Career Lessons from TV

Because TV Doesn't Really Rot Your Brain

Posts Tagged ‘Royal Pains

The “Royal Pains” of Self-Employment

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Hank faces the possible end of HankMed in "Royal Pains"

Hank faces the possible end of HankMed in "Royal Pains"

In the season finale of “Royal Pains”, we see HankMed coming apart at the seems. Divya’s getting married and Evan has underhandedly lost all the company’s money in a scam involving his father. While the episode can illustrate the pitfalls of running your own business, there are other issues to consider when considering self-employment.

While Hank up until now has been successful working for himself as a concierge doctor, the circumstances around his venture into self-employment aren’t exactly typical. Like any other life changing decision, there are factors to consider before going down this road. Aside from the entrepreneurial questions you have to answer, there are also financial, legal and personality issues that factor into a successful business. Martha E. Mangelsdorf provides a brief questionnaire of all the things to consider before working for yourself in “Should You Try Self-employment? 12 Things to Consider“.

Having tried self-employment myself, I can say the article asks some very good questions as well as providing other resources to help you start your own business. I can also say that it takes a lot of soul-searching to decide whether or not you’re suited for self employment. You’ll need passion and ability to manage and minimize risk to keep your business both profitable and personally rewarding. While the season finale ends in a cliffhanger, you know Hank will use his uncanny ability to think on his feet to save his practice and “probably” his relationship with Jill. If you can think on your feet too, that’s a big plus in working for yourself.

As the star of your own show, take a page from Hank’s story. As he did in the Pilot, put some serious thought in before starting your own business. It could mean the difference between a defining success or a forgettable failure.

What are your questions about starting your own business? Post it here.

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Written by Reginald Bautista

August 28, 2009 at 4:20 pm

“Royal Pains”- The Ground Rules of Flirting in the Workplace

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OK, so I’ve written a post on a similar subject in ” ‘Royal Pains’ – Dating In The Workplace” , but there’s a slightly different angle that’s also a staple of  the workplace and an admittedly  entertaining part of the TV show- flirting.

Mark Feuerstein and Jill Flint in "Royal Pains"

Mark Feuerstein and Jill Flint in "Royal Pains"

As I’ve said before, this one isn’t going to be something to help you ace your next interview, or get you that raise you’ve needed , like,  ‘forever’, but it’s something that’s part of the workplace environment that can do serious damage to your career if you’re not careful.  In “Nobody’s Perfect”, Jill’s (almost) ex-husband  Charlie (played by Bruno Campos),  doesn’t really want to make the divorce final, and in subtle and not-so-subtle ways flirts with her in an attempt to win her back. First a trip down memory lane, and then signing the divorce papers “Give me one more chance”. Complicates (but makes for good TV) things between Jill and Hank.

While it’s fun to watch workplace flirting and romance on TV, the twists and turns when they’re happening to you probably won’t be nearly as fun. While dating is common in a place you’re stuck 40 or more hours a week, flirting is even more so. Even though it isn’t as clearly defined as dating, there are still boundaries to respect and rules to follow if you don’t want to ruin your job. Mary Lorenz has some pointers, all the way through to relationship phase in “Is It OK to Flirt at Work?“. Highlights from what Lorenz writes is to keep it relatively clean (i.e. PG rated), develop good relationships with your cowokers first so they know where you’re coming from, pay attention to nonverbal feedback, and know your audience. If the two of you like to take it to the next level, Lorenz writes that you should both be upfront about intentions.

For me, flirting is like my sense of humor- I don’t mean to be, it just comes out that way. One rule I’ve always had is that I wouldn’t initiate flirting,  unless I knew the other person relatively well enough that they wouldn’t kick me in my man bits for doing so.  In the end,  I’d say it’s harmless, but unless you like sexual harrassment seminars, my advice is keep a leash on it, will ya?

Think flirting’s OK at work? Post your thoughts here.

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Written by Reginald Bautista

August 21, 2009 at 3:49 pm

When Clients Become “Royal Pains”

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If you’re in any business where you have to keep a client happy, you’re inevitably going to run into one that doesn’t know, or doesn’t care about boundaries. On the latest episode of “Royal Pains”, Hank faces one of his most difficult clients yet. Thankfully, unless you’re a concierge doctor, you won’t have to save your client’s life with the contents of someone’s purse. You just need to know the tricks to handling ‘that’ kind of customer.

