What if it doesn’t happen?

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By: Mandy Mitchell

There will be a time in your career where you really get your hopes up. You may get your hopes up about a new job. You may get excited about a promotion or a raise. You may have every reason in the world to think things are going to happen.

Your boss told you you would be in line for that next anchor opening. The news director at that station you’ve dreamed of working at says he loves your tape and you are going to get a call for an interview.

Then…all of a sudden…nothing happens.

If this hasn’t happened to you yet, I’m afraid to tell you it will. You will, in one form or another, have to deal with disappointment when it comes to this business.

So here’s some advice for preparing yourself for these moments.

  • Always take everything or are told with a grain of salt. Realize that nothing is ever final until it actually is. Someone could have the very best intentions in telling you you will be the 6pm producer when that spot opens up. Then all of a sudden the GM comes in with other ideas. A news director could really truly mean it when he says he will call next week for an interview. Then the company goes into a hiring freeze. It’s ok to be proud of your accomplishment if this kind of thing happens. Just don’t set yourself up for disappointment by thinking it’s done before it really is.

 

  • Hold off on telling others until it is concrete. The worst thing you can do is call your mom when you are told you may an interview in Dallas next week. Unless you have a plane ticket, I’d hold off on that phone call. Sometimes our disappointment gets worse when we feel like we are disappointing others…or we feel embarrassed by having to explain why it didn’t work it. If you must tell someone, make sure you tell them how it’s not certain yet, but you are hoping it works out.

 

  • Truly think about how you will act if it doesn’t work out. This is especially helpful for promotions. You don’t want to get bitter or come off the wrong way with your current boss, so you have to be prepared with your reaction if you are told you won’t actually be getting that job you thought was promised. I’m not saying you don’t have the right to be ticked. You can respectfully explain how you are disappointed and you hope you will be considered for a similar opening down the line. I’ve seen some very experienced people come out of a news director’s office crying when something like this happens. I have had to hold back tears when something like this happened to me. It’s best to fully be prepared for the disappointment so you can react accordingly.

The stories we tell ourselves

 

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By: Mandy Mitchell

Being a good storyteller is a great trait to have if you are working in TV news. We all need to be able to tell stories to succeed in this business. The one thing we can’t do is tell stories to ourselves.

Most of us have an inner commentary about our lives that is constantly playing out in our minds. The stories can be pretty simple.

You can have a story in your head about how the news director doesn’t like you. Your story could be about how other anchors are favored and given more reads and relevant assignments. You may have a story about why you are stuck on the weekends when others keep jumping ahead of you to Monday-Friday shifts. We all do this and many of us don’t realize it.

The problem with these mental stories is they are not often backed up by actual facts and they can affect your happiness.

Does your news director really dislike you or is it just a matter of her not paying you enough attention? I’ve seen reporters go into a complete tailspin when a news director failed to compliment a story.

Do you think she didn’t like it? What if I never get another good assignment? What if I never get another good assignment and then never move to a bigger market? Is my career over?! My career is probably over!!!

The reporter is taking a story and running with it without the basic facts. I assure you, if the ND didn’t say anything about your story, that’s because it was fine and it met expectations. Or she didn’t even see it because she was stuck in a budget meeting and wasn’t watching the newscast. If you knew these facts you would likely feel foolish about the massive story you’ve been telling yourself.

The key is to recognize when you get lost in what is truly storytelling in your brain. When you recognize it you should try to identify the actual facts. You are a journalist, so presumably you can tell the difference between fact and fiction…I hope!

Once you recognize the facts, it’s easier to stop the story.

 

“Nothing fools you better than the lie you tell yourself.”
-Teller, Magician

 

Most of the time when you stop the story, you can relax. If you can’t relax then you should try to explore the facts. Ask your news director for a meeting to discuss the PKG she didn’t seem to notice. This meeting will be a lot more productive than if you start crying 4 months later and ask your ND why she “hates you.”

If you are stuck on weekends, explore the facts. Is it because your boss thinks you like weekends and you seem happy? Is it because your boss thinks you need to improve? Is it because the person who jumped to a M-F gig actually makes less money and is not as valuable? Ask questions to get facts instead of coming up with your own story about what is probably happening.

This is a hard skill to learn but it’s helpful. Try to get a better grasp of what is going on in your brain and save the storytelling for the newscast.