It might not seem like it, but I usually try to avoid doing completely IUSTV blog entries. There are a bunch of reasons for this, mainly that I think it’s boring for everyone else reading (all 3 of you), and even more boring for someone who’s not in IUSTV or doesn’t go to IU. This time, however, I am making an exception and writing completely about IUSTV related stuff. Feel free to stop reading now if you want, it won’t hurt my feelings.
Around the middle of spring semester LAST year, I had doubts about whether or not I would take over as the head of IUSTV. I had been with the organization pretty much since operations started (the news pilot), and most people assumed I would step up and take over for Kieran. I did, of course, but I wasn’t sure that I wanted to take over at the beginning, with reasons being the massive time commitment, wanting to focus on getting better grades, and the thought of possibly staying on either as Programming Director or just as a show Producer/creator, just to name a few. I wasn’t even completely sure if I was going to stay actively involved with IUSTV, because let’s face it, I dedicated a good chunk of my time to doing IUSTV related things and more free time seemed very tempting. Another reason in the back of my mind was probably the whole “following up a legend” situation, since it’s hard for someone to follow up the Godfather and builder of an empire like IUSTV. You’re bound to be compared and measured against your predecessor.
As a side note: can you imagine how weird and different things would have been if I HAD decided to stay on only as programming director, or a producer? What if I had quit IUSTV altogether? If my life were a sitcom, this would be a great special episode.
A year later, I can say that I made one of the best decisions for myself ever by becoming Executive Director, and I’m pretty happy with the advancements, growth, and progress that I’ve been able to lead over the past year. IUSTV has moved into a brand new office, grown staff size to over 300, doubled our programming lineup, and made huge movements in establishing ourselves as part of IU and Bloomington (off-campus broadcasts aren’t far away). As I said this morning in an interview about IUSTV for Bill and Ashley Thoms’ class project, even if I never end up working in TV, this has been one of the greatest experiences I could have ever hoped to have while at college.
Although things have been going pretty great, I think one of the biggest challenges that I and the other execs are going to face between now and the end of the semester is finding our successors. Right now, it’s impossible for me to say exactly who will compose the Exec board next Fall. I suppose that I should feel really nervous about this, but it just seems like something that will fall into place. I know some people are REALLY nervous about this. A week ago, I was worried about who would apply for/become Programming Director. I’m not anymore. I’m not worried really about the other exec positions either. The only one that is a bit up in the air is my successor, the one who will become Executive Director of IUSTV.
The big difference this time around compared to last year is having a pool of obvious successors. Even though going from last year to now was a big transition because Kieran was leaving and all, it honestly was somewhat obvious who would be taking over as execs: there was a very strong group of rising seniors to take over the organization at this time last year. We don’t have that at all this year. I suppose that again, I was maybe the most obvious person to rise up last year. I’ve had to say several times over the past few weeks that in many ways, I was the “heir to IUSTV.” I really don’t mean to sound full of myself, but for the three years before this, I was kind of trained in most aspects of IUSTV. The jump for me to become Executive Director was not a shock at all. For MY replacement, however, the one I’m looking for at the moment, there is no one “obvious” to make the jump. This is the big difference, and also what is worrying a lot of people. People don’t like surprises.
What if I were to take someone with very little experience, and spend the next 2 months molding and training them to take on my responsibilities and duties? I think I can do it, and it will probably happen (it kind of has to). If anything, there will be a lot of things to teach and pass on, since right now there are a lot of things that only I know how to do. This isn’t really technical things; everyone knows how to edit, everyone knows how to send out a mass e-mail, and anyone can sort applications into teams. I guess there are a good number of things that I do right now that no one else does simply because I’ve BEEN HERE for the past 3 years to do it. Hopefully with training, I can have my successor ready to deal with all the stuff that comes up all the time. IUSTV e-mails alone probably eat up an hour or so of my daily routine.
I’m starting to ramble now, but that’s OK. Applications for my position were due today, and I received only 2. I can’t say I’m horribly surprised by this. I’ve been trying to work and implement this Executive Succession Plan since January, and I think it’s done a decent job of finding exec applicants for next year. At least, it found some good applicants for the other exec positions. I never tried dealing with, I suppose, preparing people for the seemingly exponential jump from “average 1 or 2 day a week IUSTV staff member” to “Anthony is in the office every day of the week.” Maybe that’s why we have applicants for all the exec positions except mine. In a way, that’s true I guess, although I wish it didn’t seem that way to everyone. True, I have dedicated maybe the majority of my time (certainly more than I spend on academics) to IUSTV. I don’t get paid for this. I don’t get paid for any other job because I don’t have time. I honestly don’t know why I bother with this all sometimes, except for “the love of the game.” I love what I do at IUSTV, and it’s hard to replicate this kind of dedication without having 3 years of prerequisite IUSTV work to lead up to it.
Again, I guess the most difficult and important thing for me to do this year as Executive Director is find my replacement. That’s the moral and point of this post. It will be different than last year, which isn’t neccesarily a bad thing. Give me a few weeks and I’ll have my apprentice selected. Then training will begin.
There was no target audience in mind for this blog post. Most of it was probably just for myself to read back later on and say “wow, that’s what I was thinking before so-and-so became my successor.” Comments would be great, you know, especially if you took the time to read all this chickenscratch.