Business Class: A little drama is a good thing
By Randall Kenneth Jones
Originally published in the Naples Daily News
Friday, May 31, 2013
Though the infamous office water cooler was originally intended to provide workday refreshment, it’s come to symbolize much more.
We meet, we drink, we chat and, like it or not, we gossip. Yes, office drama is a somewhat inescapable byproduct of human nature.
However, in today’s workplace, the methods for the sharing of office tittle-tattle have actually diversified due to instant messages, emails, texts, and more.
Say what you will about office gossipmongers but, at least at the water cooler, your employees are talking directly to each other as opposed to haphazardly relying on emotionally-bereft technology.
Venerable daytime actress Kassie DePaiva understands the concept of “drama” more than most. It’s her job.
DePaiva, who made her television debut as Chelsea Reardon on Guiding Light in 1986, has famously gone on to portray daytime diva Blair Cramer on One Life to Live since 1993.
Despite twenty years at the same job, DePaiva says, “there’s never been a dull moment”—an enviable goal for anyone who has chosen to eschew job-hopping in favor of professional longevity.
Although the show was cancelled by ABC in 2012, OLTL’s passionate fan base successfully rallied for its return and new episodes are now available on Hulu.com, HuluPlus.com and iTunes.
Of course, the entertainment industry is just that, an industry—and OLTL is a consumer product.
That being said, how many of us work in businesses with powerful fan bases—a.k.a. loyal consumers—who can elevate us from “gone” to “going” again?
With an additional tip of the hat to the return of Twinkies, perhaps some of us need to revisit the purpose of our Facebook “fan” pages and cozy up to our customers a bit more.
Though countless people struggle to define the boundaries between personal and business, DePaiva celebrates her tenure on OLTL. “I have matured into a woman through Blair—both of us have evolved over the years.”
Of course, Blair, described by DePaiva as “a bad girl who makes bad mistakes for good reasons,” has a résumé that actually includes the pushing of an adversary out of a second-story window.
Then again, who among us has not fanaticized about giving the big heave-ho to a co-worker who “makes bad mistakes for (supposed) good reasons”?
When it comes to work ethic, DePaiva and Blair abruptly part company.
DePaiva, who describes her work style as “hyper-prepared” and “disciplined,” explains: “I think most people reap the benefits of me being a multi-tasker.”
She also skillfully debunks the inevitable association between soap opera and actual human drama: “If someone says to me that their office is like a soap opera, I say ‘Great! You get to be creative, take chances, and occasionally rock the boat. Plus, you get to do something new every day.’”
DePaiva adds, “There is nothing wrong with a little drama. If you pay attention and work through it, you have a chance to learn more about yourself and the people you work with.”
Words to live (and work) by.
Another option? The next time your co-worker’s favorite vendor’s boss’s first cousin once removed gets pregnant by the pool boy, simply understand it’s (literally) not your business.
Marketing guru, business humorist, professional-courtesy advocate, branded-content writer, creative-development consultant, and entertaining motivational speaker Randall Kenneth Jones is the creator of RediscoverCourtesy.org and the president of MindZoo, a marketing communications firm in Naples, Florida.
Pictured above: Kassie DePaiva and Randall Kenneth Jones
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