Soap Operas At Work... And Office Survival
May 7, 2013
Just like in other businesses, radio folk spend more time with their coworkers than anyone else --and that's hard on single people and marriages alike. During my first few years in this business, I did not have an office romance, but someone I broke up with began dating one of the jocks who I thought was a friend. You can imagine how awkward it was for everyone at work. I can remember them attending a welcome party for the new morning team. Yikes! You could have heard a pin drop when I came into the room. Truly the situation opened my eyes to the workplace, office friendships, romances at work, and office soap operas.
The odds for successful office dating are against you. These relationships usually end badly. If you do decide to have a relationship with a coworker, be discrete. Do not let your personal feelings for the person you are quietly dating conflict with your conduct towards others in the work place. You should not become defensive or offensive just because of something said or done towards your new love. If things do not work out, keep the breakup as discrete as you did the romance. The scariest thing is when non-discrete office lovers break up. It can lead to problems. Many companies cover their butts on the subject with a lot of legalese employees have to sign off on.
I observed an office soap opera that was one of the worst I ever witnessed. Two single jocks were openly dating each other at a station I programmed. They broke up and he became disconnected personally and professionally. Many staffers took sides and jock meetings were tense. There was lots of 'He said she said.' Fortunately, she left for a job at another station. Unfortunately, he attempted to date her replacement, and in doing so, revealed that her predecessor had made more money than she did. How did I find out he told her? She called for a meeting with management and told us he had shared the monetary information; she tried to renegotiate her contract. The entire situation was a mess, and the only good thing that came out of it was the fact that they never became a couple.
To be fair, there was another station I worked at, where a couple having an inter-office romance eventually resulted in a long, successful marriage and three children. So nothing is impossible, but I would advise seeking amour with someone other than a co-worker.
Surviving the Office
I love getting your e-mails, keep them coming. This one is a perfect follow up to my dissertation on office romances.
Question: The last place I worked was like working at a family reunion, everyone was in everybody's business. I'm hoping things will be different at this station. Can you tell me how to survive this place?
Coach: Conquer the political world inside the office and you will work there a long time. Here are 10 things you can do as an air personality to survive the office:
- Establish a good relationship with your supervisor.
- Finish assignments on time.
- Do not gossip.
- Be a team player.
- Make learning a priority.
- Stay out of cliques.
- Make friends and relationships outside work.
- Do not be a complainer.
- Use the company computer for company business only.
- Do not let the cell phone distract you from your work. Some personal calls are necessary, but do not let your workday resemble that of a telephone operator. Focus your energies on-air.
All jocks should approach their jobs like office temps. Smile, contribute and do not make unnecessary waves. Work with others. Learn to compromise, because the only thing that counts is results. Managers, make decisions. It is either yes or no. A "maybe" should come to a conclusion in a timely fashion. Non-managers (announcers, too), follow directions and get clarification to complete assignments.
Above all, always leave your OM/PD in a defendable position. If something goes wrong, immediately let them know. It will give them time to absorb and find a solution. This makes it possible for your supervisors to be proactive and not reactive. When it comes to office politics, treat others the way you would like to be treated.