Saturday, January 7, 2012

Olbermann Out of His Current (TV) Job?

After a while, you would think that a person would begin to think that the common denominator was the individual staring back at you from the mirror. When you have the number of opportunities laid in your lap, yet you can’t seen to stay for more than a few years, maybe the problem isn’t those who you work for, but maybe it is you.

Over the years, Keith Olbermann has left under less than desirable conditions posts at a larger Los Angeles TV station, ESPN, MSNBC, and now possibly Current TV.

Other than his departure from the Los Angeles TV station each departure has been rather acrimonious due to his petulant and childish behavior.

Several years ago, not long after I had been promoted, I was assigned to supervise an individual who had a reputation as a difficult person to work with. During the course of my initial get-to-know and expectations meeting, this individual brought up the subject of his past supervisors. There was a common thread. Nearly all of them sucked, according to this young man. One was too demanding, another was a jerk, and still another was an @$$hole. Of course, my new charge did not realize that I had reviewed his records (like any good supervisor). I had also contacted a few of his previous supervisors and spoken with them to get the scoop.

Almost without fail, each previous supervisor that I spoke with did not think real highly of this individual. He was combative, unfriendly towards co-workers, and his weather forecasting skills were not strong enough to make of for his other shortcomings. His records backed up these comments. His job performance ratings were sub-par on nearly all of his reports. When it came time to do his performance report, he once again received weak ratings and a couple of negative comments from me.

A few years later, while visiting the work section he was assigned to (I had been promoted again and moved elsewhere within the organization), I overheard him ranting away about past supervisors. He was now including me in his tirades.

I had had enough. I called him into my office (with his supervisors OK). I didn’t read him the riot-act, but rather calmly sat him down and reviewed his career with him. I pointed out that at each and every turn where he felt he had a jerk for a supervisor, the rating given were poor to weak, with each containing a negative comment or two. I also pointed out that each of the previous supervisors were as different, personality-wise, as grains of snow (I knew a goodly portion of them). And then I pointed out that there was one common thread throughout his entire career. That was the man looking back at him in the mirror each day. The last thing that I ever said to him was he could continue to blame everyone else for his troubles or he could decide the man in the mirror was going to change. As I was moved to a completely different branch and then later moved overseas, I never saw him again although I asked about him from colleagues who had more recently worked with him.

Had he changed? The reports that I received were that he had mellowed somewhat. Can I take credit? Not really. All I could do was point out the obvious. It was up to him to make the changes.

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