Third Base is called the Hot Corner for a reason—and not everyone can take the heat. You feel alone, the balls come at you fast and furious, and you can’t predict how they’ll come. Sometimes you can hardly see them. If you miss the catch, the other team gets a double or a triple. That’s bad.
But if you get the out, oh how valuable you are!
It’s like working as internal support for a company. I’ve done internal support, and there’s nothing routine about it. You might get a couple of easy issues to work on, everything seems normal, but then your sales person hits you with a major problem at 10 AM. Everything else you had planned for the day gets shoved aside. And no one can help you figure out how to handle it because no one else plays your position. No one wants to. But when you do resolve the problem, you save the day—your people can go back to doing their jobs, because of you.
So, how can you play the Hot Corner well?
1. Be Ready for Anything
From a routine pop fly to a line drive to a bunt, from a normal day at the office to complete chaos with your systems crashing and your phone ringing off the hook–it all can and will happen. It’s your job to be ready for it.
2. Embrace the Pressure
Sure, it’s going to be tough. Sure, the stakes are high. But at least your job is never boring. You won’t get it right all the time, no one does, but if you can embrace the pressure, if you can find a way to enjoy it, you’ll give yourself a better chance.
Keep winning, keep trying hard, and watch your value within your company sky-rocket. They won’t be able to take you off of the Hot Corner.
3. Don’t Make It About You
Yes, the job is stressful, but you can’t complain. Complaining doesn’t solve anything, it just creates pointless negativity. Nobody wants to hear about how you saved the day, either. Trust me, when you do save the day, everyone will know it. Yes, the sales rep or the client you’re helping may get mad at you. They’re under a lot of stress, and sometimes blame the messenger. You cannot take it personally. Unless they’re abusive or extremely disrespectful, just do your job. Making stuff about you wastes your energy. Cut yourself a break. Let it go.
4. Put in the Work
Don’t wait until things get crazy to work hard—unless you want things to get really crazy. Take care of the little things, keep your skills sharp, and show up every day. Seek mentors among those who have filled this role before. Find the people who can help you out and find ways to help them out (if the network goes down, you better hope the IT person likes you). When the game heats up, you’ll be glad you have everything in order ahead of time.
The Hot Corner isn’t easy. But if you succeed at a complicated position, well, then you are on your way to great things.
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