Career Lessons from TV

Because TV Doesn't Really Rot Your Brain

“Heroes”- Get a Mentor

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Hiro mentors Emma in discovering her power in "Heroes"

Hiro mentors Emma in discovering her power in "Heroes"

Finally getting over that bug, and sinking my teeth into something new- mentors. One thing I haven’t been fortunate enough to have is a mentor in my professional life, but I’m absolutely convinced that it’s crucial to being successful. The latest episode of  “Heroes” drove it home.

In “Tabula Rasa”, more than one story line was running on the same theme. After learning that Hiro is dying, Peter asks for Noah’s help in finding someone with the power to heal. When they do find someone with that power( a teen named Jeremy Greer), they discover his power has developed so that he can take life as well, but doesn’t know how to control it. After Peter is accidentally shot, Noah desperately coaxes him to use his powers to heal Peter. Meanwhile Peter has referred Emma (played by Deanne Bray), someone whose just discovered her power, to Hiro. At this point her power frightens her, wants nothing of it and pleads with Hiro to help her get rid of it. Hiro shows her through a magic show that her power is a gift.

Everyone Needs a “Master Shifu”

I can’t avoid bringing it up because it’s on cable everyday. Everyone has gifts, great and small( and just plain weird), and it takes a Master Shifu from “Kung Fu Panda” to bring it out, develop it, and turn it into something awesome. Robert Half Technologies wrote an article finding and working with a mentor called “5 Steps to Help You Make the Most of a Mentorship“. Aside from the 5 steps, the most important idea they illustrate is that you may have raw talent and skill, but without experience to appropriately apply that talent, it’s not that helpful. A mentor can combine knowledge and experience with your natural talents.

Combining Old School and “Your” School

Good mentors hold themselves to a high standard. The high standard is usually defined by mentoring someone who through their own accomplishments  and experience, adds something new to the art,discipline, or job. Circle of life stuff, you know. So, should you decide on getting a mentor, make sure your talents, whatever they are,  mesh with their knowledge to create something that’s..you.

Got a good mentor? Share something about them here.

Written by Reginald Bautista

October 22, 2009 at 3:33 am

“Heroes” – Finding a Career Path

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Noah and Claire talk about new career paths in "Heroes"

Noah and Claire talk about new career paths in "Heroes"

Last night’s episode of “Heroes” looks at another side of careers common in today’s job market- being forced out of your job and career and forced to find another calling. So how does one find their calling?

In “Acceptance” Noah Bennet (played by Jack Coleman) has left his job with the government hunting mutants and has turned down any opportunities to do so for anyone else. Noah’s daughter Claire (played by Hayden Panetierre) visits him in his spartan apartment where he lives also facing divorce. As Claire spends the day trying to get her father to look for normal work, Noah’s at a loss on what to do next in his career in light of his dark and secretive past. Claire imparts a sage idea:

Life changes. We all change. Sometimes you, have to remember who you were, to figure out who you want to be.”

By the end of the episode, Noah realizes there’s no turning away from his life investigating and uncovering conspiracies regarding mutants.

Searching Your Soul for Your Career Path

There’s no easy way to look at yourself and finding your calling. It takes the slow working tools of life experience, pleasure, pain, triumph and tragedy to shape the passions that define your calling. An honest self examination of those passions and who you are as a whole can help you in your search. Alaina Love suggests identifying what kind of worker you are and evaluating opportunities as outlets for your passions in “Discover Your Passions to Find the Right Job“. Love has identified 10 archetypes to categorize what type of worker you are to figure out what kind of work you’d be happy doing.

Hard Looks (and Feedback) at Yourself and From Others

Emotion and stressful circumstances can make it difficult to get an honest look at who you are and who you want to be, which is why it’s important to do as much of it outside your head as possible:

1. Keep a Journal- get it on paper and look at it after you’ve gotten some distance from it. See if you gain any insight from what you’ve put down.

2. Ask “Trusted” Associates for Feedback- Notice I didn’t say friends or loved ones. While you need them for moral support, you need someone who’s going to be impartial about their impressions of you and your past work.

3. Revisit Things (and Find Things) That Inspire You- see if they’re still meaningful. See where they take you.

4. Make a Plan- once you’ve found a calling, make a plan to pursue it to include timelines and exit strategies. Point is not to get stuck or flounder if it doesn’t work out.

There’s no shame in finding yourself with out a path. Trick is not to beat yourself up, and to listen closely to yourself for the new path to who you want to be.

How did you find you calling? Share it here.

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Written by Reginald Bautista

October 6, 2009 at 10:32 pm

Letterman’s 800 lbs. Gorilla in the “Dollhouse”

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Adelle and Victor have an improper affair on "Dollhouse"

Adelle and Victor have an improper affair on "Dollhouse"

I really don’t like writing about scandal, but the 800 lbs. gorilla brought into the room by David Letterman’s criminal case really makes it hard to ignore. While I’m still a fan, the indiscreet activities divulged in his case have brought up once again the subject of sexual relations in the workplace. It was also addressed in an episode of the “Dollhouse”, where its chief Adelle had some indiscretions of her own.

