Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Why the biggest egos are often found in small markets

The reporter was being very nice, as he always was. He pulled out a pad and pen, then asked each member of the crew what he wanted for lunch. He dutifully took down every order, down to the condiments on the sandwiches and the preferred brand of soda. Then he went off, picked up lunch at a deli, brought it back and handed it out.

Local reporter? Nope. One of the network household names I work with quite often. He simply knew the crew was dog tired and acted as a team player.

Recently someone who is not in the business asked me what I do as a field producer. I told him, "Sometimes I interview heads of state, sometimes I go for coffee and donuts. Sometimes both." At the network level, you bury the ego and play for the team. And kind gestures go a long way toward making everyone feel important.

It's kind of funny, and it amazed me when I started working with network people, but there don't seem to be very many massive egos running around at the top of the food chain. Oh, I worked with one a few years ago who apparently thought I was a former servant from Buckingham Palace, but she didn't last long. For the most part, the network reporters have reached the top, they know it, and there's no reason to act as if they're better than anyone else.

Contrast that with a few small and medium markets in which I've spent time. Frankly I was blown away at the attitudes of some people who really didn't have a bit of talent. Yet it seemed their mission in life was to act superior to those who had talent and would likely pass them on the ladder.

If you're in your first or second job, you may be running into this. And there is usually one simple reason for this.


If you're the newest member of the staff and already getting ripped by another reporter or anchor who barely knows you, chances are that person is threatened by you. And chances are, they subconsciously realize you have a lot more talent than they do. You will no doubt go far.

So why not take you down a notch by playing mind games with your confidence?

This tactic is so old it doesn't even qualify as a Jedi Mind Trick.

And it's almost like one of those math theorems: The size of the ego is indirectly proportionate to the size of the market.

If you're running into one of these co-workers, simply consider the source. Keep your own ego buried, fly under the radar, and give anyone who criticizes you for no reason the bobblehead. (That's the glazed look and head bob husbands give wives when they're not really listening.) Then act happy the minute you're done.

"The bigger they are, the nicer they are" seems to be true in this business. Be the bigger person and leave the big egos where they belong, on the bottom of the ladder.


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