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A Tough Week

It’s been one heck of a tough week.

My wonderful mother passed away unexpectedly due to complications from chemotherapy.  She was just 62; taken too soon.  I’ve been holed up with my dad for days.  Someday I’ll write a completely off-topic tribute to Mom here, after the healing process has done its work.  Meanwhile, to those hundreds of people who reached out to me via Twitter, Facebook and email: Thank you! – it helped.

More bad news: This week we made the difficult decision to conduct a layoff of ten percent of our account staff.  While we are in good company in that many other PR agencies have had layoffs in recent weeks, it’s still a tough decision.  These are good people.  Not only were they our peers and friends, they were PR rock stars  — we valued their contributions and are very sorry to see them go.  (Note to our competitors: If you can, you should scoop them all up.  I would, if I were you.)  

It’s a sign of the times and despite the fact that we feel very confident about the future, we aren’t immune from the nation’s economic woes.  We’ll be stronger as a result of taking these preemptive moves, to support the 90+ rockstars who remain. 

That’s all I can muster for now.  I hope to be pontificating here again soon.  Meanwhile, thanks for your patience.  I am sure 2009 has brighter things in store…


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I am so sorry to hear about your mom. Please accept my most sincere condolences.

As an acquaintance, competitor and somebody who bears some responsibility for the livelihoods of others, I'm sorry to hear about the layoffs, too. Take comfort in the knowledge that anybody who was selected and trained by SHIFT will bounce back quickly.



Truely sorry for your loss. Hopefully the year will pull itself together.

My condolences to you and your family, and to the SHIFT folks who had to be let go, the Student Loan Network *IS* hiring.


Oh man that sucks... so sorry about your Mom and the layoffs on top of that.


2009 has got to be better. Keep your chin up!

Todd, My condolences to you and your family.


Keep your head up. So sorry about your loss and I hope you and your family find some form of healing soon.

Look forward to hearing you pontificate once again.


Hey Todd,

I research dying and grieving and recently composed a legacy piece for the family of a colleague who also died suddenly. I blogged about the experience and the link is below. I'm very sorry for your loss; creating a legacy document could be a therapeutic activity for you or your family and help turn grieving into coping. God bless.


Please accept my condolences for your personal loss and empathy with the work situation.
These are truly tough times that are affecting us across the globe. If nothing else at a time like this, it reminds us that we're all just flesh and blood and should be looking after and watching out for each other.

Todd: Though I'm not a religious person, I always thought there was great wisdom in what Rose Kennedy said in describing the travails her family went through: "God only gives us what we're capable of handling." Even if one's non-religious, a non-believer, or a doubter, I think it's profoundly true. (One can substitute the word "The Universe" for "God"")

Wishing you the strength to get through the weeks ahead. And sending supportive thoughts to the folks who are being laid off at your firm and others.



I am so sorry to hear about your loss. I lost my Mum earlier this year, and understand the sledgehammer that grief can be. My sincere condolences to you and your family.

The wonderful thing about this messy thing called humanity, is that we are resilient. We take the good things with us, and keep moving forward.

2009 will be better. There simply is no other option. All the best, Todd. I'll be rooting for you.

May this week of lows propel you to even greater highs. With great sympathy.

Sometimes when it rains, it really pours. Not an easy start of the year for you. But at the end of the day we all know that after every huge storm sun does come out.

P.S. I have lost my father when he was 65. Way too early. Sometimes life really sucks! But I am 50% of him, so he is with me every day.

You, your family and your colleagues are in my thoughts and prayers at this most difficult time.

Todd -
I have nothing but respect for your firm and the people I have been fortunate enough to know there. I hope that this is the bottom of 2009 for you and that the rest of the year is a drastic change from the past few days. Please accept my condolences for your personal loss and my best wishes for a speedy recovery for your team.

I'm so sorry to hear about your loss -- as you know, it's a difficult time but you'll follow your own recovery process and you will heal. Pat Breslin


My condolences go out to you and your family.

