We had a cookout at work today. Former GM Mike Sechrist came back to the station to grill out hamburgers and hotdogs and to say goodbye to the station he’s worked at for the past 12 years.
Full disclosure here: I like Mike. He made it possible for me to be here as a vj on the religion beat. A little over a year ago, when I was commuting back to north Mississippi every Friday, Mike could tell it was draining me. “Tell you what”, he said. “This weekend, take your whole family out to your favorite restaurant. On me.”
“Yeah…on me. And don’t go anywhere cheap. Go to a nice place. Buy yourselves a bottle of wine and enjoy your family.”
I’ve had about a half-dozen gms in my lifetime and every one of them talks a good game when it comes to the importance of family. Mike’s the first one to actually convince me that he’s serious.
Mike and Steve, who also left News 2 this week are more than just good guys who are good to work for. Knowing these guys were in my corner, I not only enjoyed my job, I enjoyed doing my job. Steve and Mike both patted me on the back and said “nice job” or “nice story” more in one year than all of the other gms and nds did throughout my 18 year career put together.
And you know what, it fosters hard work. I have, on my own and without being assigned, shot a half-dozen stories after midnight. I’ve gone in on a Sunday or Saturday without putting in for comp time. Wednesday I worked nearly 13 hours and this Sunday I’ll shoot part of another story. Next week, I’ll work 8 days. Not because I’m trying to impress someone or position myself for a raise or promotion, but because I care about the work I’m doing.
Where did that come from? Mike Sechrist and Steve Sabato. They made me feel like my stories were important. That I was important. And that my family was important. I’ll go to battle for guys like that.
I’ve had bosses who motivate through fear, or at least try to motivate through fear. They scream and yell and tell you if you can’t do the job they’ll find someone else who will. I’ve had general managers who say “we’re all one big family”, but forget you have a real family when it gets in their way. I’ve had several good general managers and one or two bad ones. I’ve had some who want to be your friend and another who looked down his nose at me.
Mike Sechrist and Steve Sabato are some of the good bosses. They got our respect by showing us respect.