Grin and bear it

Whether due to my introversion, my stage in life, or my Americanness, I’m a generally independent person. I don’t like when I have to depend on other people for something, especially when they don’t do it right.

Unfortunately, a lot of journalism is depending on other people, specifically when you need interviewees to call you back. They hardly ever do, and never when you need them to, but I hate bugging people by calling back multiple times.

How are we supposed to deal with situations that go against our very nature? My job depends on me being a dependent extrovert who doesn’t mind annoying people. How am I supposed to do that?!

I don’t know. I’ve been doing this for a long time but I don’t have any tips for it beyond “grin and bear it.”

I had to get used to calling people until they answer, to making small talk with them, to depending on interviewees and editors and photographers. It’s strange to work on such a big team, where you’re responsible for a small part and other people take care of the rest. It’s strange to have to pretend to be extroverted.

Grin and bear it. I’ve heard that phrase two ways, “Grit and bear it,” and “Grin and bear it.” I prefer grin, because it fits more situations. Everyone knows how to grit and bear a sore back or traffic or an annoying boss. You’re allowed to be externally frustrated with these things. But some things you have to bear without letting it show. People in retail or the service industry have to do this all the time. Grin and bear it. Don’t let out your frustration yet, don’t let it show.

So, I do that too. I take a deep breath, set my jaw, and dial the phone for the thousandth time, knowing I’ll get sent to voicemail and knowing that I’m probably being annoying and looking forward to the part of the process where I get to sit down and write the article without any more phone calls.

Luckily, it gets easier over time. I no longer pick up the phone, dial a few numbers and hang up out of nervousness. I’m getting better at depending on and trusting others. It may always be hard to act like someone you’re not, but it does help you grow in the long run.

Keep on grinning, my friends, and we’ll get through it together. After all, it’s possible that someday that grin won’t have to be faked.

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9 thoughts on “Grin and bear it

  1. There is a very old book on this subject–filled with great tips on bringing out the best in people.

    “How to Win Friends and Influence People”
    by Dale Carnegie

    I read the book twice when I was in my twenties.

    But it wasn’t until I bought an unabridged audiocassette recording of it through Amazon, an d began listening to it on the cassette deck in my old truck, that it really started helping me communicate more effectively with others, and giving me confidence to try unique, but very effective methods in getting people to understand me better, if not actually persuading them over to my viewpoint.

    The anecdotes that fill this book are very old–and from a much simpler time. But they are also timeless.

    I’ve listened to the book, time and time again–and I always gain something more from it when I listen to it.

    I recommend this book to anyone–and especially recommend the book-on-tape or book-on-CD UNABRIDGED.

    (“How to Win Friends and Influence People” also touches on the “act as if” method–indicating that your smile can become genuine as you get to know a person better, and realize that he or she is only human after all.)

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I almost prefer being shunted into voicemail. I loathe phone calls, but unfortunately in real life at the moment I am helping out with ad space sales at work, due to a coworker quitting suddenly… Having worked in small businesses ever since I got out of college, I know that if I somehow manage to be good enough at this I’ll be stuck doing it forever, instead of the social media and website management that I was actually hired to do. As an introvert, I hate it. But, eh, once I get comfortable enough with the script I’m okay on the phone. For the moment I’m just at the stage where I’m still memorizing the things I need to talk about, and it’s easier to reel the new information off with a voicemail than with a live human being who might, horror of horrors, ask inevitably derailing questions.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. In my other life, I’m a marketing and branding expert for a best selling author. I wouldn’t be if this was 20-30 yrs ago. I’d have to get out there more.

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  4. I’m one of those people who don’t like asking for help. I would rather do it on my own and fail. The funny thing is that I don’t want to fail at anything. So in that respect, I do need to ask for help. I feel bad asking because I feel I should know how to do certain things, especially with writing. I mean, I studied it and got a degree out of it. But because things have changed so much and because I was out of practice, I find myself asking for help with critiques. So, in that sense, asking for help requires being a little extroverted. We won’t get better as writers if we keep to ourselves.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Oh, I absolutely hate making phone calls (and receiving them). It borders on phobia.

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  6. Interesting, and makes me think back to when I was in journalism school, going through the same thing. I hated calling people, too, hated calling someone’s girlfriend after their boyfriend committed suicide, that kind of thing. I hated it so much, in fact, that I made a decision to go into the editing side, which is what I did for more than 30 years. That was a viable decision back then, but at your age, and given the current state of the industry, “content producer” is the way to go, because lord nos, nobodie kneads editers no more! I guess you will have to grin and bare it!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. When I have to do promotion for my book, I hate it. Hugely uncomfortable for me. So I developed an alternative persona. It helps that I write under a pseudonym. I pretend to be T. A. Henry. She’s outgoing and loves to put herself out there. Lol. So far so good.

    Liked by 2 people

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