Step outside of your “professional comfort zone” during career, college experience

Sean Bassinger

Traditionally, it’s good to excel at one skill.

For the longest time it’s how we’ve managed to efficiently distribute jobs and tasks across departments and other areas when we work.

Traditionally, in the world of journalism, we’ve had folks who excel at writing, editing, design, photography and other areas.

First, I want to be clear on my stance—I still agree, regardless of the direction our fast-paced Internet-infested lives send us, that it’s best to master any given subject and not overwork ourselves attempting much poorer jobs in an area we’re not trained in.

But to the same degree, we shouldn’t let this scare us away from at least trying new things.

I’ve continued to work toward improving my news articles, columns and personal stories since I’ve been in college. Early on, when I began to study journalism at Linn-Benton Community College, I made the decision that I would focus on news reporting and feature writing.

I took a photojournalism class and earned an A with my amateur portfolio, but—quite frankly—the idea of professional photography frightened me back then.

I shelved these doubts when I had the opportunity to shoot more photos and work with a professional news photographer during my first internship in Klamath Falls.

Instead of calling it quits one night, I told my editors that I had an opportunity to shoot photos of the Dustin Lynch concert at the Klamath County Fair.

I considered this a great opportunity to learn more about a new skill and test the waters.

Turns out the photos weren’t bad. In fact, I had many colleagues tell me they were “great.” They published with my story the next day.

As I asked for additional advice, I started to become more interested in the gear, settings and photo editing techniques required to succeed.

Each new experience also helps serve as a new learning opportunity in itself, which is something I feel like the majority of us don’t always get to experience.

So in short, step outside of what I’ll call your “professional comfort zone.”

If you’re used to designing, try building. If you’re used to physical work and assembly, take a step back and look into conceptualizing.

I still prefer that a dedicated photographer take photos for an assignment I work on. However, I know I have the option to not only succeed but also excel should I need to take on these extra tasks myself.

Who knows what you’ll fall in love with when you try new things.

The opinions expressed in Bassinger’s column do not necessarily reflect those of The Daily Barometer staff.

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