Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Your Career and You: "Enthusiastic" or "Obsessive"?

I started thinking this morning…after a flurry of email conversations with someone about a request he had made (and which he had been assured multiple times had been taken care of)…about the fine line between being perceived as “enthusiastic about an opportunity” and being regarded as “borderline obsessive.”

While this is something I think about from time to time, I haven’t really gone much deeper than that. But I’m thinking I need to.

Why?

Because I’m always telling my undergrad Communication students at Curry College, where I oversee the Public Relations Concentration and teach most of the PR courses, as well as my graduate Organizational and Professional Communication students at Regis College (a very cool part-time gig!) how important follow-up is and how they should be diligent in their follow-up on job or internship applications as well as PR outreach to media and others.

I forget sometimes, though, that “follow-up” can be interpreted in several ways, most of which are good…some of which are just two whiskers short of “creepy.”

“Good”?

Once a week…NOT on a Monday or Friday. I suggest this because of my own work schedules both present and past.
> On Monday, I’m preparing for the week ahead and/or dealing with some issue that bubbled up over the weekend.
> On Friday, I’m reflecting on the week that was and (mentally, at least) promising myself some downtime over the coming weekend.

“Bad”?

More than once a week…unless you actually have spoken with someone who suggested you “call back [fill in the blank].”

Why?

Because if you’ve left me a message…phone, email, note tied to a brick and thrown through my office window…I will get back to you…when I have time.

I hate to break this to you, but you are not my first priority, no matter how nice you are and how wonderfully formatted your resume (or news release) is.

On the job/internship side of this diatribe…I might be desperate to fill a position or eager to support the internship concept, but I have a “real” job to do as well, and I’ll get to the other stuff as quickly as I can.

On the news release side…if you’ve sent news, I will get back to you…I need your information and you are important to me.

However…if you’ve sent me a “my boss just got an award and he/she wants to let our customers know” release…well…….

I appreciate enthusiasm. My professional colleagues do as well.

I don’t appreciate stalkers or people who disrupt my train of thought or workflow.

Learning the difference between enthusiasm and obsessiveness is part of the “growing up” process for us. You will, as have I, get your hand slapped once in a while.

Take that act as “guidance” and not as “punishment.”

Be enthusiastic, and that enthusiasm will show…in the quality of your work…in the realization of your successes.

Be obsessive and…

Wait! Hear that sound??

Silence.

“Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm.”
– Ralph Waldo Emerson - “Essays: First Series. Circles.” [1841]

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