For the non-watchers, “Dollhouse” is about a powerful organization which underground activities include pimping out men and women whose personalities have been wiped and replaced with personalities and skills “made to order” for each client. Personalities include the obvious “professional escorts” to kidnapping negotiator (yeah, sounds so wrong on so many levels, but you still wanna find out what happens next). In ” A Spy in the House of Love”, we learn that the Dollhouse chief executive Adelle (played by Olivia Williams) has appropriated one of her “dolls” (in-house term is “active”) for her own personal use. Under the guise of a fake client, she has Victor (played by Enver Gjokaj) programmed to be her perfect romantic partner. By the end of the episode even the chief of a futuristic whorehouse thinks its wrong (even though he knows nothing about it), and ends the affair.

Power and Sex are a Bad Mix (at least for one) in the Workplace

As I’ve written before, there are risks as well as benefits to romance at the office, but when it involves superiors and their subordinates, it’s gets more risky than beneficial. Aside from extortion which is unfortunately Letterman’s case, you’re at least running the risk of perceived favoritism, because you really can’t keep a secret like that at work. I’m not even going to get into when one of them, either of them is married, or attached to someone else. You can read more on that in mainstream media. The point is, if you are a boss in your company, if you get involved with your employees, you’re playing with fire. Same thing applies going the other way. An imbalance of power, even in consensual relationships, makes it a toxic one. If you find yourself in one, you have 2 plays- quit, or if there’s illegal activities, step up and blow the whistle.

Got a story about workplace affairs? Share it here (don’t use real names though, not interested).

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Written by Reginald Bautista

October 4, 2009 at 12:41 am

“Castle”- Owning Up To Your FAIL

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Richard Castle's (Nathan Fillion) "in a pinch" for his mistake on "Castle"

Richard Castle's (Nathan Fillion) "in a pinch" for his mistake on "Castle"

Not that big a fan of shows about murder mysteries, but “Castle” is admittedly good stuff. In the season premiere, the only way to keep his ‘ride along’ arrangement with Det. Beckett is to admit he screwed up when he dug in to her mother’s murder case. In an age where denying responsibility is the norm, should you ever own up to your own mistakes at work or in your career in general?

The quick rundown for the uninitiated- “Castle” is about mystery novelist Richard Castle (played by Nathan Fillion) who investigates murders with NYPD Detective Kate Beckett (played by Stana Katic) for the sake of research for his current and future novels( I’ll save the workplace romance innuendos for another post). In”Deep in Death”, Castle has jeopardized his arrangement with Beckett by investigating into her mother’s murder. He thought he was trying to put the case to rest for her. She thinks he dug up something she’s tried for so long to put behind her. They both agree that once they solve the case of white-collar pro turn dead drug mule is solved, Castle is done tagging along on her cases. After they’ve solved the case, Castle’s daughter Alexis (played by Molly C. Quinn) discusses a boyfriend FAIL moment with her father. She ends by asking why can’t guys just say they’re sorry. Castle thanks and hugs his daughter, goes straight to the police station and apologizes in earnest to Beckett, who decides to change her mind about ending the arrangement.

FAIL- Own It or Deny It?

While its debatable whether or not Castle got off too easy, it’s important to determine(for each of us) how we handle accountability for our mistakes not just at work, but in general. Eve Tahmincioglu looks at the risks/benefits of whether or not to admit a mistake in “Should You Admit a Mistake?“.

I’m an Owner

A couple of weeks ago, I had plans with the family to fry a turkey breast, which involves a rather large, and dangerous outdoor fryer. The day we were supposed to cook it, the ‘head chef’ (my sister) had some scheduling issues the rest of us weren’t aware of and were left to assume we’re to cook the turkey breast on our own. After a butt-load of mis-communication and erroneous assumptions later, I ended up burning a whole at the bottom of the fryer. Totally owned it, which enabled me along with the rest of us to improvise a method of frying a turkey breast indoors, WITHOUT the house fire. The only way I can feel better about screwing up and rectifying the situation is for me to own it. I know it depends on the individual, what they did, and what the situation is before deciding to own up to something, but it’s just easier for me to own it. I think it’s wasteful to point fingers, especially before a problem is solved, and I really like being part of the solution, even if I caused the problem to begin with.

Should you own or deny your mistakes? Weigh in here.

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Written by Reginald Bautista

September 29, 2009 at 9:44 pm

“Heroes”- Chasing Their Dream Careers

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Hiro and Ando chase their superhero dream careers on "Heroes"

Ando and Hiro chase their superhero dream careers on "Heroes"

Just getting my feet wet with the new fall TV season. While the jury’s still out on new shows, I’ve been a fan of “Heroes” almost from the beginning. In the 2-hour season premiere, Hiro, Ando and Peter Petrelli are chasing their dreams of becoming true-blue superheroes. When it comes to our careers, how can we be successful without dreams and the will to pursue them?

