It’s OK to Say No

Sep 21, 2021

You get to a point in your hosting career where you transition from saying “Yes” to every opportunity, to turning things down. It’s important to realize when you get there.

THE BIG IDEA

When I got started hosting, I took on everything I could. Needed a host to talk about toy race cars? Sure, I’m the guy. On-air talent to cover college wrestling? I’m your man. Did I know anything or even particularly personally care about toy race cars or college wrestling? Absolutely not.

I’d also take gigs no matter the money or the time commitment. $75 to stand around a museum for 6 hours while they used your skin to adjust the lights for an exhibit that month? Let’s do it!

This didn’t happen just as a young host, though; it’s also something I reverted to whenever I was unemployed for long stretches and couldn’t find substantial work. Hosting bar trivia for $50/night all the way across town isn’t lucrative work, but it is work.

Luckily, I’ve been at a successful enough place in my career for a few years now, though, where I’ve been comfortable saying no to things. And I was reminded this week of just how important it is to respect that element of your personal career strategy.

As a favor to someone I’d worked with in the past, I agreed to be a stand-in for a new show they’re developing. It’s basically kinda like that museum thing I mentioned above. They need to get their sets and props and cameras and lights all prepared for when the show tapes for real. But, so as not to bother the very busy stars more than necessary, these shows hire stand-ins to — literally — stand in for the principals.

And as I stood (or, mostly, sat) around 8 hours a day for 3 days doing…nothing really, I spent time thinking of all the stuff I could’ve been doing instead. Sending out networking emails, editing new hosting reels for my social media and websites, writing this very blog, working out, catching up on sleep after a particularly grinding Mets homestand — all things on my to-do list.

And it reminded me of the power of No. I did this, like I said, as a favor. And I don’t regret helping someone out — building and maintaining good relationships is key in this business, as I mention lots of places on this site. But even then, if you build strong enough relationships with someone, don’t be afraid to turn things down. They should respect your decision if they’re truly on your side.

It’s all about your priorities. One of my fellow stand-ins on this project was a 22-year-old woman attempting to break into the business as a production assistant. I may have not needed the money or experience but for her, this was a learning and networking goldmine, and an 8-hour workday also gave her some extra spending cash between jobs. In her shoes, you take this gig every time.

But *metaphor alert* always know what shoes YOU’RE wearing. You don’t want to be standing for hours in ones that don’t fit.

THE JOB LEAD

A lot of people break into the hosting game via doing well on reality shows. Be memorable as a contestant somewhere and somebody might want to give you your own show. Well, do you also like to cook? Check this casting:

“UP-AND-COMING CHEFS 21-30 for new food TV series!🥘

An Emmy Award-Winning television production company is casting a NEW FOOD TELEVISION SERIES to be filmed in the New York Area. We are looking for cooks or recent culinary graduates who are working towards a career as a Head Chef. Chosen cooks will have an opportunity to live and work in NYC for 6 months with a renowned chef at a well known restaurant. All living expenses PAID.

Candidates should be:

● Between 21-30 years old

● In the early stages of a career path to become a Head Chef in a restaurant

● Currently in cooking school, looking for work in a restaurant, or working in a restaurant

● Energetic & passionate about food

● Have industry-grade culinary skills

● Willing to live and work in New York at least 6 months (if selected, living expenses paid)

Candidates should NOT be:

● Professional Sous Chefs or Head Chef currently working

● People who only cook as a hobby

If selected, candidates will be competing for several coveted positions at a respected restaurant.

To be considered please email [email protected]

Please include a photo + work bio or letter of interest with your culinary goals, as well as your passion for pursuing a career in the culinary field.”

THE QUOTE

"’No’ is a complete sentence.” - Elizabeth Olsen

Listen to the Scarlet Witch people!

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