by

by

Vincent Pugliese

Where Do You Turn When You’ve Lost Hope In Your Career?

I had become a normal American.

After years of freelancing while figuring out my career, I had chosen the steady path suggested by my classmates and my teachers at Ohio University. Get a ”staff’ job. Meaning, instead of once again navigating the rocky waters of freelancing and self employment, the answer was to use the skills, knowledge and connections that I had obtained there and get a secure job within the journalism world. 

It came with a steady schedule, a steady paycheck and shield from the fear of not having work in the dangerous world of self employment. Even as school was wrapping up, I wasn’t convinced. I had been in that world and it didn’t scare me. I actually loved the freedom- I just wanted to find a way to get paid more for what I was already doing. I liked having control of my schedule. In fact, Elizabeth, the girl I met at school (who would become my wife) was also my classmate, and was offered a staff job in Detroit. I told her that if she took it, I would move with her and freelance like I had done in New York.

But after I won the William Randolph Hearst National Championship for top college photojournalist at the end of our senior year, I become focused on using that to land a staff job. I’m not sure what changed. But as school wound down, for one of the first times in my life, I chased security. When a great photo paper, the Evansville Courier and Press called, we pulled off a coup by getting them to hire Elizabeth and I for the two spots that were open. In the glory of pulling that off, I didn’t see the problems down the road. 

I told you the Super Bowl story in the How Much Freedom Do You Have In Your Life post, so I will skip past that and land a few years later. I still regretted giving up my freedom. I didn’t enjoy being an employee, even with the amazing assignments shooting pro sports, getting assigned to the President of The United States and all of the perks that came with the job. I still had little control of my time or my income. 

Elizabeth didn’t mind being an employee, but she desperately wanted to be a mom. We thought she might be pregnant with our first child and we waited impatiently for the call back confirming the news. We were both in the office when I snuck over to my desk to check our voicemail to hear the nurse tell us that it had come back positive! I didn’t want to tell Elizabeth, I wanted her to hear it herself. So I saved the message as new and waited. A few minutes later, I saw her on her phone. She called me, asking to meet me in the newspaper library. 

With a huge smile, she told me that she was pregnant! We kissed, hugged and celebrated together. I then smiled and said that I already knew. I checked the voicemail before she did. She smacked my chest sarcastically, pretending to be upset that I beat her to it. 

A few months later, I received another phone call stating that I had won the biggest award in my field- International Sports Photographer of the Year. I had no idea how I pulled that off. But being that I was only making fifteen dollars an hour, this was going to help me with my upcoming raise. Between that and having a baby on the way, I was hoping for a big bump. Elizabeth wanted to stay home to take care of the big bump growing in her belly. 

I walked into my editors office, hopeful but nervous. He rattled off all of my achievements. He mentioned how I went above and beyond with each assignment. And then he dropped the hammer that he could only give me a three percent raise. 

Stunned, I eventually walked out and stood under the doorframe of his office. 

“It’s over,” I declared. 

I looked around the office and saw all of the defeated faces. The hopes of the past faded, the career frustration brewing, the financial freedom given up in the name of a steady paycheck. 

I headed home, unsure what to do. We have a baby on the way. My wife would love to stay home. I don’t make enough money to afford it, and I was just given a raise that wouldn’t even cover the cost of living. 

I wound up going home to make a phone call. The advice given to me on that call would change my life. 

In tomorrow’s blog and podcast, I will discuss that story and how it turned me from an employee to an entrepreneur. 

Archives

An Introduction To The 80/20 Rule

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How (And Why) We Should Accept Compliments

I’ve never been good at accepting compliments. Now don’t get me wrong. I want the compliments- sometimes way too often. I have craved the compliments but I was never good at accepting them. WIth that,  I was called out publicly a few years ago on a mastermind call that I was on with John Lee Dumas from Entrepreneurs on Fire. I don’t remember who it was, I think it was Roger Whitney, the host of the Retirement Answerman Podcast who gave me the compliment. Roger is my friend yet the compliment took me by surprise. Others in the group agreed with him and I responded with a very muted, okay, thanks, or the whole ‘it’s no big deal’ type of thing. And John called me out on it, which I so appreciated as painful as it was in the moment. And this is why I love masterminds. And why I love accountability. I don’t respond well when people complain about judgment or they say ‘who are you to question me on what I did’? You can have a great life- go do your thing-  but we’re not going to relate. I like challenges,. Especially when they come from people care about me. And if you can’t take constructive criticism from somebody who cares about you, you’re always going to be limited in your growth. So some people can call it criticism, but it was one of the best pieces of advice.  John basically said to me, don’t do that. You need to be able to handle compliments better than you do. And he explained that we are diminishing the other person’s gratefulness by doing that. And I’ve never really thought of it that way. Actually, I know I’ve never thought of it that way. I always thought that I was being humble. I didn’t want to brag. I didn’t want to pound my chest and say, yeah, I did do that. Nobody loves somebody that does that. But there’s a big difference between being quiet, defensive, and evasive than there is from the bragger. It’s actually two ends of the spectrum and neither of them are good. So I’ve met John many times. I’ve seen him at conferences. He gets swarmed by people, often people that want to tell them how much he’s helped them with this podcast. And he mentioned to me how he handles compliments. He handles it with a lot of gratitude and appreciation and he makes sure that there’s the big smile that goes with it. As well as a giant, thank you. And the appreciation for this person to go out of their way to give him a compliment. You have to understand the true thankfulness does not give off an appearance of vanity or excessive pride. What you are doing is you are appreciating that person’s compliments and giving them recognition. Now I’m going to guess that if you’re listening, you probably don’t go overly crazy on self praise. It’s just a guess. I’m also going to guess that you might go way on the other end and you might deflect or even feel uncomfortable but what’s even worse is if you reject it. But when you reject the compliment, you are not only  downplaying yourself, but you’re downplaying them as well. And without meaning it you’re downplaying their intelligence because if they truly believe in what you did and they’ve truly given you a great compliment, and you tell them that it wasn’t any good or it really wasn’t worth it, Basically what you’re telling them is that their opinion is an accurate. It’s an insult to the person giving you the compliment. So when you reject or deflect a compliment, what you’re really doing is you’re projecting the idea that you have low self esteem. I’m sure you’ve had it where you’ve given a compliment and it’s been blown off. It’s happened to me. And I don’t know about you, but I feel that way. I feel like I gave a compliment, I believed in them and they didn’t believe in themselves. And it made me feel like maybe I was wrong in thinking that way. Somebody else we might want to avoid when you’re in that spot is to get into a compliment comparison. Have you ever done it? When somebody gives you a compliment and you have to give them a compliment right back. Someone says, ‘Your hair looks great! And you immediately respond with ‘Oh, your hair looks great too!’. And they’re like, I’m wearing a hat. And you might think, why couldn’t I just accept their compliment? Instead, I needed to give it right back. And now it seems phony because what will happen is you’ll come across insincere. So to begin with you’re deflecting, you’re getting it away from yourself, which goes back to what we talked about earlier. But you have to think about this- were you really going to compliment that person on what you did compliment them on? Would you have just walked up to that person and said, ‘Your hair looks great today’ when they’re wearing a hat? No, of course you wouldn’t. It’s got to be sincere. It’s got to be meaningful. And it’s got. to be honest. So stop doing that.

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