Monday, April 03, 2006

Being a Good Person is Good Business

A few weeks ago, a funny thing happened to me. A prospective client offered me the opportunity to bid on a gig – a medical narration (my favorite), and asked if I could recommend another female VO for the smaller part of the gig. I could and did. To cut to the punch line – my colleague was offered the bigger part of the gig, and I got - nothing.

Pan to MCM, sitting in corner and staring sightlessly into the void. Once the feeling started to return to my lifeless body, the brain screeched back into gear, and I pondered the meaning of life. What lesson could one learn from this? Should I play dumb in future when asked for recommendations? I know nuh-think, NUH-think a la Sgt. Schultz? I entertained that notion for a little while, but it gave me indigestion. Deprive colleagues of potential opportunity. No guarantee I would have gotten that gig anyway. Neglect opportunities to connect with other VOs in a substantive, career enhancing way. Turn one’s back on the chance to be a decent human being.

I learned a couple of things of substance from the incident. One, my ego didn’t suffer much-what a waste of energy that would have been. Two, I learned that my colleague is a frightfully good egg in more ways than I already knew, because she’s the one who told me the outcome, not the producer (wouldn’t you think the producer might have elaborated on the “other voice” the client chose in this case? Like there was no chance I would ever hear about it? Any negative feelings I may have entertained during the few days this all played out were due entirely or almost entirely to that omission). And a few weeks later, when my colleague dropped 15% of her fee into my Paypal account, I felt absolutely humbled.

The money was the icing on the cake. Doing an every day business-type thing like recommending a friend/colleague, and not letting an unexpected outcome change one’s way of doing every day business-type things, is the cake itself. The mind does not always take the shortest route to the right answer. It’s a relief to know that at least sometimes, it eventually gets there.

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