“It seems like a lifetime ago,” says Sue Hitchcock who received a letter dated 23rd September 1982 offering her the position of part-time secretary/PA to the managing director of Cirencester based PR consultancy, LawsonClarke PR, her first job after secretarial college.
“Indeed it has been a lifetime, and as the joke goes, you get less for murder,” adds Sue, who still works in the business as office manager and ‘right hand person’ to the company’s MD, Jeremy Clarke.
“The business has always adopted a flexible approach to employment. I started working four half days (16 hours a week) – effectively job sharing. This quickly developed into a full time role, and over the last couple of years, I have chosen to reduce my time so I have longer weekends.
“As with any service based business, the workload is determined by the number of clients you have, the number of staff, and inevitably the economic conditions, but it’s the variety and interest of the work that has kept me in the same role for so long.
“As a hedge against the cyclical nature of the economy and with the increasing cost and bureaucracy attached to employing people, the company adopted a new way of outsourcing to professional and specialist consultants some 20 years ago. While this was seen quite radical and certainly unusual in the early nineties, it is now a method of working that many PR companies have adopted.
“So while there may not always be that many people in the office, there are colleagues working remotely, and many of these have become good friends over the years.
“We specialise primarily in consumer PR, so I am regularly talking to journalists in the national, consumer and broadcast media. We worked with Brabantia, the housewares brand for 24 years, and do a lot in property where we have several clients including Monte Nibbio Estates in Italy, and the Cotswolds property specialists Butler Sherborn. Automotive is also a core market, and we are the press office for the Korean car maker, SsangYong, so there’s always something different when I walk in each morning, and no day is ever the same.”
Said Jeremy Clarke: “At a time when people seem to change jobs quite frequently, it is a remarkable achievement to remain working with the same company for over 30 years. Those who have known us for a long time often ask ‘is Sue still working for you?’ and are truly surprised that she is, speaking more about her than her employer I suspect!
“As I said when we celebrated her 25 years with the company, her dedication, commitment and loyalty are rare qualities, and hugely appreciated,” he added.