Splinter, Plank

Kathryn Elliott

Luke 6:41

Why do you notice the splinter in your brother’s eye, but do not perceive the wooden beam in your own?

I spent a couple of years working for a small television news operation. Although I was young and new in the industry, a number of the crewmembers around me had decades of experience. They did essential jobs: things like lighting, sound, graphics and operating cameras.

As a segment producer, my time was constantly, frenetically busy. I would sometimes book a guest and get them into the studio on our set for an interview in the space of a few hours. I thought my job was demanding – and I sometimes resented how relaxed the crew could be. Between interview tapings in the studio, they often had free time. They would sit in their offices chatting or leave to get food during unscheduled studio time.

During one particular busy season, I felt overwhelmed with the work I had to do. I had a guest arrive early to tape a segment and the crew appeared to be lounging. I barked at them to hurry up and get in place. Later, the audio engineer pulled me aside. He said, “I’ve noticed you haven’t been giving us any advance notice that we need to be in the control room. If we know we need to be there, we are never late. We are patient with you – please be patient with us.”

I went home that night and reflected on his words. I had been very critical of the crew without realizing that my own negligence had been the reason for their tardiness. I hadn’t been notifying them ahead of tapings, but I expected them to be ready to go! They had never complained or corrected me until I started laying blame myself. I returned to work the next day and took the engineer aside to apologize.

After reflecting, I realized that wasn’t the only instance where I had been inconsiderate to the crew. I apologized for several ways in which I now realized I had been unkind or ungrateful. We then started looking for opportunities to help each other out in moments of stress. The crew’s moments of rest may have been a “splinter” in their eye – but my colleague’s gentle words had made me aware of the “plank” in my own.

TAKE THE CHALLENGE: Think about how you can thank a difficult coworker or make their job easier.