Return to the Chair

On Monday, March 14, I will be returning to the editing chair. It marks a change in direction of my career, a return to the path where I’m best suited. For the last 4 years, I’ve been on a detour.

While on that detour, I’ve learned a bunch. I’ve gained knowledge about broadcast video editing, SAN-based editing environments, asset management and business management. I’ve taken two production companies from a few suites up to an insane number of edit suites. I’ve researched, planned and installed two different SAN platforms. I’ve dealt with expanding and contracting budgets. I’ve had to juggle people, rooms, media and schedules. A vendor once told me, as he helped me research SAN options, “with the knowledge you have, Ben, you are in a group of people that number in the hundreds globally.”  I’ve lost the ability to toot my own horn, but I think he’s right – I do know more about this stuff than most other people. So, why walk away?

I don’t think of it as walking away so much as refocusing. While I’ve got this knowledge and this experience that puts me in a small bracket, I’m also aware that a life in management isn’t for me at this time. While I think I’m a pretty good manager, I’m not tough enough. I’m too nice of a guy. A former boss of these past four years told me, “Ben, you need to embrace you Inner Asshole more. Bring him out into the light.” Um, thanks but no thanks, I thought.

See, I believe in a different kind of management style. I’ve always tried to manage like this quote I once saw:

I don’t believe in just ordering people to do things. You have to grab an oar & row with them.

Harold S. Geneen

On my journey through management-land, my philosophy was not compatible with how I was being asked to do my job. I’ll post more on that later…sometime…it’s all just too raw at this moment. In my case, I think I’m too much of an editor’s manager than a manager’s manager.

For now, I’ve got my sights on that chair up there. It’s in Edit 2 at Post Op Media my new (old) home. Here’s how life comes in cycles. 19 years ago I went to work for a post-production house in Arlington, VA. I started at Roland House as the overnight dubber. I was promoted to Assistant Editor and did some highly technical projects that I was suited for. I ended up my time there co-managing the Avid Department. I left after 4 years for an editing position at the PBS Newshour, then the Newshour with Jim Lehrer. After another 15 year journey of freelance editing, owning my own production company and making a go of being a Director of Post Production, I’m returning to the chair. I’m returning to Edit 2. You see, Post Op Media is located in the exact same building as Roland House.

19 years out and back. Now, on to the future!

4 Replies to “Return to the Chair”

  1. Ben,

    You are fabulous in whatever you do. I am so glad to see you being true to yourself. You are much more appreciated than you might think. Enjoy your new journey!

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