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Published:August 1st, 2006 05:25 EST
Five Lessons from the Star Jones Fiasco

Five Lessons from the Star Jones Fiasco

By Simon Bailey (Mentor/Columnist)

I`m sure that by now everyone has heard of Star Jones` departure from the ABC television show The View " where she had been employed for the last nine years. It`s unfortunate that a talented, well-educated, outspoken woman would have to be fired in such a public fashion. However, I believe that she contributed to her own debacle and has no one to blame but herself at the end of the day. It`s surprising that someone as smart as Star made the blunders that she did "perhaps she forgot to call Oprah to get some advice on how to spin a negative situation into a positive one.

Now, I`m not bringing this up to rehash what`s already been rehashed ad nauseam in the media. I`m sharing this with you because we can actually learn some valuable lessons from this fiasco. All of us, at some time or another, will likely face the often unpleasant experience of separating from a job, post or position. No matter the reason for the separation " merger, acquisition, reorganization, reduction in force, election, changing of the guard, " or even our own performance issues " our response should be the same. Whether the parting is our decision or theirs, we should be grateful, respectful and hopeful.

If I were Star Jones` agent, manager or close confidant, I would have invited her to step back and think a bit differently about her situation before telling the world that her contract hadn`t been renewed. I would have encouraged her to see the blessings of her situation. It is a privilege to work in the entertainment industry. She was paid a lot of money to sit on her blessed assurance and run her mouth. What a deal! Millions of people around the world watched her every weekday for the last nine years. Her former boss, Barbara Walters, is an icon in television who probably would have given Star a reference to many other networks and shows. (That opportunity is now gone!)

If you should ever find yourself having to separate from an organization, I invite you to do the same type of introspection and reflection. Stop, set your emotions aside, put the truth on the table and see the circumstances for what they really are. Then, on your last day or at your final meeting, let your brilliant spirit shine by doing the following:

  1. Smile and act as if every day on top of the ground is a good day. You are a brilliant individual. Other organizations and opportunities will soon line up at your door. Realize that you must fully release your current situation before something bigger, better and more bountiful can enter your life.

  2. Make them love having had your company. As you leave, say one nice thing about every person. Be sincere. But as your parents taught you, if you don`t have anything nice to say, then keep quiet. It`s better to be silent than to open your mouth and remove all doubt about how you feel. Yes, your feelings are important. However, no matter what`s happened behind the scenes, never air dirty laundry in public "you`ll never come out looking better.

  3. Release the need to be right. I understand that you may feel you were treated poorly or led astray. It happens every day in some organization to some unsuspecting person who was just doing his or her job. (By the way, if you decide you`re tired of being an employee, start your own business.) On the other hand, perhaps you, like Star Jones, were a factor in the separation or in the way it played out. The truth is this: Blame never rests 100 percent with one individual (or organization). Everyone involved is always responsible in some way. So, own it, learn from it and move on.

  4. Respect your leaders. More than likely, they are also leaders in other organizations and in the community. They can give you references to other organizations and institutions that might benefit from your brilliance. Don`t make the mistake of burning bridges. I`ve worked for a number of incredible individuals over the years who have greatly impacted my career (Valerie Ferguson and Pat Engfer come to mind). I still keep in contact with them, and I know that I could call on them at any time, and they would give me a glowing testimonial or reference.

  5. Thank them for the opportunity to have been a part of the organization, project or initiative. Remember, there are literally millions of people who would love to have been in your shoes. Although you may be upset, always take the high road. Be grateful and thankful for the people you met, the experiences you had and the lessons you learned.

Ladies and gentlemen, I am not perfect, nor am I always right. I`ve made countless mistakes and have often wished someone had bent my ear to share with me how to maximize the moment. I pass on these tips to those of you who think you may want to let your employer, committee members or teammates know how you really feel as you exit. Just remember, in the words of Edwin Louis Cole " There are two things you do in life: enter and leave. How you enter determines how you leave, and how you leave determines how you enter. "


Simon Says "Let your brilliant spirit shine even in the darkest times.

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