Monday, January 15, 2018

What's The Biggest Mistake You've Ever Made In Your Work?

Answering the questions people have
asked (or I have asked myself) about
my past, present, or future.
A job recruiter asked me this question as she quizzed me on my work experience. She had an offer. I heard her out. I ended up giving her an oral resume. I had rehearsed my answers to the obvious trap-door questions people like to ask, such as "Why should we hire you?" But this one caught me slightly vulnerable.

I can't give you any one big mistake. I've made lots of little to moderate ones on the job. We all do. I consider myself blessed not to have made some potentially career-ending blunder that would end up getting somebody killed or sued.

So what did I tell this recruiter? I hearkened back to my days at that station in Texas, where I got caught in too much drama and didn't know how to handle it. My mistake wasn't managing enough. Or I let people manage me. Either way, I didn't learn how to get control of the situation. That's an answer my previous boss would have probably called "namby-pamby," but it ultimately led to my departure -- on my own terms, not anybody else's.

I'm not haunted by that mistake, so I don't consider it big. I'm haunted by other worries in the future, but not my past. When I left the Texas station, I had absolutely no regrets. I left for the right reasons and the right money. I left on good terms with the rest of the newsroom and the mentor who helped me get ready to leave the nest. I had grown up as a journalist and producer over five years, learning all sorts of things I should've learned in college. That's the learning curve of the real world. It comes with mistakes, big and little.

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