In “Am I Blue?” Hank has to help a client’s father (played by Andrew McCarthy) overcome drug addiction. As patients go, drug addicts aren’t the favorites of health care professionals. They lie, cheat, and firmly believe there’s an easy way out. Even after Hank saves him from a crash treatment gone awry (which Hank refused to assist him in), He still manages to keep a stash on him until finally his son catches him and takes him to a drug treatment center himself.

While Hank had some help keeping his patient in line, all you may have to deal with an unruly client is some sage advice. Jun Loayza shares some pointers in “Dealing with a Needy Client“. As Loayza writes, it’s important to set expectations about what you’re delivering and how you deliver it. Loayza also writes that you should stand firm on your ground rules and if the client is beyond reason, re-evaluate whether or not that client is worth keeping.

Difficult Clients Problems Can be Solved (Or Not)

I’ve had my share of  ‘those’ clients myself. The way I see it, if you strip away the drama and the perception that the world is going to end, it’s just another problem to be solved. The problem I refer to is a matter of compromised trust. Whether you can repair that trust with clarifying the issue, escalating it to someone better paid to deal with it (if you’re the owner, consider making a referral to your competitor), or just listening, it all depends on the situation. Just remember that a business arrangement has to benefit all parties, or else it may be best to part ways.

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Written by Reginald Bautista

August 19, 2009 at 2:55 pm

“Royal Pains”- Blog Your Way to a Job

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A genius move by the folks at USA Network highlights a new trend in today’s job search. The “Royal Pains” website now features a real-life doctor blogging about the medical conditions featured on the show and questions from the fans. If you’re in the job hunt, you could use blogging to show off your expertise, as well as your writing and communication skills.

Dr. Irving blogs for "Royal Pains"

Dr. Irving blogs for "Royal Pains"

I wish they would’ve gotten a real spy to blog for “Burn Notice”, but I guess they’d get into trouble for sharing the recipe for explosives using fertilizer and toothpaste. Anyway, Dr. Irving’s Blog on the “Royal Pains” website is a great way to bring the entertaining aspects of the show into real life for the fans to enjoy and connect with.

Strutting Your Stuff With a Blog

Whether you’re entering the job market for the first time, or back in the market after a long stint of employment, you know something. Sharing that knowledge through a blog can give potential employers a better idea of your knowledge, experience, and personality. It also shows off really important soft skills such as writing and clear communication. Tara Weiss can help you with some starter tips for your blog in “Blogging Your Way Into A Job“.

One thing to remember when writing your posts is to have fun with it. It doesn’t matter if you’re an actuary or a Colorado River guide, let your passion and enthusiasm about what you do come out in your writing (in a natural way, don’t force it).

Already have a blog for your job hunt? Post it here.

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Written by Reginald Bautista

August 14, 2009 at 2:36 pm

“Royal Pains”- Dating In The Workplace

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Honestly, I haven’t done this myself, but the last episode of “Royal Pains” takes a look at dating in the workplace.

Mark Feuerstein and Jill Flint in "Royal Pains"

Mark Feuerstein and Jill Flint in "Royal Pains"

It’s not exactly advice on how to get promoted, or how to avoid getting laid off, but if a workplace relationship goes south, it could affect how you perform your job, or how your workplace perceives you. In the last episode, Hank offers to take an an open ER position in Jill’s hospital. Given that their both romantically involved and Jill’s relationship with Hank has brought up questions at her workplace already, the proposition seems risky. Hank sees it as an opportunity to develop their relationship. In dramatic TV fashion, neither Jill or Hank have to risk the pitfalls of dating someone at work- Jill’s ex-husband Charlie takes the ER job and further complicates their relationship.

I’m not saying that dating in the workplace is always a bad thing. I would say it’s complicated, though. A Bizzywomen.com article on “Dating Women- Dating Women in the Workplace” outlines the pros and cons of dating someone in the workplace. Assuming your company policies on dating co-workers allows it, and there are no issues of favoritism because of position and status, the article states it can grease the wheels in developing relationships because of the familiarity and time spent together. It can also help the company as healthy relationships can increase productivity.

Again, dating in the workplace is complicated. When a workplace relationship doesn’t work out, the article states that it can be a problem seeing your ex everyday and having the whole office privy to how ugly the fallout was. Goes without saying your morale and productivity take a header.

