Don’t Forget Your Achievements

You have done an amazing number of things in your life. You just don’t remember you did!

If you are contemplating reinvention, or changing jobs, or anything that takes you away from the situation you are in, you need to spend some time having a long conversation with you. You need to remind yourself what it is you have actually accomplished in your career, and what you can bring to the table in your new position.

My friend Carl Wellenstein is the author of 12 Steps to a New Career. I wrote a few words for him at the beginning of his book. The words were easy to come by- Carl helped me get a new job a few years ago by reminding me what I’ve done. Seems as if I forgot a few million little details while preparing my resume. Carl helped me remember.

I’m sharing one of mine.

Radio station remote broadcasts have a tendency to look cheap, messy, unglamorous and ridiculous. When TV stations and networks do live shows, they have sets and lights and makeup and it looks…professional. No disrespect to the technical people in my former business, by the way- they are capable and competent. They just work with what the station gives them, which is almost nothing. Radio still doesn’t really buy into the fact that to be successful they and their personalities are also in the video business.

I believed we could do better.

What I’ve pasted below is a archeological find, something I mined from the archives. The writing and punctuation are rough; I left it as I originally wrote it. Carl Wellenstein reminded me that the “thing” I did involved a hell of a lot more than the skeletal details I initially provided him. Carl said, “Write down the process. Tell yourself what you did. Patterns will develop, and you will learn something about yourself.”.

This is one of my life achievements.

What I did: I was the Executive Producer for DJ Don Bleu’s 25th Anniversary Broadcast 
As morning show producer, it was my responsibility to put together a live broadcast {out of the studio) celebrating Don’s 25 years on the radio in the Bay Area 
I met with the STAR 101-3 Promotions Director and we plotted out possible locations for the event. I stressed that we needed to have it in a theatre like setting, set up and staged exactly like a TV talk show, with a set, a couch, a desk and even a house band! 
I asked Don to dig through his house and bring me all of his old pictures, videos from TV appearances and tapes of shows through the years 
 I asked Don what guests he would like to have on his show that night: former workers, celebrities, etc..and created a database of those people. 
I made initial contacts with the aforementioned people, getting their commitments. 
I envisioned a show with lots of video (for the studio audience),m video clips and a big tribute “documentary” to close the broadcast with 
I contacted Engineering and explained to them that we were doing a live show and to put together a list of the equipment we might need to pull off such a complicated broadcast. I emailed a wish list of equipment to everyone 
The venue was picked. The Fairmont Hotel in SF, in their grand Ballroom.I met with Promotions and discussed specifics. 
I met with the videographer and showed him the storyboards for the video clips and the tribute video. He went to work. 
I met with the Fairmont staff, and our promotions and engineering teams at the venue. We did an initial walkthru and we agreed on a follow up 
I wrote the “vision” memo to the STAR 101-3 staff, outlining a specific picture I had in my head of how the stage would look, how the crowd would be seated, where the control booth with all the technical equipment would be set up. The Fairmont emailed me a layout of the room, I filled it in with “the vision” 
I screened the various video clips Don gave me, picked the ones I thought would work best for the show, and burned those old videos for the DVD the videographer would need to make the clips/tribute vid. 
I met with STAR 101-3 Sales and told them about “the vision” and helped them brainstorm clients we could incorporate into the show…sponsorships/prizes/ gifts for Don 
Promotions went to work, organizing these details. 
Engineering told me the original vision wasn’t going to work. We needed a plan B. I convinced them to follow thru on a modified plan, keeping true to the original vision 
I met with the videographer and looked at the rough draft of the video clips and the tribute vid. We made adjustments. 
Promotions asked for a status report on where we were with the videos. I told them that getting the source material was a challenge and we were going to run close to the deadline before anyone could review. It appeared that several other departments wanted to get their fingers in the process. I ignored them. 
I created a run sheet.. A step-by-step rundown of how the show was going to run, in a spreadsheet that included when certain video clips would run.
I met with Don and updated him on the progress.
I made follow up contacts with all of the show guests, and emailed them confirmation letters ,with details on who would meet them at the hotel,..I asked about lodging/limo arrangements and promised to follow up.
I met with Promotions and gave them the requests the guests had asked for..and they followed up with the hotel.
I picked the background music for the tribute video.. 
I started having sleepless nights, worrying if I could get it all done in time.
I wrote the script for the tribute video; the narration I would read .
I layed down the voice tracks for the tribute video and mixed in the music
I briefed the promotions department on staffing, and how many bodies we would need for the event; runners, etc.
I asked our sister stations morning show producer to be  the “floor producer” for the event, communicating with me in the booth via headset radio. I asked a producer from two other stations to run sound and to run video for me in the main control booth. I gave them the production run sheet and had them study the mechanics for the broadcast. 
I met with Marketing to issue press releases to the media and invite dignitaries. 
February 26,2005, Show day. We met at the Fairmont: the whole staff: we did a dress rehearsal with the house band. Promotions followed thru, sales did their job, the house looked fantastic. The vision was realized! 
Don checked into the hotel, he left me a bottle of  scotch and a thank you note for all of my hard work. 
7pm. WE are LIVE! The band plays, Don walks out, the crowd roars. The show is underway.9:50pm. The tribute video plays People tell me later that the narration and voice work was so powerful it made them cry at one point.
10pm. Don thanks all the guests, the listeners for showing up, and he points to the balcony and thanks his producer for all of his hard work (ME)I wave and nod, the audience claps. I’m sweating from head to toe.
10:30- we’re in the hotel bar, getting very drunk and celebrating the fruits of one long month of labor.
ACHIEVEMENT RECAP: I created, composed, planned, communicated an implemented a vision for my friend and colleague, Don Bleu. I evaded all of the internal inertia (without creating adversaries),  shortcutting from conception to implementation and avoiding the bureaucracy. We did the show on time, within budget, and it was the best live, on-location radio show I have ever witnessed in my career. I did it.

You have many achievements you have realized in your life and your career. You just don’t remember many of them. It can be laborious to “write it down”, but it’s the best and only way you can see all of the things you can bring to the table. If you ask me to manage a project, I will get it done. I know this about myself, but I had to read the words and understand what parts of the achievement gave me the most joy. When you do things you love doing, you will do them well, you will be promoted faster, you will…achieve more.

A friend wrote me on Friday telling me he just got laid off. One of the best favors I can do for him as he begins a journey toward a new position is to remind him of his numerous achievements. He doesn’t deserve to be on the sidelines for very long- the conversation he must have with himself will hopefully speed up the process.

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