Finding Your Niche, Part 1
By Rebecca Coates Nee
Wanted: One enthusiastic self-starter who knows a little about
everything and works well under pressure.
If that were the description for most jobs outside TV, leaving
would be easy. But in reality, once we do take that leap,
whether by choice or circumstance, we are hit with a major
identity crisis. We discover were generalists, not experts,
and therefore not highly employable.
That may be true in the traditional sense but not if you follow
the formula put together by William Bridges in his book, Creating
You and Company. Bridges asserts that jobs as we know them
are becoming extinct. The future, he says, is in freelance
Why? More companies are cutting costs and hiring independent
contractors instead of full-time employees. And those workers
are enjoying the freedom that goes along with that independence.
Granted the risks are a huge barrier keeping most of us from
going the solo route. The trick is to match your strengths,
desires and interests with a need in the marketplace.
How can you do that? Bridges uses the DATA formula. Heres
a taste of it:
D- for desires. Identify everything you want to achieve, acquire,
and include in your personal and work lives. Break down your
current activities into the tiniest tasks. Separate the tasks
you enjoy from those you dislike. Also separate tasks that
just give you a charge versus those that could keep you going
for hours. The later should be included in your D
A for abilities. Again, break down all the tasks you
perform in a single day and identify those you are truly good
at and those you have to force yourself to do.
T- for temperament. OK, most TV types should skip this section.
Just kidding! Who are you? Whats your personality, style
or character? Ask yourself what type of work environment would
best suit someone with your temperament.
A- for assets. Who you know, what you have, your awards, degrees,
credentials, experience and skills (which are greater than
you might believe). What skills do you need to perform all
those tasks in a single day?
Now that you know a little more about yourself, Bridges asks
you to turn your DATA into a product. If you were a company,
what would be its strengths? What services would it provide?
Next, identify unmet needs in the marketplace that your company
is uniquely qualified to fill.
The answers dont have to be PR or media training, especially
if they dont match your desires. For example, you may
have a unique hobby or talent that has nothing to do with
your TV background but the assets and training youve
acquired from TV could easily help you market that hobby into
a side business (contract permitting, of course).
You can find Bridges books in most online bookstores
or at www.wmbridges.com.
In my next column, Ill describe how I recently turned
my ex-TV DATA into a fun venture.