Commentary: The Determination To Be Here

2015 Dodge Challenger R/T Scat Pack
Photo by BobbiLe Marie N'Diaye (c) BobbiLe Ba Photography

This thing I am involved with – covering the automotive industry and its products – could be one helluva game.

This is a reflection of how the circle of employment in this field serves as a reality check. In light of recent events, it began to affect me personally. Because of those events, I walked away with the determination to move forward.

From April to just recently, I sat as an interim content person at a locally-based automotive resource site. Not to get into details, I was up for the permanent position. I did not get that position. The decision on their part was tough, but they went with a person with much more experience than I. That explanation I accepted with professional grace.

The site still wants my services at a latter date. My former supervisor thinks the work I provided them was "excellent." I look forward to further collaboration with them in the near future.

V&R makes no money. It takes a much more stable situation to leverage and put back into this site. I wished I could say it was a fully functional media empire – or a part of one – to make impacts on grassroots automotive industry coverage. Alas, no. Since 2011, V&R has been influential in what it does and has grown with traffic that supports its missions and enables it to attain its goals.

However, V&R almost went away. Or, at least it was would have been shut down if a more stable situation presented itself and became too busy to allow the care and feeding of V&R to continue.

But, it is still here. This past weekend validated the need for this site to keep going forward. It found a sense of purpose on both a regional and global scale. When talking with others about V&R, they saw someone local – the Twin Cities, to be exact – that is an automotive resource with an audience to convey what is on the ground. Our region no longer makes automobiles – though Polaris is about to put out a three-wheel track monster very soon.

Yet, this region yields a high level of attainable enthusiasm and consumerism that most automotive entities recognize to a point. Part of the job of V&R is to fill the gap and bring what is on the ground here to wherever you surf the web.

V&R is indeed alive and sharpening its claws. It will go it alone. We separated from our web designer and support company last week, which was something that would eventually happen. There is freedom in self-determination. V&R wishes that company well.

However, I am again in a state of personal flux. I am trying to get some income back into my life and to invest in V&R's efforts. It does get harder over the years, but I am banking on how strong the Twin Cities job market is in comparison to the rest of country. This was my initial reason for settling into living here ten years ago. It continues to be the same today – or, one would hope.

But, I am not alone. A few of my colleagues are going through similar situations in other places. I also fear that recent acquisitions of other automotive media outlets may add additional stress to those of us seeking continuity in our personal and professional lives.

In light of all of this, I am determined to ensure the future of V&R.

Determination is a word that saw resonance during a recent interview with an executive at Hyundai Motor America. It would be the company's determination to not only stay in the North American market – but to invest in it. Hyundai stuck to their guns to find a way to evolve from the quality issues they incurred in the first few years of business in this country. That story finally sunk into me in recent weeks. I guess it would be the coda of this career and my entire life – the determination to rise above the low parts of my life and emerge stronger every time.

However, I am a competitive person. I know I have to raise my game – including elevate my writing in all of my outlets – to retain my influence and provide the best content for you. Perhaps that sense of determination is rooted in my competitiveness. This is not an ego-driven form of competitiveness, as it, again, it is rooted in my work ethic to achieve higher levels of outputs and outcomes through hard work and doing my best out there. I truly have no time for those who skate their way through this industry and/or life. Luck is one thing; brown-nosing is another. You could network, but do so in a professional and respectful manner. Your professionalism will get you results…or, at least I understood how any business worked through my lifetime. You could ask, but be able to take any response professionally.

I am not a young person. Yet, I was rooted with the idea that hard work and results will get you noticed. Then again, you have to let people know what you are able to do and can present them in an elevator speech that hits the high notes and is not boring. There is so much that has to be done to get somewhere in today's post-economic crisis universe.

My mantra during times like these come from Lee Iacocca – perhaps through Thomas Paine. This was an audacious statement made in a commercial he did while he was Chairman at Chrysler. It was Iacocca's message to his competition:

"In the car business…you either lead, follow, or get out of the way."

This is a universal message. V&R wants to continue to be influential amongst grassroots automotive sites. It has a grounding in the Twin Cities and the Upper Midwest with good readership beyond its borders. I want to continue providing my work through this and other channels to meet the expectations of readers and editors alike. I want to continue becoming a resource for you in terms of fostering a car community – even to those who rather live inside their own agenda in or outside of it.

It takes a community – moreover, a car community – to rally around its best assets. This was a lesson learned. To connect with the right audiences is the way to get the word out on this site. The material tries to be everything to everyone, but there is so much to cover to meet the greater need. Consider my own and other colleague's situations, I wished there was some capitalization to be able to bring these colleagues on board to give V&R an infusion of differing opinions, perspectives and a mass of voices for readers to enjoy.

The future is still bright. I am emboldened with this position I am in. The determination to get through the rough spots of last week is what will drive this week and beyond.

Thank you for your continued support.

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