Interview: How to be a Successful Safety Writer with Phil LaDuke
Phil LaDuke is a safety writer, author and consultant. An entrepreneur, through and through. He is creating a professional brand as a global partner, working with business partners in Singapore, Indonesia, Africa, and the UK, to name a few.
Below is a summary of our interview:
Einstein said, “you can’t solve problems using the same thinking that created them.”
From his childhood, Phil played everything the safe way. He started working at 13 years old. He was a husband and a father who went to work every day. One day, he woke up and his wife left him, flat broke and unemployed, and desperate. He had to view the world and the universe differently than he had up until that point. He couldn’t keep doing what he was doing. He grew up on a rural farm in Michigan. From an early age, he was hustling sometimes to work low pay, minimum page jobs. Always showing up for work portrayed his work ethic. Phil found a job in a restaurant which was harder than farm work. Phil states “you’ve never really worked until you’ve worked in a restaurant.” He got his degree from University of Michigan in Training and Development Design. At the same time, he was working at General Motors, then was laid off. As his marriage failed, he was floundering terribly. Phil didn’t think he could go back to being unemployed in Detroit in the mid-80’s. And he received a call from a former professor, who said he had a job for Phil, but it involved Phil starting his own business. Phil was hesitant, but he never turned down a job he wasn’t offered, and held many more jobs since then with that attitude. One day, his colleague suggested blogging to Phil, but Phil didn’t want to, so if he blogged, Phil was going to use his own voice and craft a confrontational and provocative blog about worker’s safety.
As a shameless self-promoter, he gained a reputation for his work in speaking. Now he’s a partner in a leading company that leaves companies better than when he found them. That’s the kind of career that brought him to today.
Phil mentions his mentor at the American Sun Roof company, who suffered from depression, eventually put up the company for sale and took his own life. It was a great loss for Phil.
If you listen, Phil’s moment happened multiple times by not turning down any opportunities that knock. One of his personal concepts is: “never turn down a job you haven’t been offered.”
Phil’s Work Now
He is helping companies plan on sticking around in 50 years who otherwise will not be if they didn’t start now.
What’s Exciting Phil now
There’s so much negativity about the environment and the workplace, but what excites Phil is that he sees concrete examples of making the world a better place. Phil looks at his colleagues and sees them making incredible changes.
Book Phil Recommends:Why We Make Mistakes: How We Look Without Seeing, Forget Things in Seconds, and Are All Pretty Sure We Are Way Above Average
Helpful Habit: He works from home and treats it like an office. He stays in the role by getting in business casual clothes.
Jerry LaPedis, who was the obstinate Head of the Program at University of Michigan who pushed Phil to do nothing but his best.
Internet Resource: PR.org that lets you put out free press releases.
What’s Your Purpose?
Phil learned to treat people the same way others made him feel worthy. He thinks he has a responsibility to pay that back.
Where to Follow Phil + Parting Words
Phil believes that we all have to trust ourselves and also allow the fact that we might be crazy. Phil’s parting words of wisdom are to trust yourself but also recognize you are creating a perception of yourself that you are going to deal with.