Be the Person Everyone Wants to Work With


Counting down eight personal and professional tips from Liz Gumbinner.

If there's one thing I learned from being on tour, casting looks as much at personality as they do talent. The actors, creative team, and techs are people who will see each other day in and day out for weeks or months on end, so getting the right combination of attitudes and work ethics is essential.

Having joy in what you do and including others in your efforts is infectious and not only bodes well for your career but your personal life as well. I can testify first hand how jobs went so much more smoothly when my attitude (and others' as well) was positive, helpful, and energetic about the work at hand.

One of the nicest compliments I ever received was from a dancer I performed with at Disney World. At Beauty and the Beast the dancers and singers had varying schedules that were rarely the same, so while I got to see most of the cast during a week's time, it was never quite the same configuration of people onstage from show to show and day to day. But this dancer told me that she was always happy when my name on the schedule to work that day.

To be honest, though, I wasn't trying to win her favor or cozy up to people. I just came in, loved my job and the role I was performing, and enjoyed the cast I worked with. Without forcing anything I became the one she liked working alongside the most. It was incredibly humbling and made me even more happy to share my time with her and the rest of the cast. However, I have been in shows where I felt non-existent and unknown to the rest of the cast, never invited out or knew what fun things were happening. I literally felt like an outsider.

The difference? Agenda.

When I enjoy what I do and meet the day and cast with enthusiasm, then I get that in return. People know me and like me and want to be around me. On the other hand, when I'm scoping and hold back interaction or angling to win the favor of this one or that one, I tend to be very isolated and on the outskirts of social circles.

I've definitely learned that when joy and gratefulness guide my day and routine, I am typically happier and less worried about the social aspects of work. When I judge and critique my surrounding, however, then I am usually alone a lot more and less fulfilled with the work.

So find the pleasure of your work and those who you work with. Happiness rarely walks alone and is a magnet for the best people and the best from people.