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Am I facing unfair treatment?

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by WestCoastWriter, Aug 11, 2006.

  1. Satchel Pooch

    Satchel Pooch Member

    " "

    I know this isn't a slam-golf thread, but damn that felt good ... and I didn't even write it.
  2. WestCoastWriter

    WestCoastWriter New Member

    Thanks, at least, for bringing a smile to my face with that.

    But here's the thing...I don't WANT to hate this guy. I wan't to take advantage of his knowledge in every possible way.

    One thing: I've been doing this for a while now. And over the years, I've come to understand that I'm never going to be buddy-buddy with most of my coworkers/superiors. I don't really follow sports much outside of the office or my beat. I politely decline the fantasy baseball team or the company softball team. I have my own life and interests and hobbies, and I believe in the pursuit of a balanced lifestyle.

    I understand the trade-off is that, though I get along with everyone, I won't necessarily be invited to the bar across the street. And that's fine. I'm not asking my SE to be buddies with me like he is with his golf buddies. I just want a productive employee-boss relationship for as long as I'm here.
  3. Ace

    Ace Well-Known Member

    Sounds like somebody has the yips.

    Hey, westcoast is the one who noticed the trend. I say, you may want to do something about it.
  4. Bubbler

    Bubbler Well-Known Member

    I'll second all of that and add one more nugget you need to consider -- what if your theory about his golf buddies getting those jobs is wrong?

    If you tell him your theory and its off-base, well, you just fucked yourself in the eyes of your manager. Because how is he supposed to trust your judgment with a beat or anything else when -- instead of framing your question about the beat from the standpoint of what you needed to do to improve/change/etc. and get it -- you pulled the conspiracy theory card first?

    I know I'd appreciate it none too much. Because the thing about conspiracy theories is that they're often wrong, and this comes from someone who has believed in conspiracy theories that were off-base and been the subject of ones that were WAY off-base.

    Just keep it professional. Maybe this guy has something else in mind for you.
  5. WCW, no one's asking you to hate the guy.  Heck, it'd be best if you liked him, even though he sounds like a d-nozzle.  You don't even need to hate golf, although obviously some of us enjoy mocking it as much as others do playing it...  ;)

    I agree with your philosophy of pursuing balance in your lifestyle.  Getting away from sports when you're not at work, not focusing your social energies on co-workers, etc...I'm with you on that one.  But we live in a culture that rewards mono-mania.  The ideal of the Renaissance man was abandoned long ago.  Yeah, a person with their shit together doesn't always go drinking with the guys after work.  Hopefully, there's a significant other/child/parent/healthy activity/intellectual activity/creative activity that's more deserving of your time than drinking Pissweiser on tap and rehashing irrelevant office gossip and sports bullshit.  But you will pay the price.  Every workplace has its professional culture.  If you fit in, you get the intangible benefits.  If you don't, you don't.  No place will be perfect, but if your present shop is wasting your abilities because it's more of a buddy-ocracy than a meritocracy, again, it might be time to look around.

    Finally, Bubbler's contribution was pretty insightful. Maybe golf has nothing to do with anything. Perhaps your lack of congruence with the social scene and your lack of advancement aren't related. Get the SE's input, process that with what you've observed, and see what you end up thinking.
  6. playthrough

    playthrough Moderator Staff Member

    Damn, I would have killed for my major-metro (and warm-weather) sports dept. to have anyone as fanatical about golf as I was...

    Still, I wouldn't read much into your SE and his golf jones. Even if he's playing with guys who you think are jumping over you for jobs, don't worry about it. The amount of shop talk on the golf course is less than you think. As I tell my wife, me and my buddies on the course don't talk about women, work or even much other sports. We just talk about our lousy golf games.
  7. Gold

    Gold Active Member

    Read what you posted a couple times. You may see a couple things if you read it and let it kind of swirl around in your brain.

    I would talk to your sports editor and ask why I didn't get the last position. If possible, do it away from the office at a diner or even a couple blocks away from the office.

    Here's my take on the thing.

    Show me somebody too obsessed with golf without being some part of the professional tour, and I'll show you somebody who is at least somewhat complaceant about their job. Why do I say that? Well, if somebody plays golf twice a week, that's 8 to 10 hours they are spending on golf, and probably another 5 hours talking about it or reading golf magazines. That time doesn't generally make somebody a better sports editor or a better parent/spouse.

