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How to help a bleak boss to see the light


The words are not printable in a family newspaper.

The thoughts I’ve had about bosses over the years who just didn’t get me.

There was the TV news director who told me, “Daryn, in television there’s just this ‘It,’ some people have it; some people don’t. Clearly, you don’t.”

Many of us have probably run into the boss who didn’t understand your true potential.

How inspiring for me to meet one of the most successful TV reporters in the country, someone who appears to have cracked the code on getting to do your dream job.

And talk about dreams. Bob Dotson does the “American Story” segment for NBC’s “Today Show.” “I find people who are successful but too busy to be on TV or write a press release,” he told me. “Many times they don’t even know they’ve found a blueprint for success for solving problems we all face.”

How does a reporter get time on a national news show to talk about the good stuff?

I love this part of Bob’s story. He gets to do what he wants because he did exactly what his bosses wanted. He beat them at their own game.

The producers demanded stories not be longer than one minute. No matter what Bob was sent to cover — crime, hurricanes, death, destruction — he got 60 seconds to tell all.

Bob’s twist? “I did stories for a year that came in at 59 seconds in length,” he told me.

“After a year,” he said, “I said, ‘Can I have a couple of minutes to tell a special story?’ ”

“You can have four,” they told him knowing that he makes every second count.

That’s the basic story of how “American Story” was born on “The Today Show.” He travels the country meeting so-called ordinary people that the media seems to overlook.

“Wisdom doesn’t always where a suit,” Bob says.

He’s learned so much from the folks that he’s met. There’s a common theme: “Success is not about being dealt a good hand,” Bob said. “It’s about playing a band hand well or playing it over and over again until you get it right. “

He’s turned this collection of wisdom into a book. It’s called, “American Story: A Lifetime Search for Ordinary People Doing Extraordinary Things.” It became an instant best-seller the moment it was published last month.

“That’ll show them,” I thought about the bosses who think folks don’t want to hear positive, uplifting news.

“Actually, about every six months I have to re-establish that I’m worth it,” Bob shared, not an ounce of bitterness in his voice. “Most of the best stuff I’ve done, I’ve done on my own time. Somehow I’ll find someone who is happy to have it.”

So the secret of not letting that clueless boss hold you down? Don’t let them define who you are. Beat them at their own game or go somewhere else.


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