Friday, June 5, 2009

Get out of the middle

by David Ubben

Gary Estwick spoke to us Friday about how to deal with some of the unfortunate realities of the business today. You might have read about him earlier in the week in a post from Juan López.

Gary spoke from personal experience. He’s been laid off. He’s been furloughed. He’s even been fired. And yet, a decade after he was right where we are now, he’s still around, working hard on a beat and doing great work. He gave us one particular piece of advice I found really insightful:

“The best and the worst in the business will always have jobs,” Estwick said. “You’ve just got to get the hell out of the middle.”

It was a roundabout way of saying it, but since I don’t want to live in the local shantytown with a job, or in my parents’ basement without a job, I need to be the best. That won’t be easy. But it’s a task that I’m excited to take on when I enter this business.

It was really refreshing to learn from someone who can’t hide his enthusiasm to helping us learn. Gary’s a pretty low-key guy, but it’s easy to see how much he cares when he knows one of us is close to figuring something out. Whether we learned from mistakes in our writing, his speeches during the week, or the lessons he’s already learned over the course of his decade in the industry, his emphasis was on us.

To quote Mr. Carter, I’m sure I’ll “face some aaaversty” in my career. Hopefully, I’ll be able to handle it as well as Gary has and keep my passion for this profession.

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