Friday, May 20, 2011

Playing out of position

The Mets have an excellent shortstop named Jose Reyes. A few years ago they got the bonehead idea to sign another free agent shortstop named Kaz Matsui. Even those of you who aren't baseball fans know you can't play two shortstops at the same time. So the Mets moved Reyes to second base, making him play out of position. Matsui was a disaster at short, the experiment flopped, and Reyes eventually moved back to short, where he is now.

In Hollywood they cast the movie "Guys and Dolls" and signed Frank Sinatra and Marlon Brando as the leads. Did they give Sinatra the singing part? Nope.

If you want an excellent example of "playing out of position" rent that movie and watch Marlon Brando try to sing.

In my case, I enjoyed being a reporter and fill-in anchor. But every time someone approached me about doing something on a morning show, I turned down the offer. I knew I'd be playing out of position, as the last thing people need when waking up is a sarcastic guy telling them to go back to bed and wondering aloud what the hell people are doing up at this hour.

Which brings us to Katie.

First, let me say it's easy to have 20/20 hindsight. When I first heard she'd gotten the anchor job, my very first thought was that she would be playing out of position. I wasn't sure if someone who dressed up as Sponge Bob on a Halloween broadcast would have the gravitas needed to carry the evening news.

And when you think about it, the "Today Show" is called a "show" for a reason. The Evening News title speaks for itself.

I know several people who have made drastic position changes, some successful, some not. I do know that if a particular job is not in your genetic makeup, a drastic position change is probably not going to work for you.

Sometimes you get desperate when looking for a job, and end up applying for positions that really aren't a good fit. Chances are you can do the job, but if the job description doesn't match your personality, playing out of position is not a good idea.

There's a reason NDs call me on occasion looking for a "morning show personality." Not everyone has that upbeat perky attitude you want for that shift. And not every "morning show personality" works on an evening newscast. A "five o'clock personality" is another job description.... someone credible enough to handle hard news while having enough personality to take care of light interviews.

Personality is a huge factor in your success. Make sure the job you apply for fits the one you have.


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