When Sex Is Involved...
September 16, 2014
One question which pops up from time to time is how to work with someone you don't like. I can see how this could pose a problem. It is an issue that has and will continue to rear its head in our business ... actually in any business which assembles a group of people to work within the same workspace.
Radio is a form of show biz with egos sometimes ballooning up so large, some workers cannot get their heads through the studio door. In a perfect world, personalities and support staff would work towards the common goal of ratings and more revenue. However, envy, mistrust and an internal misguided understanding of the human spirit can lead to bitterness. Feelings get hurt and the some of the emotions turn to hate.
Welcome to another week of "As the Workplace Turns." If listeners only knew what goes on behind the microphone ... I hear about so much drama that I am starting to feel like Father Conventional. This jock's personal life took a turn towards middays.
Jock: It is hard to believe someone I work with would do this to me. I work with him. I can't work with him anymore, I hate him.
Coach: Calm down and tell me what's going on.
Jock: You sure you want to hear this?
Coach: It's fine, but I need to know if there is something I can help you with or do you just need someone to listen to you?
Jock: No, I have a question, but it's based on what happened.
Coach: Then go ahead and tell your story.
Jock: I was dating this woman and we even got an apartment together. I thought I knew her. One of the jocks here got appendicitis and wound up in the hospital. That's how I met Claudia; she was one of his nurses. She did not know anything about our station. She was separated and was in the process of getting a divorce. I thought things were going great until I came home one day and she broke up with me. Sam, we had been inseparable, I took her to station parties and events ... I thought we had something. The breakup came out of nowhere.
The next thing I know, I am heading into the station the next week on a Tuesday and coming out of the door it is her and the midday jock. I could not believe it; you should have seen the look on her their faces, both looked surprised. Usually I did not come in until an hour before my night show. The first thing out of his mouth "I can explain." I just kept walking to the elevator and headed upstairs. As soon as I stepped out of the elevator, the production director literally hauled me off to the production room. He could see the anger in my eyes. He told me that he knew the midday guy had been seeing Claudia before she broke up with me. He told me to be cool and don't let it f**k up my job.
Coach, I was so upset, I had to look at this guy at staff meetings. Even if he were attracted, how could he do this to a fellow employee? How the hell can I work with this guy? Every time I see him, my heart pounds and my hands automatically ball up into fists.
Coach: Is this a good job?
Jock: Until this, it had been a great place to work.
Coach: Okay then, the production director gave you good advice. Don't let this mess up your job. You do not have to like someone to work with them. Besides, unless he was your boss or board op, he has not control over how well you do your show.
I can completely relate to your feelings. I once had a PD who for some reason did not like me and kept trying to set me up so the GM would let him fire me.
Jock: How did you work for someone like that?
Coach: Ironically I did not know he was out to get me. It took a fellow jock to get me realize there was a problem. I will tell you about it, but first let me talk to you about how to work with someone you don't like,
Jock: That is why I got in touch with you. Based on some of the things I have read, you know a lot about being in a tight spot.
Coach: Thanks for the compliment. There is a game within the game of radio and office politics. Some things get personal and your situation is as personal as it gets. You have to bury your emotions at work and concentrate on your show and dealings with fellow personalities, including the guy you hate. Act as if nothing happened and from now on keep your personal life outside the station. Never again put yourself in a position that might cause you to kick somebody's butt. If you can afford it, get some therapy; a therapist might be able to help you put a clarity to things.
Jock: Is that how you handled your problem? What did you do?
Coach: My situation taught me a lesson on several fronts and it handled me before I could handle it.
Jock: Hmmn, now I am curious. Explain what you are talking about.
Coach: This legendary jock/PD came and took the place of the PD who elevated me from 10 until 2a to 6-10p. Like everyone else I was in awe, in fact the one and only time I allowed myself to feel that way. I used to listen to this guy and now he was my boss. I figured I could learn from him and I did. I learned how to reinforce a song title or artist in a brief informative way or by a play on words. However I did not know he was trying to get me fired so he could hire a buddy of his. I had great numbers and the National PD was my previous boss.
One of the other jocks tried to warn me about what this PD was trying to do. But I was still naïve and thought there was no way a person of his stature would want to harm someone who looked up to him.
Then everything came into focus the day he sent me on a van hit to an area where our signal started to fade. I was assigned to head out at 4 and my show started at 6. The jock driving kept saying "Wow, this is way out here." It was coming up on 5 and it dawned on me that if we did not head back now, I was going to be late for my shift. Finally the cobwebs cleared, it was then I realized it was what the PD was hoping for. So I told the jock to turn around and head back. I got back just in time before my show started.
Jock: That was messed up. Who was this PD and how did you live through what he was trying to do.
Coach: I will not tell you his name because he is still out here working. I did not make it through his underhandedness. While all this was going on, I was offered a job. He found out, went to the GM and convinced him I was going to leave and it would be best if he got somebody new. So I got fired the day before Thanksgiving and two weeks before the ratings came back which showed a substantial increase in my daypart.
I turned down the job I was offered and fortunately my previous boss got me a gig in the company in another city. I learned to put everyone on the same level and never on a pedestal.
Jock: Damn, that is a hell of a story. I see why you know the things you do.
Coach: You got it. My final words to you: Keep your eyes open and do your job. You will get much respect from the other personalities and your boss when they see how well you handle this situation. If it makes you feel any better, your actions will probably make the midday dude and your ex-girlfriend paranoid. Meanwhile think about the therapy thing.
In this business we are paid to perform and not to necessarily like who we work with. Bury your feeling and treat everyone the same regardless of how you might feel about them. Put on a show just like you do on the air, genuine is based on real or how good of an actor you are. Also, separate your personal life from your business interactions. The only exceptions would be for some company social functions. It takes strategy and patience to work around someone you do not like. In the end, it's about your performance and never theirs.