We had the good fortune of connecting with Kristen Bedno and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Kristen, how has your work-life balance changed over time?
Beginning in 2020, a lot of people in the entertainment industry were suddenly working from home. There were lots of new challenges (and also benefits, let’s be honest!) to this since it takes a good amount of discipline to effectively manage our time from home. Some folks have maybe a little too much freedom, can’t focus, get easily distracted. And then some folks, like myself, have a hard time setting down the computer, remembering to get up and stretch, and knowing when to close the laptop for the night. I’ve always believed in working harder than everyone else. It pays off and it stands out to your colleagues and of course to the boss. But that was actually my biggest challenge when I started working from home. Suddenly, instead of the commuting, I had more time to do emails! I could start working at 7am and go for 12 hours! Yay! But I noticed I was putting a LOT of pressure on myself. I started feeling this weight and anxiety that I’d never experienced before. I’m still learning how to grapple with it, honestly. I’m starting to take mini-breaks and getting some fresh air for sure, but it’s really about how I’m dealing with these situations in my own mind that’s making the difference. Get better organized. Work smarter and not longer. Realize that anxiety is coming from the inside and not from the outside. No one expects us to work 12 hours a day and that is not a hallmark of a good employee anyway. We’re all having to figure things out right now in this “new normal” and we’re all in this boat together. Focusing on a healthy work/life balance makes us better employees and better people and it’s worth taking the time to evaluate.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
What I’m the most proud of: I literally grew up in the middle of a cornfield in Southern Indiana. I was 24 when I packed my toothbrush and my television and drove to California to start a career in acting which didn’t work, and then it turned into film production, which I didn’t care for. That developed into international television sales at Starz which I loved, and then Lionsgate, and then into domestic film distribution and marketing which turns out is actually my passion. The transitions in my career are the things I think I’m the most proud of professionally. The more time we spend learning about ourselves and our interests, plus really digging down deep to be self-aware of our individual innate abilities, the better we’ll be at honing in to the right career. Doing what makes me happy makes every day exciting. I can’t wait to open my laptop and do my job because it’s what I’m good at and what I enjoy. Overcoming and learning from challenges: There’s about a year and a half gap in my resume. I was let go from a position that didn’t fit me at all and it was a real relief to collect that severance check, but I struggled greatly with trying to find a new position. No one was hiring me, despite my excellent resume. I got into a real funk during that time but looking back, I’d like to offer some advice for those who are in between jobs: 1) You WILL find the right job. It will be better than what you thought and it will fit you and make you fulfilled. 2) Grow. Your. Network. I think one of my biggest challenges in finding a new position was I wasn’t very well-connected at that point. My network was too tiny and as they say, sometimes it’s not what you know but who you know. Reach out to people that inspire you or that have YOUR dream job on LinkedIn. Get involved in groups that will help you network. Reach out to colleagues and set up fun Zoom happy hours. Whatever it takes—know more people. It will help immensely. 3) Learn about yourself. What are you the best at? What do you enjoy? What are your stand-out skills? Now, find a resume writer and a career counselor that will help you figure out what type of career you will love. More advice: 1) Don’t let your company put you in a box. If you’re uncomfortable, if you’re asked to sit down and shut up (figuratively or literally), if you’re asked to put who you are way deep down inside and be a cog in a wheel and that’s NOT what you want…do not do the job. You be YOU. Live your best life. You won’t regret it. 2) If you ask for the keys to the castle, folks will give them to you. Ask a million questions. All the time. Learn from others and their experiences. Learn about a different part of your business you don’t know about. Everything you learn will develop your skills and your knowledge and help you earn that seat at the decision-making table, hone your interviewing skills, and develop lasting bonds with your new networking buddy. 3) Everyone is just doing the best they can. Take a moment before being so critical of your colleague. Watch how much you gossip. Spread kindness and optimism. You get a lot more bees with honey and treating folks with kindness and respect will go further. Be that teacher they need; be that friend they can talk to. Years later when your assistant is the president of a studio, they’ll remember your kindness and patience and friendship.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Travel? Excitement? What’s that!? This really is a brave new world we’re experiencing with COVID-19 and I miss the city I live in right now. I’m looking forward to 2021, or maybe even 2022 where we can get back out there and dip our toes into the endless pond of possibilities and finally satiate our wonderlust again… So, let’s call this the “things I miss the most about LA” list: The Ozzy Dog at Pink’s Hotdogs, the cheap beer and free tacos at The Gold Room in Echo Park, Echo Park six years ago just in general, the view of LA at the Getty Center, sky diving in OC, the garlic knots at C&O Cucina, all dive bars full-stop, the Playa del Rey beaches (no tourists!), concerts at The Forum, the artisanal cocktails at 7 Grand, food trucks… This is an incredible city and I miss it all! The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I’m a big fan of developing mentor/mentee relationships in life just in general and especially within our specific career verticals. Learning from those who’ve walked down the same path can help us to better understand our industry and the world around us. Knowledge comes with experience and the more we know, the better we are at our jobs, the more ready we are for a promotion, or the more attractive we are to be recruited by a new company. I’ve been very fortunate to have many trusted mentors in my life– present and former colleagues, my husband, my family. I’m about 50% my dad—the business side of me and the side that wants to be at the top of my game at all given times. I’ve learned a great deal from just watching him in his career but he may not even know that. Which is actually a good point: you’re being watched even if you don’t know it. You’re teaching people even if you’re not aware which is another reason to do things right and be a good person in the process, really. Which is the part of me that comes from my mom. Be a teacher. Be empathetic. And be a good person in your workplace. People will remember you for that.