Thursday, July 16, 2009

Wine, books, and hot baths

I used to have a co-worker who was a smart, attractive young lady. One Friday, as the day was winding down, I said to her, "So, hot date this weekend?"

"Yeah," she said. "With a hot bath, a bottle of wine, and a good book." In her mind, no date at all was better than a bad date.

And in this era of job hunting frustration, keeping your current job is sometimes better than just jumping for the sake of jumping.

I know that many of you have reached the end of your rope; sending out an endless amount of tapes only to have the only offers be for one-man-band jobs in bad markets with bad companies. Sometimes you can hear your biological television news clock ticking. It's telling you that you have to move now or you'll be stuck forever. But in many cases, jumping to the wrong station can land you in the same situation, or worse.

Patience is not a virtue among those in our profession. I never had it either, and was often too quick to jump. Whenever I made a quick decision, it turned out to be the wrong one. I was desperate to move, so I grabbed the first offer that came along, putting on my rose colored glasses and ignoring the red flags when I should have drawn a bath and cracked open a bottle of zinfandel.

When making any decision, take your time. Step back and try to honestly assess whether you'll really be better off... or just be in a different place.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Sometimes a foot in the door really isn't


I've been applying for reporter jobs for about a year - had 2 interviews, had a news director tell me I made it to his top 5, but nothing has panned out. There's an opening at a really good company in their in-house media network as an assistant producer/web administrator. I would be writing, editing and working in production on corporate shoots, but I wouldn't be doing any on-air work and the contract has an 11-month minimum, so I'd be taking myself completely out of the running for any reporting job. What do you think about that? I still want to report so would applying for this job be a bad idea?

Well, I've been at many stations where people like this have been hired.

Years ago a "foot in the door" was a great way to move up the ladder. I'm not so sure it's that way anymore.

It seems that every time I've had a co-worker or an employee who was hired to do something other than reporting when the person really wanted to be a reporter, here's what happened.

1. Person starts out jumping head first into new position, doing a great job trying to impress management.

2. After about a month, person starts to get bored and starts hinting to management about reporting opportunities.

3. When opportunities do not present themselves, person gets depressed, and work suffers as person loses interest in job he didn't really want anyway.

4. Person ends up leaving.

I've also seen a lot of job openings as well for an entry level "producer-reporter" and in most cases the person hired gets stuck being a full time producer when another producer leaves.

Bottom line, if you want to be a reporter, will you really be happy doing work you don't want to do... for a chance that may never come? And what's your dream... to simply work in television, or be a reporter?

Still, the decision is up to you. Just bear in mind that the people hiring for this position are probably looking for someone to do the job... not get a foot in the door.