A Jungle of Egos

He had a beard and really good pipes.  That’s all I remember about this guy.  At the time I was a senior at Temple University, but he was older, getting is degree in his mid 20’s I suppose.  We were both on the student radio station and his quote has always stayed with me:

“I’m not going into broadcasting because it’s a jungle of egos.”

Of course “jungle of egos” can apply to almost any profession.  But it’s especially applicable to a business where competition is keyed to creativity and performance. Broadcasting.

I thought of “jungle of egos” just the other day when a client complained about his boss.  My client claimed the woman promised him a promotion, then gave it to someone else.  Not an especially unusual occurrence, whether in broadcasting or business.  But for my client, the broken promise hit him especially hard, causing him to question his very future in the business. 

Another client of mine was having similar problems with her news director and just up and quit, even before she acquired employment at another station.  In both cases, each of my clients appeared to have good cases against their superiors.  And my heart was out to each of them.
But you have to be careful not to let your own ego get the best of you.   Even if you think—even if you know—you are right. 

Maybe this is rooted in my own childhood—my hard-working father had issues with authority and often bounced from job to job.  But my point is, when you think you’ve been wronged by a boss or a co-worker you have to be careful you don’t react emotionally.  At the moment you feel you’ve been theoretically “punched in the stomach” because you were denied a promotion or you were demoted, you have to take a breath, accept your fate and walk away.  When it’s appropriate, when you’re by yourself or in the company of a trusted friend or mentor, feel free to let loose.  Then try to rationally look at the situation and turn it into a positive.  In other words, attempt to actually feel good about the fact you kept your cool.  Then, think how you can rationally rectify the situation, either within the framework of your current job or how you can prepare yourself to look for another position.  In other words, once you’re calm, take that negative and turn it into positive energy. 

Bottom line—you don’t want to burn any bridges.  It’s amazing how many people you’ll see time and again throughout your broadcasting career.  People in our business who can control their egos are highly regarded.  Comport yourself as the proverbial duck—be calm on the surface, but paddle like all heck underneath.

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