Take a breather and take care of your personal business. Time will heal this unexpected loss.



My condolences two-fold, Todd. Loss of a parent and loss of friends and contributors. Thanks for sharing with us, your loyal audience. We're all faced with at least one facet of your challenges these days and hope to see the sun rise over the horizon very soon.

Todd, my sincerest condolences to you and your family.

Hi Todd,
I'm so sorry to hear about your mom -- you and your family will be in my thoughts and prayers.
Take as much time as you need to heal -- we'll all be here when you come back!

My thoughts are with you and your family, Todd... and your pink-slipped colleagues and their families.

Sincerely -- Roger Darnell

Hi Todd,

My deepest condolences for you and your family. To express your sadness for the layoffs at SHIFT during such a difficult time demonstrates how much you care about your work family as well. Best wishes and our thoughts are with you.

I know its tough, my prayers are with you this week and as you deal with all of this.

Best wishes.

I want to convey my deepest sympathies to you and your family. Stay strong and remember all that she meant to you. Words from us won't help as much as time will. I will be thinking of you. Please take care.

Todd, my deepest sympathies for your loss. You and your family are in my thoughts and prayers.

For those you had to let go from SHIFT, I can offer one positive note. During my corporate career, I was laid off twice, and each time I wound up far better off than I would have if I had stayed.

Hang in there, my friend.


As a peer and avid reader of your blog, having faced the loss of a father this year and the prospect mom soon to follow renders me quite sympathetic to your ordeal.

Rest up. Heel. And face the rest of your life with zest!

marc davison


Very sorry to hear about your mom. My mother passed four years ago this week and not a day goes by that I don't think of her. Sincere condolences to you and your family at this difficult time.


My deepest sympathies for the loss of your Mother, Todd.


I'm sorry to hear about your loss. I'm sure the rest of 2009 holds a lot of great things for both you and SHIFT.

All the best,


I'm so sorry, Todd - for your and your father's loss, and that it was compounded by having to give good people bad news. I hope your year improves from here on out. Take care.

Todd, my best to you and your team and family. Hopefully this is the end of the tough times. - Steve

You have my deepest sympathy for the loss of your Mom, and I hope for you and your family the peace and healing that time can bring.

And I hope that your colleagues, and all of our colleagues, find themselves in better circumstances than they can even imagine now.


My thoughts go out to you and your family. Really sorry to hear about your loss.

Warmest wishes

geesh, what a terrible way to start the year, i'm sorry todd; i'm sure things will turn around, hang in there...

Hi Todd - I am terribly sorry to hear about your mom. It is difficult to deal with a death at any time and probably even more difficult when combined with the recent layoffs. I hope 2009 is a great year for you!

Understand some of your pain, having lost both mine at tragically young ages, Todd. Take care of yourself and yours. Gerry

Thank you for sharing from your heart in a honest way about your life. Being close to my own mother I cannot imagine the grief you must be experiencing.

Please take care of yourself during this difficult time.

Hi Todd,

I'm late on this, but I am so sorry to hear about your mom and the layoffs (not that those should even go in the same sentence). Celebrate your mom's life, all the good memories.

As for your staff, this is hard but it certainly puts things into perspective. I firmly believe that what doesn't kill you makes you stronger and they'll come out stronger in the end.

Thank you for being so honest in your blog. I hope things start to turn around for you, we'll keep you in our thoughts.


Welcome back after a tough week Todd. To steady healing and brighter times ahead. Warmly, Laura.

I am very sorry for your incredible loss. I am familar with the epic pain that comes with the loss of a parent. Lost my dad almost 11 years ago at 62. And I miss him even more today. Time is now your friend. Best wishes to you and your family.


I am so sorry to hear about your mother. I look forward to reading your tribute to her in the near future. There's not doubt that she was a wonderful woman and she was fortunate to have you as a son.

Best Regards,
Jennifer Mayerle

Hi Todd,

Lost my Mom to lung cancer last Feb. My heart goes out to you and your Dad. My Dad, my sister, my brother and I are still healing.

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