I have been working in the entertainment industry in some form or fashion since I was 13 years old. I started in summer stock theater backstage, did public relations, ticket sales, and performing. In college, I was involved in stage production as well as event planning for a 3000-seat venue. After graduation, I moved to Los Angeles and started working at a talent agency, then at a music company, then for an A-list producer, and then finally at a movie studio. I don’t say all this to brag (though come on, my career has been COOL) but rather to highlight the one thing that was consistent about almost every single job… REALLY TOUGH BOSSES. (Yes, a few were amazing!) The entertainment industry is not for the faint of heart and you must develop a thick skin quickly or it will eat you up and spit you out. To be perfectly frank, agents, producers, directors, etc. are under tremendous pressure, and often have egos and totally unrealistic expectations of what a human being can do. But when you work with music and movie stars on million dollar deals that will be seen all over the world, the stars in your eyes can make it all feel worthwhile.
So with tough bosses in a tough industry, how did I stay successful? Well, growing up, there was this giant paperclip on my dad’s work desk with a plaque on it that said “Diplomacy is the art of letting someone else have your way,” and that has been my motto since I started working. Magic words, I assure you. There were many times I had to stand up for myself with a boss. There were also many times when I had to take a deep breath and, like Elsa. say “let it go.” I had to learn skills that allowed me to take “feedback” constructively, sifting through emotion – theirs and mine – and hear the real issue at hand so I could respond professionally and walk away unscathed and hopefully, with a plan for improvement. It wasn’t easy but it was necessary. Staying in a positive place and focusing on the real meat and potatoes of any issue is crucial to workplace success.
Be brave, be awesome and smile whenever possible.
*Need to master some workplace diplomacy? Check out our Business Skills titles!