Tag Archives: professional growth

When it’s not possible (or right) to be nice

Sometimes I hate my job. Usually it’s when I have to tell someone their story is not good enough or their effort is sub-par or I think they’re being sloppy or lazy — or both.

What gives me the right? I’m far from perfect, so how can I expect so much others?

Because it’s my job. An an editor and a boss, it’s my responsibility to demand the best from people — to push them, to make them grow, to force them to dig deep inside themselves to keep getting better. Because otherwise, what’s the point?

Stagnation is a slow death — for a career, for a relationship, for anything that matters. The only exciting dynamic for work, and life, is growth.

So sometimes I have to say something I don’t want to say to people who don’t want to hear it. It twists around in my head and my heart. It gives me an upset stomach and a shaky voice. Sometimes my words don’t come out quite right.

And sometimes I avoid it like the plague.

But when I do that, I’m not just denying my own responsibility. I’m denying the other person a chance to evolve. To be better. To feel better about themselves and their effort. Or to accept the ways they’re lacking and move in a different direction.

It’s not fun. I don’t like this responsibility and I don’t enjoy it. But I’m rarely sorry when I summon the courage to exercise it.

Because most of the time, despite my greatest fears otherwise, the person I have most feared talking to, or writing a critique for, responds in the best possible way: by meeting the challenge, making a better effort and embracing the gift of personal or professional development.

And sometimes, in the midst of these difficult conversations, they share insights that help me grow, too.

The blossoming of a media pro

I wish I’d had a crystal ball back in the day, when Mala Blomquist first became our Calendar & Directories Editor. I would have loved to have seen her face when she looked into the future and saw herself…on television.

When Mala first joined our staff, she was a stay-at-home mom experiencing that first bit of restlessness that often kicks in for creative, energetic mothers when their children start reaching school age. Mala loves being a mom — but she also loves being busy, productive and engaged in something she really believes in.

She first came to us as a freelance writer. As she explored the Valley with her two young daughters, she wrote a monthly column we called “Going Places with Generation ‘Why?'” As the girls got older, she indicated that she was ready to do more. She started coming into the office on a regular schedule and eventually assumed the role she has today.

Mala is the person responsible for filtering thousands of emails and Web sites each month to provide a comprehensive calendar of family events for our magazine and our Web-based eZine. Most months she also must process and make sense of thousands of questionnaires she initiates to fill our print and online resource directories. She’s a master of minutia and though I often wonder when she’ll come to me and say “Enough!” she loves her job and just keeps getting better at it as she goes along.

But there’s one part of her job Mala could never have anticipated when she first came on board. For a couple of years now, Mala has appeared regularly on the Friday 1pm Arizona Midday show on 12 News. She’s there each week to share her top picks for the weekend’s local family events. Sometimes she also participates in the show’s “Coffee Talk” segments.

Mala was plenty apprehensive when this opportunity first arose — and very nervous the first few times she appeared on live TV. Now she’s a real pro.

One of the most enjoyable aspects of my job as mother hen over this brood is the pride I feel when they surprise themselves and stretch beyond early self-perceptions to blossom in confidence at the mastery of new challenges and skills. I’m sure that Mala could never have imagined, when she first joined our team, that she’d face her weekly TV gig with so much pleasure and aplomb. — Karen

Today at RAK: June cover shoot at Attorney General Terry Goddard’s home in Phoenix!

In the "garden" behind the 12News studios last Friday: Mala (right) and Toni Purry, president of Purry Communications Group in Los Angeles. Toni handles the media/public relations for Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach Resort & Spa. She and her crew had brought everything to make it look like the beach — even the sand!