Sometimes I wonder if there's some secret seminar evil managers attend to learn how to push the emotional buttons of their staff members. Some of these people have raised it to an art form, not only throwing the knife but twisting it and adding salt before washing it with alchohol.
Creative people are a sensitive lot. As you get older, you begin to see through the mind games people play. But when you're young and unsure of your talent or future, one pointed comment can send your muse into vapor lock. Most of the time you can simply brush it off by considering the source; the manager might be an idiot, a cylon, or just a sick, twisted person who gets perverse joy out of demeaning others.
Trust me, everyone has buttons and they will get pushed at one time or another. How you react is what's important to your career. If you react correctly, you can effectively hide the butttons.
Here are the two most common old standbys that work for just about any young person in the business:
-"You're not ready for this market." (Usually from a ND who hasn't been able to rise out of it.)
-"You might not belong in this business." (Ironically, this often comes from someone who really doesn't belong in this business.)
How you react when your buttons are pushed is crucial. If the manager sees you turn into a quivering lump and your eyes begin to well up, he's gonna keep pushing that button like he's playing Whack-a-Mole at Chuckie Cheese. If, however, you don't show any emotional reaction, chances are he won't hit that button again.
The best thing to do when your emotional buttons are pushed is to head back to the newsroom and start joking around with co-workers. This tells the manager he can't get into your head and takes the air out of his mind games. You may be that quivering mess inside, but you can't show it.
So hide your buttons and keep your game face on. If a manager doesn't know where your buttons are, he can't push them.