Shot Any Moose Lately?
By Suzanne Small, RDR, CRR, CBC, CPE
Lots of folks take umbrage at the thought of killing a big, beautiful animal. Others put a little lipstick on the idea and fire away. Leaving the ethics aside for the moment, if you have a large target in your sights, a shotgun approach may be best. Most freelance reporters have many areas in which they roam around and see need for improvement, such as: Feeding a family, staying ahead of the game in the skills arena, staying armed enough to be dangerous in the general knowledge area, and stealthy enough to not get caught being a know-it-all.
In search of a “wild game,” if you cast your corn on a lot of territory and get geared for success, you may hunt up something worth “scoping” and find that serendipity also adds to the adventure. Remember in school when you would learn one thing in one subject, only to find that it was a tremendous benefit to you in another class? My teacher/son calls that “cross learning.” As reporters, we have those opportunities frequently.
Robert Fulghum reminds us that things your kindergartener clues you in on can be very beneficial when it comes to dealing with some of the folks who order transcripts from us. Here’s his list found on his web site http://www.robertfulghum.com:
- Share everything.
- Play fair.
- Don't hit people.
- Put things back where you found them.
- Clean up your own mess.
- Don't take things that aren't yours.
- Say you're sorry when you hurt somebody.
- Wash your hands before you eat.
- Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you.
- Live a balanced life - learn some and think some and draw and paint and sing and
- dance and play and work every day some.
- Take a nap every afternoon.
- When you go out in the world, watch out for traffic, hold hands and stick together.
- Be aware of wonder. Remember the little seed in the Styrofoam cup: the roots go down
- and the plant goes up and nobody really knows how or why, but we are all like that.
- Goldfish and hamsters and white mice and even the little seed in the Styrofoam cup –
- they all die. So do we.
- And then remember the Dick-and-Jane books and the first word you learned – the
- biggest word of all - LOOK.
Reporting less attractive assignments can lead to a better understanding of the hunting ground, such as fanning a desire to provide CART services and enrich our lives and those of others, while also adding to our writing skills and our opus that we call “a personal dictionary.” Next time you’re asked to take a job that your initial reaction is to decline, reconsider: May it benefit me, those around me, or my goal of being a better person/ reporter/writer/business person? Goals can be moving targets.
When obtaining required continuing education units, consider how you might incorporate your knowledge in different areas of your life. Perhaps the teaching style of the presenter can show you how you, too, could contribute to your local, state or national association and encourage you to formulate ideas to share. We retain what we hear, see and experience. What better way to learn than to share what we are learning?
Most freelance reporters are self-employed; that puts the onus o-n u-s to be our own boss. In hunting what we need to accomplish the goal of “bossing” ourselves, consider what Susan Dunn, The EQ Coach, says in her book “The Top Ten Things Employees Say They Want & How Managers Miss the Mark by Low Emotional Intelligence” on her web site http://www.selfgrowth.com/articles:
Here is what employees say they want, starting with what's most important to them:
1. Full appreciation for work done
2. Feeling "in" on things
3. Sympathetic help on personal problems
4. Job security
5. Good wages
6. Interesting work
7. Promotion/growth opportunities
8. Personal loyalty to workers
9. Good working conditions
10. Tactful discipline
Susan Dunn goes on to explain how managers assume a completely different set of desires. If we can see our own needs and how to bring solutions to fruition, we’re ahead of the game.
Many Lone Ranger reporters are surprised to learn how much camaraderie is available by joining in association activities. Many penny watchers are thrilled to learn that so often their investments in equipment come back to them, sometimes in one assignment. The joy is in the journey. Happy hunting in the freelance world!