Because this episode is publishing the week of Christmas, I figured I should do something festive.
If you know me, you know I’m not a Christmas person at all. I wouldn’t say I’m a grinch, because I would never deny others their joy in the holiday. I’m not an outward humbug either. My grumpiness during the season is more internal. It starts with the first time I’m forced to hear Christmas music. Yeah. I’m guessing it doesn’t surprise you that I’m one of “those” people who does not get “into the Christmas spirit,” whatever that really is. Every time I walk into a store between Thanksgiving and New Year’s, I cringe and do my best to conjure up some superhuman noise blocking rays to my brain so I don’t have to hear it. But there’s no escaping it. It’s everywhere.
I think I was traumatized as a teenager when I worked at TCBY. During the holidays, we had to play Christmas music all day. The radio station played Mariah Carey at least once an hour, often twice. I worked 10-hour shifts. Hearing Mariah Carey Christmas songs 10-20 times a day is not good for anyone’s mental health. Although I know many of you love it and don’t agree, I stand by my view. Luckily I convinced the store owner to let me find my own Christmas music to play. I could handle the older albums from the Rat Pack, Elvis, and BB King. Some local Vegas artists had put out a compilation disc of rock-based covers. I made it work.
Because that’s what you have to do when you’re in a situation you don’t necessarily want to be in but can’t avoid. You make it work. It’s the same in business. Sometimes you’re stuck with a client or coworker you don’t particularly care for. Sometimes you might love most of a job, but there’s one element of it you could do without. It’s not worth turning it down, so you find a way to get over it and get it done anyway. As much as we’d like to have everything exactly as we like it all the time, it’s just not realistic.
Even as a business owner, you don’t get to control everything. If you don’t like a client, you can fire them, but you have to consider doing it in a tactful way, which is not in the middle of a project. Give them notice, fulfill your obligations, and THEN walk away. But you have to stay professional until it’s over. Well, I guess you don’t have to, but you should be prepared for the consequences if you don’t.
Sometimes you might love your client, but not another person on their team. You can’t do much about that either. You do your best to keep a positive working relationship with that person and do what you need to do. If you find that it’s impossible to do that, you can part ways. It’s a matter of deciding which you want more – to keep working with that client despite the annoying interactions, or if you need to let it go to save your sanity. If that client relationship is more important to you, you find a way to make it work with the other person. Try different communication styles or other ways to improve the working environment. Sometimes you have to do some work to make it work.
Other times you might land a project that’s right in your wheelhouse but includes one aspect you really don’t enjoy. What do you do? You have to consider if it’s worth doing that one thing or if you truly hate that one thing and know it’ll ruin the whole experience. If you can make it work, you might end up with a great client. Of course, then you might get stuck with a someone who always wants you to do something you hate. But once you’ve built that relationship, it’s easier to convince them that it’s best to let someone else handle that part.
This happened to me recently. I decided a while back that I wouldn’t take any location job. In production, that means finding locations for filming, scouting them to make sure there aren’t any potential issues, and getting all of the permits and other paperwork in order. I don’t mind that last part at all, but finding and scouting isn’t for me. I don’t enjoy driving around and trying to determine if a place has the right look and structure and all the other details that go into it. It’s something I’ve done, but it’s not my expertise. There are people who specifically do this and love it, so I prefer to let them do it.
For the last several months, however, I’ve been working on a show where locations are needed, and I’m the only local on the crew. It has been particularly challenging because of COVID. Places are closed or have limited staff, and many don’t want to deal with a film crew unless there’s a giant budget or they’re renting out the whole place for months. I’ve never heard or had to repeat “no” so many times, and I don’t like it. I always find a solution, but there are forces completely out of my control here and I’ve had to say “we don’t have that” or “no one will allow us to do that,” and that’s never what I want to say. I want people to keep coming to Vegas for their productions, but it’s not always as simple as they want it to be. Especially when it comes to shooting inside casinos, and this was pre-pandemic. It takes a lot of time and planning to get the right access, and even then, they don’t always approve.
I actually did convince them it would be better to hire a location manager, but unfortunately even that person wasn’t able to find what we needed. I suppose that made me feel a little better, that at least it wasn’t just me who couldn’t do it, but at the same time, I want them to have everything they want to make sure this season is a success. I know it’s out of my control, though, and I’m doing the best I can.
The point is, when this opportunity came my way, it seemed silly to turn it down based on one element of the job. Sure, it comes with some headaches, but it’s such a small part of it. Beyond that, I’ve gotten to spend half the year working with some great people. And I’ve added some pretty entertaining production stories to my arsenal, which is always a good thing. I haven’t loved the location part, and it definitely reminded me why I don’t take those specific jobs, but I’ve made it work. Because that’s what I have to do. Just like the other people on the show – they might not be getting everything they hoped for in Vegas, but they’re making it work.
Another way of making it work is what I talk about often – focusing on the positive. I suppose that’s the closest I can come to being festive. Yes, 2020 has been a weird year and we all know about the bad things that have been happening. But, there is always something good. Being trapped at home means I’m not exposed to that awful Christmas music all month. It means I haven’t had to drive much at all this year, which I appreciate because I don’t really like to drive. I only spent $47 on gas this entire year, and that was all before March. So that’s pretty cool. I’ve had lots of time to appreciate how cute and funny my cats are. There are so many little things to be grateful for every day. You just have to look for them. So when the things you don’t want to have to do come barreling into your life, find something good and make it work.
COVID may have canceled all of my hobbies – concerts, travel, and pilates. But it also gave me time to learn a lot of new things and figure out something else I love doing – this podcast. It took away all of the jobs I had lined up, but it gave me new ones that kept me busy while allowing me to stay home and be safe. All things considered, I can’t really complain. I made it work. Because that’s what I do, and I hope it’s what you do, too.
Happy Holidays! I can barely say that without cringing, but there it is!