Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Calmness and Respect Totally Rock

One of the speakers at Camp Mighty was Brian Piotrowicz, a producer from Oprah. It was cool being in the presence of someone who works closely with "The Great One," but Brian was inspiring in his own right. He talked a lot about the environment at Harpo. While they all work very hard, with insane hours, it is a place of calmness and respect. He said that is come from the top (Oprah) down but that everyone subscribes to the idea and it works. 
Watching a clip of the Great One during Maggie's interview of Brian
Brain had been in TV for a while before coming to Harpo, working on shows like Jenny Jones and Sally Jesse Rafael. In his other positions it didn't seem like calmness and respect were high priorities...more like screaming and insulting. I could relate because I've worked in a few places where screaming and insulting were the modus operandi. Along with belittling and punishment. And who doesn't love a little belittling and punishment? No one! No one likes or deserves to be treated that way. 

Brain said that it was like entering a new world when he got to Harpo. When he came into work each day he knew he didn't have to fear getting screamed at. And that made it easier for him to do a good job. When he said that I wanted jump up and shout "Truth!" One because I'm crazy like that and two because it is so true. 

Note: As a personal policy, I don't like to talk about my job on this blog. I like to keep the two separate. And I'm only writing about it now because a good work environment is important to me. I now work in a place where if I make a mistake I can tell my bosses immediately, and while they won't be happy that I screwed up, they acknowledge that mistakes happen, believe that I've learned my lesson, and we move on. In other work places when employees make mistakes they are so paralyzed by the fear of how their bosses will react that they cover it up. I don't have an MBA but I know that ain't no way to run a business.

Like Brain, I recognize how lucky I am to work where I do. And no matter where my career takes me, I plan to bring a feeling of calmness and respect along. I urge you to do the same.
Brian and Maggie

My friend Leslie was also inspired by Brian. Check out her cool illustration of what she took away from what he had to say.

Song of the Day
Today's song is Aretha Franklin's Respect.


  1. I once worked for an organization where when people were upset they threw chairs or smaller easier to hurl objects. Seriously, my first day I had the head of the company throw an entire stack of note cards in my face because the post-it notes were the askew. It was suck an emotional rollercoaster working there, but oh the crazy stories.

  2. My first job was an abusive place too, where the boss would routinely tear people down. He left me in tears one day and the attitude was "sorry, but suck it up." I hated that man. People just don't understand, you know. I'm so glad to hear that you are working in a great place now! Respect is crucial for a positive work environment. (PS. Thanks for the link!!)


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