Don't Let Others Define You
November 3, 2015
Categories, labels and knowing your place ...these phrases and many others are used by many to try to limit your mobility by branding you. Raise your hand if you have heard: Your voice fits midday ... you don't look the part ...your style is too aggressive ... production directors need big voices ... too big to be a star ... that job would be better handled by a man ... or you are better suited for being an assistant.
You can have whatever you want, so do not let others define you. The whole labeling thing starts early and can affect self-esteem (good or bad), advancement and career choices. This personality has been labeled and wants to know if he has a chance to go farther in this business.
Jock: I just stepped into working full-time for the first time. Not sure which direction to go, but for right now I am doing night time, 7 until midnight. I hear the PD won't let anyone do anything else if he thinks they shouldn't. He seems nice enough and it is kind of confusing. I am thinking it's true because we have a MD who doesn't schedule music because the PD does it, and he also does mornings. I feel pushed down and I want to do so much more; I feel like I am seen as the night guy and that's all I will ever be.
Coach: You can't let those thoughts get into your head and settle for what you're doing. You will be fine, but don't let that one job define you and limit your future potential. Just work your butt off and do the job. You will go as far as you allow yourself.
Jock: But if I get labeled, won't I get stuck with it in this business?
Coach: I guess it could happen, but the chances are remote. Hopefully, nothing has happened to you at an early age to cause you to think this way. Things from our youth can affect us, good or bad, for years to come. I can remember an incident that could have made it harder for me at an early age.
I caught a cold followed by the measles and missed a lot of school in the first grade. When I returned to class my teacher determined I had missed too much time and might fall behind with my reading skills, so she moved me from the first to the second reading group. When I got home, both my parents and grandparents could see I was upset. I explained my teacher didn't think I was very smart anymore and I was now in the second reading group. After they soothed my ego, that night I overheard my grandmother talking on the phone to my teacher. Fortunately for me, she also was a teacher and on this occasion she used her friendship to stress to Mrs. Riley the impact changing my reading group status had on me. Although my grandmother taught in a different school district, my teacher apparently respected her words and sure enough the next day I was back in the first reading group. My social status with my peers had been restored and I can still remember a couple of the kids asking me what kind of stuff the second reading group was studying. Unknowingly, it was my first lesson in how labeling can affect your attitude and the attitudes of others.
Jock: So what you are saying is don't let being the night guy become a negative or let it hold me back.
Coach: You got it. Even if you think the PD is a jerk, you can learn from him or her. Your boss has skills and faults; learn from both as you find your way in this business. By the way, what do you want to become in radio?
Jock: I want to get into sports broadcasting.
Coach: Then you need to get yourself to a sports station as soon as possible. Trust me, do it as soon as possible. Meanwhile, while you're looking, check with the colleges around town for sports PA announcer jobs and start making contacts and friends at Sports radio stations. Use social media and never forget the power of the phone call. How did you get into doing nights at a music station?
Jock: I went away to college where everyone went home a lot on weekends and I did all these shifts on the air at the college station. There were bunches of music shows and I had nothing else to do but that and study. I did some sports stuff, too, but when I graduated, this was the first job I could find and now I am full-time.
Coach: I am glad you have a job, but as soon as you can, get yourself headed towards your chosen area in radio, Sports.
Jock: I know you are right; this music radio thing really is not me.
Coach: Until you find a job in Sports radio, keep learning everything you can, from editing, verbal presentation, and management styles. These three things will serve you well at any radio format.