Sometimes I think I should have taken a few psychology courses in college, since many questions these days have to do with the mindset of those working in newsrooms. Back in the day the young reporters were of the take-no-prisoners type, wannabe Woodward and Bernsteins who thought nothing was impossible and shrugged off criticism that wasn't valid.
Ah, but many of you are from the "everybody gets a trophy" generation, and if that's the case, you've recently discovered that you are not the center of the universe. You don't get a paycheck or a better job just for trying.
Look, I'm not Doctor Phil, but I've seen enough and heard enough to know what's causing such a lack of confidence that permeates the industry. When type A guys turn into the geeks on The Big Bang Theory or traffic-stopping women who could cut a man in half with a barroom death stare are reduced to shuddering lumps, there's a reason.
Guess what, much of it isn't your fault. (That should make those of you from the blameless society feel better.) Well, I said much of it. Part of it is your fault if you let outside factors chip away at your confidence.
So if you're feeling worthless lately, check this list and you might find the reason why.
1. Your News Director is a jerk. (Sure, there are more colorful terms I could use, and have used.) No matter what you do, you've done something wrong. Or your work is never good enough. Recognize this as an old ploy to keep your confidence down, make you afraid to send out resume tapes, and make an insecure News Director feel more superior. It might also make you feel you're not good enough to leave, and therefore sign another contract out of desperation.
2. You dwell on the past. You might have knocked out ten great packages in a row but that stumble during a live shot is making your forget all the good stuff you've done. (And if your ND is the type to harp on said mistakes, that takes your anxiety up a notch.)
3. You have no support system. This is typical of people in their first jobs. No parents to tell them how wonderful they are, close friends are thousands of miles away, and they're alone in a strange town. If you don't make friends with the people in the newsroom or get an objective veteran mentor, like an anchor, you're going to feel lost. Annnnddddd.... cue the insecurity.
4. News flash: Not all the people in the world are nice. Some are minions of the devil. The sooner you realize this, the better off you'll be. Many entry level people are shocked at how nasty co-workers can be. The smaller the market, the bigger the egos.
5. No response from your resume tapes. That doesn't necessarily mean your work isn't good. You may not have connected with the right ND.
6. You're assigned lousy stories, even though your bring great ideas to the table. (That doesn't mean you have to do a lousy job. If you're assigned a dog, figure out a way to impress people with the way you turned it into a great story.)
7. You're the newsroom whipping boy. Lousy assignments, the worst equipment, nasty remarks. Chances are the ND is hoping you'll quit by making you miserable. And if the ND isn't the one who hired you, this is pretty common.
8. You've been passed over more than once for a promotion. Doesn't mean you weren't the best person, you just weren't the person management wanted. If you're passed over twice, move on, because they'll never promote you.
9. You haven't turned a good package in awhile. And whose fault is that? A dysfunctional newsroom and a nasty ND don't prevent you from doing great work.
10. You fail to consider the source of any criticism that isn't valid. So, the gal at the next desk who has less experience than you told you that your package was awful. Or your ND who has been fired from his last four jobs says you're worthless. When you accept criticism from people who don't have the credibility to dish it out, you're giving others the power over you.
Bottom line, suck it up and attack your job with a vengeance. Don't let others control your confidence. It comes from inside, not outside.