Encouraged or discouraged.
Job shadowing for a high school senior will go either of those two ways. Rarely in between. Through my nearly three decades as a TV broadcaster, I’ve had job shadows from local high schools and always enjoyed meeting the wide-eyed teenagers as they walk through a TV station for the first time. I’ve compared it to seeing Oz behind the curtain, revealing some of the tricks of the trade. Eventually they would make it to the weather department where the real TV magic is made.
That’s where I met Donelson Christian Academy senior Lane Faulkner in 1999. Or so she told me. Nothing personal. It’s just that a lot of shadows have cast themselves through my stops in broadcasting.
“I vividly remember chatting with you over at the sports desk,” Lane recalled near the end of our first meeting a few weeks ago. “We got shushed by the anchors and crew for talking during the broadcast!”
Ah. That sounds like me. Yep, I have no doubt that happened. It actually happened more than a few times with shadows and here’s why. When I was a young buck trying to break into the TV business I recall how the “heads” (slang for on-air anchors) treated me when I interned. A few actually took time to make small talk with me. Most didn’t. I promised myself that if I ever actually made it in the biz I would treat shadows and interns like I wanted to be treated. It really wasn’t that hard and actually part of your responsibility as a face of the station. I suspect Lisa Patton (who Lane was shadowing) was doing the weather off to the side of the desk and we were kibitzing. And then were busted for talking too loud.
Fast-forward 18 years and Lane, a former high school teacher turned College Coach, is working with JTG to increase its social media footprint. This redesigned website is part of that effort. Her friend, renaissance man Rob Youngblood, did the nuts and bolts, exceeding all expectations. After graduating from the University of Tennessee, Lane taught high school English for nine years and then went off on her own. When she heard of JTG from a mutual friend of ours, former TV account executive Pam Cherry, Pam thought Lane should know more and it, leading to the words you are reading right now.
(A quick word about Pam. We go back to our News-2 days some 15 years ago, specifically “Monday Night Live with Jeff Fisher.” The show was broadcast in the middle of Opry Mills Shopping Complex. Account executives would host clients to fill up the live audience and Pam showed with a smile and enthusiasm every show knowing her Mondays were going to be 13-hour days. I always appreciated her help in making sure things went smoothly but mostly her attitude and friendship).
So what attracted Lane to taking on the JTG social media project?
“My background and expertise in education offer me a unique appreciation for JTG’s mission and goal: to prepare every student for his or her next stage in life, whether that is continuing their education or transitioning into the work force.”
Among the most effective ways that businesses all across Tennessee can engage the next generation workforce is to have shadow days and/or internships. It cuts to the chase whether a young person wants to pursue that field or another. After Lane’s shadow day at News-2, she tacked toward education and now college coaching. JTG is now better for it.
If you have a teenager, what are some of the challenges you’re facing in getting your child to prepare for life after high school? What were your challenges?