Don’t insult…

… the gatekeepers.

I saw a post today on a social media site that made me think a little bit about how we discount “the little people”. This writer has written a book on a subject that a well known talk show host will be covering and she was wondering how to get it into their hands. “Not into the hands of an underling.” she said.

Well, first of all, don’t insult the underlings. They are the gatekeepers for the “important” people. They can make it possible. They can make it impossible and if you discount their power or importance they’re more likely to make it impossible. Yes, sure, if they’re professional they’ll do what ever is best for their employer blah, blah, blah, but we should all remember we are small fish in a gigantic pond and all things being equal – I’m going to choose the person who didn’t assume I’m nobody.

I’m sure the post was tongue-in-cheek, at least a bit, but unless you know the “important” person, getting your item in their hands is not usually going to help you out – unless it has been put there by a trusted “underling”. So, let’s stop assuming that the only way to get what we want is to go straight to the top. Believe it or not it is often faster to go through the “underlings”.

I am not an underling, but I have been in the past. And I’ve worked in Hollywood (but not as an underling, or at least not that type of underling) so I’ve seen it happen over and over.

The take-away here – do not underestimate the power of an assistant (aka “underling). They can make things happen. Or not.

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