Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Feeling left behind

I remember my first station vividly, and how every reporter was sending out mass quantities of tapes in search of the next move up the ladder. We'd talk about job openings a lot when we were off the clock, dreaming of the brass ring that surely lay ahead for all of us. We were a close knit group. Our lives were like an episode of "Friends"... a bunch of single people sharing dreams and laughs.

Then something happened I didn't expect. One of the reporters got a great job. He came in beaming that morning, resignation letter in hand. We congratulated him and he gave us all the details of his new station. I was happy for him... briefly. Until I got this empty feeling in the pit of my stomach.

I'm not sure I can categorize this feeling; part jealousy, part sadness over saying goodbye to a friend, part wondering why him and not me... and also wondering when my turn would come. I was being left behind. I was mad at myself for not being big enough to simply be happy over the success of a friend. That night I probably knocked out two dozen resume tapes and hit the post office the next morning.

If you've been in the business awhile you may have had this feeling. Being left behind can do damage to your psyche. Bad enough when it's someone talented who is your friend. But if the person moving on has no talent and is a mean person, this sort of "life is not fair" moment can send your neuroses into overdrive.

Looking back, I now know that someone else's career really had no affect on mine. If you cruise the job boards and see people with your experience level or less moving on to great things, it can drive you crazy.

Focus on your own career, and don't worry about what other people are doing.

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