By Rich Figel
We've all done it. You're tired, stressed out or just feeling lazy, so you do your job in a perfunctory, half-a**ed manner. Actors and entertainers would say you were "phoning it in." As a blogger, there are times when I'm busy with other projects and think it would be a lot easier if I could just post some food pictures or a link to a funny/weird article and type: "What do you think?"
But the writer in me says, no, don't take the easy way out. Because you never know who is reading your stuff. If you can inspire one person to do that little extra to find work, make networking connections, or go above and beyond the call at their current job, then it doesn't matter if I get many comments. I've accomplished something worthwhile.
It's easy to get depressed when you're out of work or stuck in a dead-end job. So I'm going to share some advice my mom gave me when I was a high school freshman trying out for the football team. Being half-Japanese, I was on the small side (5'5", a whopping 115 pounds). Yet I hit the bags hard as anyone, and worked my butt off on the practice field.
However, after nearly a week of grueling two-a-days in muggy 90 degree Jersey summer weather, the coaches still wouldn't give me a uniform. They didn't think I was big enough or fast enough. I told my mom it was pointless, and I was giving up. She put my dinner plate in front of me and said, "Why don't you go back one more day?"
So I did. And that afternoon I heard the coaches arguing. The assistant coach said I deserved to be on the team because of my effort. Grudgingly, the head coach finally agreed to give me one of the last uniforms left. I vowed that I would make him eat his words that I was "too small" to play on his team.
By my sophomore year, I became captain of the junior varsity team as a starting defensive back... I was also the punter, a punt returner, second-string quarterback, and on the kick-off team. The head coach promoted me to varsity and put me on the kick-off team (they called me the "Kamikazee"). At the start of my senior year, weighing all of 135 pounds, I was named the starting safety for a varsity team that was ranked in the Top 10 of that county.
Since then, I've had to deal with rejections and disappointments -- especially in my screenwriting career. In effect, agents and producers are telling me I'm not good enough to make it as a writer. I keep thinking about quitting and getting a "real" job. Sometimes, when I'm working on a script I feel like phoning it in -- nobody's buying my stuff, anyway... and then I hear my mom's voice telling me to go back just one more day. Write one more scene, one more page, one more screenplay.
You never know what tomorrow will bring. That could be the day good things happen, all because you decided to do your best right now instead of just going through the motions.
Today's relevant link:
From U.S. News & World Report, 7 Things Never to Say to Your Boss, which sounds like stuff that might spill out of your mouth when you feel overworked or under-appreciated.