A week later Jimmy Shin declined his position. Our senior year he didn’t take newspaper at all. My adviser asked me to take that role and I did, with joy. But I was well aware even then that I had it by a twist of luck.
Last week my blog addressed how to earn a leadership position. So what happens when you do all the things I said to do and you still don’t get the position you want? What happens when you feel you deserve it more than someone who got it? What happens when you feel your coach or adviser or boss made a mistake?
Let’s look at two options. The first option, I’ll call the Allie Greenspun way. Allie applied to be EIC last year and didn’t get it, for reasons I won’t go into here. Suffice it to say, it was an unbelievably tough decision for me. Allie was very upset, justifiably so. She tried not to let me know, but I see a lot more than students think. Allie took on her role of managing editor with grace and has shown me every day of the past year what she is made of. She does whatever task I ask, with a smile. She helps other editors, drawing their art, or helping with design, or writing their headlines. She assumes the role of EIC in her class period, as the EICS are all in the other period. She takes role, makes announcements, does all final article edits, runs story meeting and post mortem, all without the glory of the EIC title, but instead for the love of newspaper and her own sense of honor. Allie might not have the title she wanted, but she will walk out of high school with pride in herself, knowing for the rest of her life she has a core of iron and she can do anything. It may be a small thing, but she will also walk out with a tiny piece of my heart.
Option two I won’t give a name. This student responds in a variety of ways. Maybe this student quits the paper all together in a fit of anger. I think the newspaper is a pretty great group of people to hang out with, doing pretty great stuff. Quitting denies this student those people, and those activities. It also denies the quitter than opportunity to hone his skills, learn about journalism and be a leader. The quitter hurts no one but himself. Or maybe this student stays, but with anger and resentment. This student pulls herself away from her friends and denies herself the chance to truly be a part of something great. This student ends up hurting the staff and the paper by her negativity. This student proves the adviser right.
If you really want to know yourself, watch your reactions. Do you respond to setbacks with anger, bitterness and rage? Or do you respond with strength, courage and a renewed sense of purpose? Is your urge to hide from me? Or is to face me, smile and prove me wrong? The only option with dignity is the second one, but the choice is up to you.