This Thanksgiving, we're sending notes of gratitude to the people who've helped us through challenges in our careers, whether they knew it or not.
There are always those kids growing up who make it one of their top priorities to make the toughest or meanest teacher like them. It earns them some sort of badge on how amazing they are. I was never that kid. If a teacher was scary I just did my best to do everything right and for the most part, tried to stay under the radar.
So when I began my first internship after grad school at MSNBC working with one of the afternoon news teams I opted to stick with the bosses who were a bit more cuddly and friendly instead of one of the producers who I could tell was a rockstar (and was probably the age I am now when I met her.) She was so intense and scary she made coffee jump.
Now though my fellow intern on the team was the naturally more outgoing, bubbly one who seemed to know everyone by Day 2 (but she was so sweet I couldn't even hate her), I figured she would get chosen over me each time. However, this woman, the scary rockstar, kept picking me to work with her on projects. And keep in mind that this was 24/7 cable news in the summer of 2007. It was still a time when television was first and internet was somewhat second (though it was quickly catching up.)
She didn't actually directly yell at me she just would get very excited and would constantly tell me to 'Run!' whenever I had a task. To her, everything was breaking news (and this was the summer where Paris Hilton being dragged to jail was the biggest story.) However, time was very important when you worked in cable news and she wanted me to know that.
I felt like I did everything somewhat wrong as she never seemed pleased with the clips I cut or headlines I pulled from the wire. But towards the end of the summer when I was struggling with a particular project she said, "Meredith I can tell you are smart. That's why I wanted you to do this because I know you can."
For someone like her to tell me something like that, it was the confidence boost I absolutely needed to enter the job market for the first time in my life.
She respected me and saw something in me even though I was a bit quiet at times and not as bold as my fellow interns.
To be honest, I did not keep in touch with this woman and I sadly can't even remember her name. I really wish I did, as I would thank her for telling me what I needed to hear.
It is something I think of often in my moments of doubt or when I am under a lot of pressure. Whenever I find myself comparing myself to other colleagues or people in my field (which is often) I think of her, and I feel a little better. So thank you, first scary rockstar boss, wherever you are today.