In the end, it’s up to you to decide if the complications of workplace dating are worth the risk. It could turn out great, but if not, hearing “your breakup is TV material” is really NOT a compliment.

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Written by Reginald Bautista

August 10, 2009 at 8:49 pm

“Royal Pains” – Agent of ‘Career’ Change

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Sadly, it’s not anything grandiose as that, but it’s another amusing example of how USA Network’s social media offerings work the “career advice” angle.

Mark Feuerstein as Hank Lawson on the "Royal Pains" Website

Mark Feuerstein as Hank Lawson on the "Royal Pains" Website

The “Royal Pains” website format is nearly identical to the format of the “Burn Notice” website. The only difference is that the “Royal Pains” website is about doctors and the Hamptons, not spies and Miami. One interesting section is called the “Could You Make It As A Concierge Doctor?“. It’s a fun spin on career assessment tests administered by career counseling services. It’s not so much about medicine, but your attitudes about available medical supplies, work environment, bedside manner, schedules and rich people. Not that I cared for being a concierge doctor but I took it anyway. It’s nice to know in a pretend world I can hack it.

In the real world though, it’s important to do some introspection and research if you’re thinking about changing careers, as Barbara Reinhold suggests in “The 10 Worst Mistakes Career Changers Make“. The one thing Reinhold writes about that I can identify with to a degree is using money as a deciding factor. Whether it’s greed or desperation driven, it’s gonna end up biting you in the long run if you let money decide your career moves. I’ve learned that lesson all too well, and now I’m pursuing my career goals with some self-knowledge and awareness of skills. Regardless of your reasons for changing careers, it’s important to do your homework before you take the big step.

Know of any web offerings that helped you in your career change? Post it here.

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Written by Reginald Bautista

August 1, 2009 at 8:02 pm

Lesson from “Royal Pains”- In Boss You Trust (or Not)

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While there may be many reasons for you to be at your job, it’s widely proclaimed that the biggest reason why you’ll leave is your boss. As the latest episode of  “Royal Pains” shows us, a critical issue that could come between you and your boss is trust.

When Hank learns that his de facto boss, Boris is keeping secrets from him, he forces Boris to come clean under the threat of walking away. Boris reveals to Hank that he’s keeping a shark in his basement for research, and the marine biologist Hank treated for injuries was studying it. At the end,  Hank realizes too late that the shark is linked to Boris’ health. Boris leaves on an extended road trip before Hank can pry any further. It was a no brainer for him to walk away from a situation where secrets kept from him affected the way he practiced medicine. If your boss keeps secrets that you suspect affect your work, you may consider doing the same thing.

Discover How Dark The Secrets Are

As Anthony Balderrama writes in “When You Don’t Trust Your Boss“, if you suspect your boss is keeping secrets, it’s important to identify the rationale behind your suspicion. Is it just perception and bias, or is there hard evidence? If you determine that your boss IS keeping secrets, figure out if those secrets go against your personal beliefs, or the law.  If the secrets affect your personal beliefs, make a decision on whether or not you can live with it as Hank did. If the secrets are of an illegal nature, or violate company policy, you may have to report it, but be careful because if you don’t know who to trust, it could blow back on you. The best defense, as Balderrama writes, is documenting the interaction between you and your boss.

As For Me…

If there’s one thing I learned in my work experience, it’s that you should always do your best to figure out where everyone’s coming from, especially your boss. Not only does it foster trust but also enables you to serve the company’s interests above and beyond what you’re told to do. At the very least, you’ll know who to be careful of, and if appropriate why you need to leave. If they are keeping secrets, it’s always a good idea to know why. In many cases, bosses have the best intentions, but the worst judgement in acting on them (again not ragging on any of my past bosses). If you value your current job and think it’s worth saving, you might try going to your boss to confirm their intentions, and possibly suggest more desirable and transparent options to best serve their interests. Do your best not to put them on the spot unless you have to.  Of course, it’s up to you if the trust irrevocably broken, but appealing to the better side of people has always helped me avoid stress related health issues. No, it’s not easy out there, and in times like these, people are more likely to look out for themselves than anyone else. However, if you can show someone that you’re not out to get them, secrets and trust won’t be much of an issue.

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Written by Reginald Bautista

July 27, 2009 at 3:21 pm