Carnival of Journalism: Failing to fit in

I wanted to stick my toe in the water with a post for this month’s Carnival of Journalism on the topic of failure. Well, I failed at posting, but instead I want to whole-heartedly second a post by a fellow journalist.

Anna Tarkov wrote about the supposed failure to keep a job in “Fired… and not for the first time.” She writes,

What I now know is that I never failed at doing my job. I failed and was fired because I always did it the way I thought was best.

Doing something the way one thinks is best sounds ok on its face, but almost anyone … can tell you that most bosses just want you to shut up and take orders. They don’t want you to improve anything, they don’t want you to offer your own ideas, they don’t want you to change anything. They definitely don’t want to be challenged.

This so closely describes my experience with a recent project, I feel like she took the thoughts I had and expressed them more clearly.

I, too, for some reason assume that if I’m working on something, I should try to find the best way to produce it, come up with ideas, collaborate with people, ask questions. And just like Anna, I’ve had a very disheartening experience with that approach.

I’ve wondered why I can’t be like some other people, who follow directions without questioning them. I wanted to be like them, for a while, because they seemed to be having a much easier time.

I realized that I’m not like that. It was hard to see that as a strength at the time, but now I do.

I want to be creative, find new solutions, ask questions, come up with ideas. And I want to work for people who encourage that, who aren’t afraid to try out new things. To quote another JCarn entry by UMass journalism prof Steven Fox: “Failure is required in order for the revolution to continue.”

Just like Anna, my bad experience has helped me figure out what I want in a workplace and a boss. I don’t have to dampen my enthusiasm and my desire to move things forward — I just have to find a place where I can do that.