Perception is Reality: An Open Letter To Management

Dear Manager,

Perception is reality. I learned that much in Communication 101. Since I cannot change your perception allow me at least to illuminate the reality.

The reality is your blatant favoritism toward some, and your out-right biases toward others you deem “less than.” Less than, because they chose a different path, coming up through the ranks the hard way.

Do you even realize you just promoted someone to a “national” position who has never even left the state she was born in. That, in itself, is laughable.

To say that I am not “good enough” shows just how ignorant you are.

To say that I lack passion and perseverance shows you have spent very little time getting to know me, and even less time perusing my qualifications.

If you had, this is a sampling of what you would have discovered;

– I earned my Bachelors degree at the age of 32. I took a 10 year hiatus from school. When I returned I was a full time employee, mother, and wife. I commuted 100 miles to school every day for 5 years.

– My first “real” job in this industry was in this market: the same one you say I’m not good enough for.

– I sacrificed 3+ years of my career living and working in a smaller market to be nearer my dying mother. During much of that time I commuted 140 miles every day!

– In those 3 years I worked harder than I ever have before. Out of necessity. As a means of survival. That’s what you have to do, when you’re doing more with less. And my hard work paid off.

I learned how to manage a newsroom staff. In the absence of effective leadership, I was called on daily to make important decisions effecting the days, and future newscasts.

There were many, many days I was not only the shows producer, but the AP, assignment editor, EP, and ND all at the same time. I didn’t just survived. I thrived.

I arranged and produced my stations first-ever (and only) live report from the White House.

I arranged and interviewed an astronaut as he flew in a spacecraft over our city.

I helped coordinate the St. Jude Telethon, raising more than a million dollars each year for St. Jude’s Research Hospital.

3 years in a row I helped coordinate and produce a LIVE 2 hour Christmas Parade.

I enterprised a popular show segment that aired weekly, helping families save money.

But perhaps the most important thing; my newscast saw a year-to-year ratings increase of more than 200%.

Others, like me, others with far less experience than me, have gone on, they have been welcomed by other markets. Some smaller. Some, even bigger.

Do they have more passion? More perseverance? What is on their list of accomplishments? What makes them “better than?”

The truth is, you don’t really know how good I am. You have a perception about me. And what’s worse, the perception isn’t even based on actual knowledge. It’s based on a perception about where I came from.

I think that makes you very shallow. Indeed.

– J. Ela



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