The infamous “Missouri Method,” known for its tough love and unforgiving demand to sink or swim, follows me home to Kansas City.
I’ve never formally resigned from a position. As with the process of quality journalism, this transition phase from one job to the next is very much a sink or swim scenario.
I would be remiss to say my college education did not prepare me for this scenario. The truth of the Missouri Method is that its a boot camp for life in general. A trusted professor’s agonizing disappointment, a feared professor’s predictable rage and a middle-of-the-road professor’s heartbreaking rebuke to work you felt good about producing. These were the daily experiences of anyone from the Missouri School of Journalism’s convergence program.
The sense of dread was natural; most certainly expected. But I’ll be damned if I didn’t discover what I was truly capable of when deadline came crashing into focus and our team project was woefully unprepared. Sure, we learned how to communicate our failures in a way that would soften the blow from the faculty. But we also learned how to work in an environment where the sole focus isn’t on the individual – final product is king.
As we tallied the progression of semesters on the walls of our collective mental prison — you stuck with the same crew from year two until graduation — we learned how to be more efficient with our time. By forcing us to tap into the “fight or flight” response, we quickly learned how to produce quality work. The congratulations from our intrepid band of professors only came when we all scraped by with passing grades each semester.
In the end, the faculty demanded better from us professionally and personally. Those who made it to the end saw the bigger picture and understood that the arguments, sleepless nights, blood, sweat and tears was really our own internalized effort to work harder. Those who couldn’t swim, sank. Those who sank, turned to communications (sorry, beloved PR graduates everywhere).
Many of the lessons learned from the Missouri Method have positively affected my professional working career.
So I’ve composed my emails to the executives, recorded all of my pertinent information, and continue to work like any other Wednesday. The scenery is changing, but the work marches on. I’m a survivor of the Missouri Method, and I’m marching on, too.
That last bit sounded way cooler in my head.