Career Lessons from TV

Because TV Doesn't Really Rot Your Brain

Archive for the ‘Getting Ahead’ Category

“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.

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Written by Reginald Bautista

October 22, 2009 at 3:33 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

Acing The Review on “Warehouse 13”

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warehouse13_breakdown

Artie get grilled with Mrs. Frederic (CCH Pounder) in "Warehouse 13"

For some, undergoing an annual review can be like facing the judges on “Top Chef” or any other reality competition show of your choice. On the latest episode of “Warehouse 13”, Artie takes a bold approach to a surprise review meeting with warehouse management called the “Regents”. With some documentation and some open communication, you can ace your review meeting with your pride and career intact.

In “Breakdown“, Pete and Myka are left to watch the warehouse while Artie runs an administrative errand. While on that errand, he’s invited to a meeting with Mrs. Frederic (played by CCH Pounder). The meeting turns out to be a surprise performance review of Artie, by the mysterious governing body of the warehouse called the “Regents”. As Artie is being grilled, he figures out the reason behind the meeting is their fear of Macpherson, a rogue ex-warehouse agent introduced in “Implosion“. Artie declares in a not-so-subtle way that the only way to stop Macpherson is to let him do his job. Although it would be nice to stick it to your manager on just how valuable you are to your company, there is a nicer, more PC way to do it.

Make Your Case

Patrick Erwin shares some simple tips to tackle your annual review in “Do You Panic at Review Time?“. Erwin writes that you should document the work you’ve been doing as well as your accomplishments to ensure that your manager hasn’t overlooked anything.

Evaluate Yourself

Erwin also writes you should be assessing yourself and taking steps to improve your performance from one review to the next.

Communicate with Your Boss

Finally, Erwin writes that you can take the edge off the fear of reviews by getting constant feedback from your boss or manager between review periods. They can give you guidance on how to improve and you can keep them on the same page as far what you’ve done and accomplished.

I’ve had my fair share of reviews myself, and I can say things go much better when you and your boss are on the same page. If you have regular contact with your boss, keep them posted on what you’re doing and getting guidance from them on what you should be doing, there won’t be any surprises during review time. It’s pretty tough to be a valuable contributor to your company if you don’t tell anyone what you’re doing, nor can you be a valuable contributor if your boss isn’t giving you any feedback on how to be more valuable to them or the company.

Any tips for surviving performance reviews? Post it here.

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Written by Reginald Bautista

September 9, 2009 at 4:07 pm

“Warehouse 13” – Prison of Fear and Regret

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We make our own hell. In the latest episode of “Warehouse 13”, Pete and Myka discover that the biggest challenges in our careers and our lives are the ones we make for ourselves. It’s in our hands to face these challenges head-on and overcome them.

In “Regrets” Pete and Myka investigate a prison with a mysterious increase in suicides. They discover that the suicides are being caused by hallucinations of people in their past they may have wronged. Pete sees his dead firefighter father. Myka sees her dead former partner Sam.  They’re both forced to confront the darkest moments of their lives to realize that the fear and regret that has shaped their lives has also been their prison. If you read my last past post, Joe Morton once again steals the show as an inmate and reverend with sage advice.

Regret has no place in your life. Your only salvation is here (tapping his heart with his hand).”

The cruelest prison is the one we make for ourselves out of fear and regret“, he further sages.

Pete takes the words to heart and frees himself from the regret he feels from failing to save his father, and helps Myka to overcome her guilt from failing to save her ex-partner. No matter what’s happened in your life you believe has held you back, you have the power to free yourself. If  fear is the “prison” you’ve made for yourself, Chad Levitt shares some advice on how to overcome it to promote yourself and your brand in “Is Fear Holding You Back?“.

If it’s regret that holds you back from your career and life goals, the only way to get past it is forgiveness. Whether it’s your fault or not, you’re the only one who can get you off the hook, and let you move on with your life. Trust me, I have plenty of reasons to throw myself in a personal prison and throw away the key, but I believe the best way to salvation is to achieve meaningful goals in your life. Keep doing good for yourself and others, and you’ll never be held back again.

You can refer to my last post “‘Eureka’ – Embracing FAIL” as it’s related to this one.  No matter what goals you may set for yourself, more often than not the biggest challenge you face is within you.

So what’s holding you back? Post it here.

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Written by Reginald Bautista

September 2, 2009 at 5:24 pm

“Eureka”- Embracing FAIL

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Colin Ferguson and Jordan Hinson in "Eureka"

Colin Ferguson and Jordan Hinson in "Eureka"

There’s a funny side, a painful side, and a tragic side to failing. What the last episode of “Eureka” shows us is the most meaningful side of failure- the “successful” side.

In “You Don’t Know Jack”, Sheriff Carter’s daughter Zoe (played by Jordan Hinson) is at a loss to decide what memories to add to Eureka’s version of a time capsule. From her perspective, all the memories she has of Eureka are of the mistakes she has made. Henry Deacon (played by Joe Morton), the mayor of Eureka does his best to change her point of view on mistakes and failure. “..mistakes are what makes the exceptional, possible” and “..mistakes can lead to new directions. Sometimes the wrong path, leads to the right path so just give it time, and you will find your OWN path“,  Henry sages. Never get tired of hearing that.

It’s growing trend in corporate culture to embrace mistakes and failures in order achieve greater success more quickly. Arguably one of the best examples of companies and employees embracing failure is a much socially shared video produced by Honda “FAILURE- The Secret to Success“.

I’ve been waiting to blog about this for a long time. It really is the one idea that keeps me going. Hopefully you have been, or will be working for a long time. In that time, if you ever fail or make a mistake, you’re actually doing it RIGHT. It’s hard to get anywhere much less know any real success unless you make mistakes and fall on your butt sometimes. Honda’s employees aren’t the only ones to realize it takes failure to achieve success. Any successful individual who’s above-board will tell you it takes a lot of failing to achieve success. Anyone you think is successful and hasn’t failed is either really good at hiding or lying about their mistakes, period.

No matter what mistakes you’ve made or if you’re the featured subject on the FAIL blog, if you learn from the past, let it inspire ideas about the future, believe in yourself and your dreams, you’ll end up being thankful for those mistakes when you finally hold success in your hands.

Got a story where failure led to success? Post it here.

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Written by Reginald Bautista

August 31, 2009 at 4:37 pm