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The Big Picture
Rebecca "Becky" Coates Nee, a veteran TV news anchor/reporter, is a professional life/career coach. Check out her website at to take the coachability test, subscribe to her free "Beyond the Box" newsletter and to find out if you're an adrenaline junkie.

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 we’re 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 and entrepreneurship.

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. Here’s 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” list.

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? What’s 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 don’t have to be PR or media training, especially if they don’t 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 you’ve 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
In my next column, I’ll describe how I recently turned my ex-TV DATA into a fun venture.