Monday, August 13, 2007

Attitude Adjustment

"The entertainment industry is a fast paced, dynamic environment. ...The common thread that I have observed across those that do well in the industry, moved up successfully, is a lack of attitude – the negative kind. Perhaps older (not literally – just figuratively) generations of the industry have succeeded in bullying their way to the top – not anymore. Executives want team players, positive attitudes. Do you have one?"

That's a very good question asked by Ellen Goldsmith, VP, Human Resources for FreemantleMedia North America in Breaking In, a Variety.com weblog. Do I have a good attitude? Yes, most days. But 4 years ago when I was just getting my foot in the entertainment door, my attitude was not so good. Constantly running to Starbucks, cleaning refrigerators, walking dogs, and carrying executives' bags wore on my nerves. I kept telling myself it was all a part of "paying your dues." But in reality, I felt those stressful moments editing in hectic news rooms and long production days field producing in Carolina's sticky heat was payment enough. Little did I know, those dues were not transferable.

Most of those days I had a "This is some bull (cough)!" attitude. Like a motel with a large, bright neon sign I was open for business, but closed to doing certain menial jobs that supposedly proved my willingness to succeed. I kept thinking what did cleaning up the messy spills of executives and coordinators have to with producing? And what was I to learn by walking the A-List producer's rambunctious pet other than the best places for a dog to take a poop along Sunset Gower studios? My not-so-happy attitude stemmed from those questions.

So what kept me from not letting Foofoo--I changed his name to protect the innocent--run across busy Sunset Boulevard without a leash? Besides the fact that I like animals, I constantly reminded myself of the thousands of people who wanted to be in my position. And secondly, I told myself that Hollywood had not invited me here, I chose to come. What I was experiencing was a rite of passage. I was not the first, nor would I be the last to go through it. And If I did not change my attitude with a quickness, I would never get to where I really wanted to in the industry.

That said, if working in this industry teaches you nothing else, it will give you a lesson in people skills. Even if your boss is a jerk, you are expected to take the high road. Trying to understand them, viewing them as a customer, and communicating effectively should all be a part of your master plan if you want to move up Goldsmith says. Yet, if none of that works for you, I suggest you send her your resume, maybe Variety is hiring.

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