Don’t Take Yourself Too Seriously – Have a Sense of Humor
Being a woman in the business world requires a delicate balance – like that of an Olympic gymnast.
Women are extremely concerned about their appearance, home life, husband’s ego (if married), kid’s perceptions – along with navigating her way through the business community.
In Victorville, I learned that being tough, yet feminine so you wouldn’t come off as a you-know-what requires a finesse that can only be learned. Many times I tipped too far on one side of the feminine scale and came off too vulnerable and weak and was taken advantage of.
Many times, I tipped too far on the other side of the harsh business side of the scale and came off as a “stone cold you-know-what”.
The marketing, promotions and public relations segment of small market radio is where I had the most fun. For many years, I had the privilege of participating in numerous charitable events, concerts, parades, local sporting events, live broadcasts, leadership conferences, festivals and fairs – you name it. I had great experiences as part of a planning committee from start to completion, and I was happy to be a resource for the organization I was connected to.
I volunteered my own time, my radio time, and established good working relationships with business owners, managers, directors, CEOs, public officials and the general public.
But it wasn’t always perfect; lots of mistakes were made along the way. I tend to have a sassy personality, which as a radio personality was completely appropriate, but not always in the board room. I still find myself having to walk that very thin line of holding my sassiness in when I’m in a meeting. It often depends on whether the person sitting across from me takes themselves too seriously or not.
I’ve learned as I’ve gained years of experience, that I can’t change my personality – but I can control whom I let it loose for!
After about ten or twelve years into the radio business, and the Victorville business community, I knew my way around and was no longer a rookie by any sense of the definition. I was in charge of all our station promotions and the events we became involved in. Since this was the family business, I also had some say over what happened with our sales and advertising department.
The community had a minor league baseball team and our station had been a big supporter of the team and its organization from the very beginning. Our AM station was contracted to carry their games, as we already carried The Los Angeles Dodgers and were the “official” sports station in Victorville.
After a few years, and new general manager was hired on for the team, and when one of our account executives paid him a visit to talk about advertising and promoting games and how we could work together, this new and very young manager laughed at him and stated, “We are a the only thing in town, we don’t need the local media”.
That didn’t sit well with my sales rep, who was a huge fan and booster of the team. It didn’t sit well with me either. We were no longer carrying the games for the team, but for years we’d partnered in hundreds of promotions with this team, and it had always been a great relationship. Now, this new guy comes in, to this small town, and displays an attitude of disdain for the local media and businesses.
Do you think that he took himself too seriously?
Do you think that I took it too seriously? Actually, I maintained a sense of humor about it throughout the entire baseball season.
I had nothing to lose by making the decision that I made. We wrote a letter of response to the manager and explained to him the former relationship between the radio station and the team, and let him know that we appreciate his position. However, since he didn’t need us to promote his team, or his games, or let our audience know what the score of last night’s game was or who they were playing tomorrow, then we won’t do it.
The season was more than halfway over when the manager began making his public relations apology tour to all the media outlets in town. He figured out that he actually did need media coverage and humbled himself to bring ballpark food to the station and serve us lunch. We obliged his request and accepted his apology, but the relationship was tarnished, and we all knew it.
I don’t recall what the other stations or news outlets did for the team, but I know that, this particular baseball season, our radio station never mentioned the team. Not in any of our sports reports, news reports, community calendar of events, or anything at all. We used to have players come in and be on our morning radio program, but there were no such visits this season.
Who took themselves too seriously in this scenario? I’m sure it wasn’t entirely my decision, I’m sure that Dad and other staff were all on board, but for this particular decision, because of my current role as Promotions and Marketing Director, I was the “face” of the decision to completely black out any publicity for this minor league team.
We didn’t put an “end” to the team, but I don’t think the manager lasted beyond the one season and a new manager was hired.
I don’t even remember his name, and I wonder if he remembers mine, after all – this was one of those occasions where I had to make a harsh decision to show strength in business, but from my perspective – I kept a sense of humor about it.
It’s a fine line, man or woman – and it’s so important not to take yourself so seriously. Whatever difficult decisions need to made in your career, home-life, relationships – look at it as an opportunity to learn and grow.