Let me start by saying that when experienced individuals are asked for advice that may serve as guidance to those just starting out in their careers, it may give the impression that those giving input have it all figured out.
I certainly don’t. I still have a lot to learn. I’m figuring things out as I move through life. But I will emphasise the three Cs: choices; compassion and curiosity.
I had an epiphany while I was studying abroad. While working hard at my career dreams, I had been on a string of highly disappointing blind dates. It dawned on me that I could not expect the same results in my personal life if I did not choose to invest as much of myself in relationships as I had been focusing on professionally. It was an important lesson for me. Think carefully about what you choose and why. Not choosing is also a choice.
This is a value and a form of love that I hold very dear. Of course there have been times when I wasn’t compassionate or when I judged too quickly or became impatient or let anger rule a response. Overall, however, I want to be more compassionate with others and also with myself. We all deal with so much, even more so if you’re working in a fast-paced environment like media in a developing country with ongoing, daily life-and-death challenges.
The wonderful thing about being in the media is that we get to tell stories. But sometimes those stories weigh heavily on us and we become despondent. I certainly do. When I realise I am in a creative slump I need to find inspiration, not only to do my job but also to fuel myself. Being curious about the world and those around you will mean you’ll never really get bored. It also means you’ll continuously grow your own knowledge base and upskill yourself, whether informally or by studying further.
~ Tessa van Staden is station manager of CapeTalk, a Primedia Broadcasting station.
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