In the Season 4 premiere, Hiro (played by Masi Oka) and Ando (played by James Kyson Lee) are intent on making superheroism a profession by starting their own heroes for hire business called “Dial a Her0″. Meanwhile, on the other side of the planet, Peter (played by Milo Ventimiglia) is taking the superhero/alter ego route by playing a mild mannered NYC EMS Tech, while secretly using his super powers to save people’s lives. All are trying to live their lives on their own terms after an unending string of events that have forced them to use, lose and regain their powers to save humanity in one way, or another.

Don’t Just Dream It, Do It

For me, life can sometimes feel like it’s forcing me to live on its terms, pulled one way or another by obligation and circumstance. The only way to live your life or develop your career the way you want is to HAVE dreams and to PURSUE them.  Curt Rosengren suggests filling in the blanks of your dream to make it reality in “How to Move Forward With Action or Dream“.

Make Sure It Comes From the Right Place

However your dream is borne, make sure it comes from the right place- heart and soul. You’ll need both to make your dream come true. If it comes from anywhere else, you won’t have the courage or the passion to take one step.

What motivates you to chase your dreams? Share it here.

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Written by Reginald Bautista

September 26, 2009 at 9:01 pm

“Eureka” – Career Choices to Make

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Jack Carter facing change and choices on "Eureka"

Jack Carter facing change and choices on "Eureka"

I thought I would save my next post for when the fall TV season is in full swing, but I felt it was important to throw this one out there. In the season finale of “Eureka”, Sheriff Carter is faced with a life choice. Made me wonder what is the best way to handle life choices such as career change without creating another ‘fail’ moment.

In “What Goes Around, Comes Around”, Carter faces a couple of big changes in his life. His daughter Zoe is going away to attend Harvard. His girlfriend Tess (played by Jaime Ray Newman) is leaving for a job in Australia. Carter finds himself wondering whether to follow Tess to Australia (which may or may not end his tenure in Eureka) or not. Obviously he’s sticking around or else they’d have to call the show whatever Australian town he’d move to, but the point is we all face big decisions, in our lives and our careers. Is there a way to make those decisions less scary? Selena Dehne has some suggestions in “Confused About Changing Careers?“. Aside from doing research into your decision, Dehne also writes that you should consider alternatives to retraining and exploring your career path options in your career change.

Finding Yourself Is Never Easy

For those NOT blessed enough to find your calling when you were a kid, it can be scary making a career change. I’ve made several myself. The biggest question you have to ask yourself is are you making this change for you and your own happiness, or out of obligation to something or someone else. If it’s the latter, chances are it won’t last. Given changes made with the best of intentions still may not pan out, but hopefully you would’ve learned something valuable and applied that knowledge to new experiences. So, if you do find yourself facing a change, my advice is to be sure it’s in the pursuit of your own happiness.

How do you handle career and life changes? Share it here.

Know of a TV show you’d like me to write about? Let me know by using the Contact Me link.

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Written by Reginald Bautista

September 22, 2009 at 5:35 am

“Warehouse 13″- “Married” to Your Co-Worker?

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Myka and Pete's close working relationship on "Warehouse 13"

Myka and Pete's close working relationship on "Warehouse 13"

In any workplace, it’s a nice to have a co-worker you can count on, even though appearances can be deceiving. It’s hard to dispute that what makes “Warehouse 13″ entertaining is the “relationship” between Pete and Myka. While the sexual tension is amusing, it’s their professional and platonic relationship that can be beneficial, but misconstrued by others.

In “Nevermore“, Pete follows Myka as she visits her parents in light of a family emergency regarding her father (played by Michael Hogan). Turns out the family emergency involves an artifact and they spend the episode trying to neutralize it. During the episode, it’s apparent the bond between Pete and Myka grows stronger as a result of what she and her parents are going through. In larger terms, the workplace is a stressful environment and having a trusted partner and friend to help you deal is a huge help in my book.

What It Means to Have a “Work Spouse”

Call it what you will. Your best friend at work. Your best work buddy. Your actual “partner” at work. Having someone you can trust and work closely together can be beneficial to your work and career as whole. Careerbuilder.com helps to determine whether or not you have what they call a “work spouse” in “7 Signs You Have a Work Spouse“. The article also explores the risks and benefits of having one. It’s not surprising that the benefits and risks are similar to those for dating someone in the workplace, minus the sex part. The trust, teamwork and productivity are offset by other co-workers feeling excluded, the proximity to co-workers where your working relationships have gone sour, and jealousy of actual spouses.

Same Sex Work Spouse

I would add that the your work spouse doesn’t have to be of the opposite sex. I have contacts that outright call their business partners their “spouse” even though they’re of the same sex. I believe the same benefits and risks still apply though.

From my point-of-view it’s nice to have a “battle buddy” as those from the military would say. It can be tough dealing with anything alone. As with any relationship, it takes work to make it work, but it’s also important to be as above board and transparent as possible to any third parties, whomever they may be.

What’s your “work marriage” like? Post it here.

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Written by Reginald Bautista

September 16, 2009 at 4:38 pm

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