    I don't think your sports editor gives a damn in the least about "developing talent". What does it matter to you anyway, if you have been piegeonholed - and make no mistake about it, you are being piegonholed. Maybe the people who went to other papers feel you SE wasn't so great. If you were better than this other writer who got the job, your SE did this because he figures he can get away with it and maybe he figures the other guy would have left if he didn't get the position. Your SE cares about his own position and paycheck, and you need to look out for yourself and not worry so much about him.

    So your SE has "won awards" and "has a lot of knowledge which you would like to tap into". Hey, this sports writing ain't finding a cure for cancer or AIDS. It's organization and presentation. There seems to be a greater preoccupation with awards, and that seems to be in the same proportion as real salaries and opportunities for good beats seem to be going down.

    So talk to your sports editor, but keep your options open. Your paper isn't the only opportunity, and maybe trying something for a different section of the newspaper or another paper might be the option, because it sounds like the most likely result here is that you are going to be even more frustrated.
  8. Dyno

    Dyno Well-Known Member

    There's no need to hate the guy in order to have a discussion with him about your career growth. And you absolutely should not bring up golf or how you feel like you've been screwed. Keep the focus on you and asking him for advice on what *you* need to do to get where *you* want to be.

    Go into the meeting prepared to talk about your accomplishments. You've got to sell yourself. Sometimes the squeaky wheel does get the grease. How do you know the people who've gotten the beats instead of you haven't lobbied for them (and I don't mean on the golf course)? I've learned from experience that sometimes the quiet, steady, good performer gets forgotten about or overlooked because they are so quiet and steady. Or it's possible that your editor thinks the fact that you haven't piped up and asked for one of these beats means that you're fine with where you are.

    It's time to put your cards on the table and have a frank, non-confrontational talk with him.
  9. Just_An_SID

    Just_An_SID Active Member

    Approach your SE at either a quiet time or schedule and appointment with him and be honest with him that you were dissapointed that you didn't get the most-recent promotion and that you want to raise your profile within the staff.

    Don't mention the golf thing. That would only cause problems because there is no rule that says the SE has to be your friend. He only needs to treat all staff the same profesionally (within reason).

    As suggested, ask him what you need to do to get the next job (or the reason you didn't get the last one). A good boss will be honest with you. If he makes a suggestion, try to show that you are working to improve things because your SE will see this for the next time he has an opening.

    The next time a job does comes open that you want, walk into his office and let him know that you want it. This aggressiveness is usually handled well by a superior because it shows that your are motivated.

    Through all of this, keep things unemotional and business-like. The minute you start to sound emotional or get personal, you can cause your SE's to turn against you.

    Good luck.
  10. SF_Express

    SF_Express Active Member

    My advice is repetitive, in summary:

    1) Tell him you'd like to talk to him, lunch or otherwise. And then tell him you've gotten no word to the contrary that you're doing a good job, that you have seen some opportunities come and go that you would have been interested in and that you'd like to know what you can do to be considered for them down the road.

    2) Golf is not part of the discussion -- none. Unless, of course, he comes right out and says, "You're getting passed over because I only promote golf buddies, so you'd better learn the game in a hurry."

    If he's the good manager you describe, he'll either A) tell you why he feels you weren't the guy for those other jobs and what you can do to be that guy next time or B) tell you that the next one is yours. Or, I suppose, the unlikely C) He just doesn't feel you're good enough to do anything than what you've been doing.

    But leave golf out of it. Shouldn't be part of the discussion.

    And finally, not to be cold, but if you don't have it in you to initiate this discussion, then unfortunately, you're going to kind of get whatever you deserve. "Rough edges" or not.
  11. WestCoastWriter

    WestCoastWriter New Member

    Very well-put.

    And trust me, this "being left out" thing isn't new. I've been the outsider everywhere I've been, and while I've gotten along with people, there's a definite social price to be paid.

    What IS new is that I never felt like it's personally putting me at a disadvantage. And now I do.

    And Gold, I can see what you're saying. The thing is, I don't yet feel that "looking someplace else" is the smart thing to do. First of all, without the experience that I'm presently not getting, I won't get hired to do anything above what I'm currently doing unless someone wants to take a risk on me (and believe me, I would make it my life's work to reward that risk.) But secondly, I'm stubborn. I don't want to walk away from this wondering if I did everything I could to tap this guy's knowledge. I don't do the giving-up thing, and I don't plan on doing it now. Thing is, I also know that there's a difference between tenacity and stupidity.

    SF: Thanks for the advice. And to answer, yes, I am a bit timid when it comes to this guy. But this is my career. And if it comes down to stepping out of my comfort zone or getting marginalized, it's not even a close decision.
  12. SF_Express

    SF_Express Active Member

    Go get 'em, and good luck.
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