitor. We need more folks like him in this business if we are going to continue to build respect for our discipline as we compete for both business and respect within the communications tool box.

  9. Ellen Frisina

    David knows talent and has always come to us for recommendations of exceptional candidates. THANK YOU DAVID for thinking so highly of Hofstra’s PR program….

  10. Sandra

    I think David Chauvin is a great guy. I have met him three times, and each time he has offered a different side of his multi-faceted areas of expertise. This time, he didn’t really scare me. I wasn’t surprised to hear anything he said. PR is a very demanding field and if you want to excel you have to go above and beyond. I can’t wait until I get my entry level job, I’m really looking forward to working hard to be able to give advice like him one day!

  11. jenniferbrackman

    Reading this leaves me a little bit terrified of graduating in twenty days, but at the same time, excited. I know that it will be hard work but as PR majors if we’ve gone this far in the program we must know we plan on doing what we love. If you are willing to put in the extra time and hard work, I believe it is worth it. Maybe not working at an agency but doing in-house PR would be less stressful. I’ve only interned at agencies so I’m really not sure. However, we are as prepared now as we can ever be. All we can really do is learn more from getting more experience. We know what we need to do to get the job done, and who doesn’t like a challenge?

  12. Melissa Connolly

    David Chauvin rocks! As a client of David’s agency, I’m glad they get in early, work hard and prepare. The folks at Zimmerman Edelson are always on top of their game and and have the ability to take advantage of opportunities. I think it is great that they have high expectations of their professionals…because I have high expectations too. I want to know that the agency I’m working with has read the paper in the morning and gets what is in the news cycle and is ready for what the day might bring. Thanks for coming to Hofstra and sharing your experience!

  13. Lindsey Dodge

    I understand what you mean by “scary” but I don’t think anybody should be scared in this way at their job. The extreme expectations of David Chauvin, and I’m sure of others like him, are ones that I think would make me feel uneasy at work. I always think that a more open and relaxed work place makes for a much better environment and lends more productivity and creativity. However, the reality is that many employers are expecting the world from their employees these days and in some cases, they may be asking a little too much. Even if I was working and doing something I really enjoyed, if I left the office stressed out everyday, I probably would find another job that fits me better somewhere else. This may be an environment some people are prepared for and are willing to work in, but I don’t think that this would be my ideal workplace.

  14. juliachappell

    I knew agency work was a little intense, but reading this makes me wonder if I want to work in such an environment. I definitely want to intern at an agency to see if this type of PR work is for me. I do think that a lot of what David said about reading newspapers and media blogs and dressing appropriately are a very important for any PR job.

    1. Bert Cunningham

      Having run an agency I can state that different agencies have different clients and management styles. But, all agencies must make money or salaries, taxes and rent don’t get paid, benefits don’t get supplied, and the lights don’t stay on. For an agency to succeed, everyone must pull his or her weight. It’s no place for slackers. If one has a good work ethic and skill sets, common sense, and a desire to succeed and improve as a professional and as part of a team, then one will succeed. It’s an exciting profession with lots of great people in it and lots of new things happening every day. Go for it and enjoy the challenges and experiences. And do it all with passion!

  15. Madalyn Tundis

    It seems, to me, David Chavin is dedicated to and passionate about his career. He has very high standards and expectations. You will find people like David Chavin in every profession. If this is the way he choses to run his firm, and he is successful, than he must be doing something right. This “scary” method may work for him, but it may not work for everyone. I think it is important to find a work ethic and technique that works for you; you should not have to work the way someone else does.

    1. Jeff Morosoff

      Of course I hope everyone realizes that I meant “scary” tongue-in-cheek. David is an absolute professional and a joy to work with. Having high expectations of co-workers is certainly a positive and never a negative.

  16. Jenny Zheng

    This post was really eye opening, and to be quite honest, I was really terrified. However, at the same time, it was helpful, it shows what to expect in the PR industry. It also made me think that PR isn’t the only job that’s demanding. Every job worth having is demanding, and if you’re willing to work at it (granted that you love what you do) you’re bound to put in more hours anyway, whether your boss wants you to or not.

  17. JackieZupo

    This is an example of as long as you are dedicated to your job, have the desire to always improve and work hard – you will be happy in your job even if it is a stressful field like PR. This post kind of makes me nervous for my future but excited at the same time.

  18. Annik Spencer

    This was such a well-written and informative post! I have often wondered who was the brains behind Zimmerman/Edelson, Inc. and now I know! I personally think that learning about people like David Chauvin is extremely inspiring for PR students. Reading this post gave me the same feeling that I had a few weeks ago when Melissa Connolly came in to speak to our PR 100 class. I left that class feeling excited and determined that PR was right for me, which made me hopeful for my future in PR! I hope that someday I can be considered a “scary PR girl.”

  19. Bert Cunningham

    David’s one of the brightest, young talents on the region’s PR scene and he has a great future. He stresses a crucial point regarding the need for PR pros to take in information from a wide range of sources. Through technology, it’s too easy to narrowcast one’s daily info dose. Over time, it may reinforce one’s knowledge base in a particular area or comfort zone, but it leaves one vulerable to not being able to connect the many dots a cleint base with a wide variety of priorities must address. It’s also interesting that the latest job stress survey has the PR exec. ahead of the corporate exec., which is the same order as last year. BTW: No one will doubt that an Enlisted Soldier has the number one most stressful job.

  20. hilary topper

    Jeff, this story depicts the typical NY agency mentality. Employees are owned and should be grateful to their employer for work. I worked at many agencies like this. My agency, HJMT PR, is the opposite. I don’t get mad at my staff for walking in late because I know that they feel as though they own a piece of the agency and will make up the time when need be. I treat my employees with respect and go above and beyond to make them happy. By doing so, they make my clients happy and do right by them. I feel that if you do right by people, they will do right by you — that is why I have a loyal, dedicated staff…

  21. Abby Littleton

    Wow. This post really does put you in check for the future. As you said, yes, it is a little scary but it is also rather inspiring.

  22. hikerprman

    My thoughts: look at a PR career in other places than East Coast cities. For example, you can come to Colorado and work hard, ski a little, hike a little. David Chauvin’s isn’t the only PR reality, but you may have to travel a little to get away from his mentality (as stated by Jeff). Of course, you can always find the stressed 24/7 employers here too, if you want.


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