They say shoes make the man so I sucked it up and bought my first pair of Steve Madden’s. Charcoal grey, soft leather, perfect laces. Even my kids were impressed. Then I got fitted for my new suit. Black with subtle lines, plain front, no pleats. Perfect. Last stop was the hair salon. Top cut with scissors. Beard trimmed number two blade. Looking sharp. Shoes. Suit. Hair.
Resume. Interviews. New beginnings.
It’s hardly what I expected to be doing in the middle of summer. But then again, this is shaping up to be no ordinary summer. I’ve suddenly found myself in the workplace dance again, putting my best foot forward for a future employer.
The first meetings were an eye opener. I was nervous, excited, apprehensive, and clearly out of practice. The questions: So, what happened? What do I enjoy about my job? Where do I see myself down the road? Where do I see the business going? But a funny thing happened. The more I talked, the more I felt comfortable. I needed to be honest and speak from the heart. I needed to just BE me.
This is the toughest one to answer. The workplace is going through changes and while they didn’t really tell me WHY I was leaving, I know I was proud of the work we did for sure. I really love my colleagues and what we accomplished and I wish them all the best in the future, even if I can’t wait to compete against them.
What do I enjoy about my job?
It’s changed a lot over the years. The joy I get now is from mentoring people, working with reporters, crafting scripts with producers, strategizing how to get the big stories. More than ever, THEIR success has become my joy.
Where do I see myself down the road?
I’d love to contribute in a high level role within a news organization. But my eyes are wide open. Maybe my future is in PR or social media. I recognize that things are changing so fast and there’s a real opportunity for me to blend my talents.
Where do I see the business going?
Speaking specifically to my media friends right now, I’ve never been more energized. As of this week, I finished initial meetings with all the TV newsrooms in LA. I’ve met incredible people, dedicated people, creative people. While there are definitely challenges we face, from eroding viewership to tightening budgets, there are people ready to meet the challenges with new ideas, new technology, and most importantly, a deep passion for telling a good story for the community we serve.
I wore my new shoes for each of the meetings then came home each afternoon and carefully placed them back in the box. Maybe they WERE my good luck charm and I didn’t want to scuff them up. I felt so fortunate just to get face to face with the people at the top of LA media: TV, radio, even syndicated programming. But then I started realizing something. My shoes looked great, but no one ever asked about my shoes. Not a single person.
And then it dawned on me. As it turns out, shoes didn’t make THIS man. Hard work, determination, and sacrifice did. Loyalty, friendship, and compassion did. PASSION did. They’re the same things that made many of my former and future coworkers too. We ALL share some of these same characteristics. And just because I’m looking for that new opportunity doesn’t mean the qualities that made me who I am, still aren’t there. They made me once. They’ll make me again. Putting my best foot forward in a new pair of shoes.
LinkedIn: Peter Wilgoren