36. 9 Things That You Need to STOP Right Now

Welcome to Episode 36 of Navigating the Fustercluck—a podcast full of snackable insights to help you navigate the unpredictable world of creativity & marketing.

My name is Wegs, like eggs with a W, joining you from Deaf Mule Studios in Dallas, where we’re here to talk about 9 things you need to stop right now. I doubt that you’re doing them all right now, but if you’re doing just one of them, you’re doing one too many. None of them are going to advance your career or improve the quality of life. Number One:

No Fish in the Microwave

Godfrey Daniels, Mother of Pearl! I know it’s kinda funny, but…C’mon people, if you’re aiming to be hated, there’s no quicker way than to send fish smells waffing throughout the whole office. I’m serious. 

The bigger point is this: You share your space. You’ve got to take the feelings and olfactory senses of others into consideration. If you’re willing to be so careless with your food, then imagine what other thoughtless things you’re doing. Consciously or unconsciously. If there’s something fishy about your leftovers, there may be something fishy about you. Oh, and in the same vein, remember…Your music is your music. Keep it to yourself. Next…

We Over Me

I’m here to tell ya…People, we’ve got a pronoun problem!

Too many people using I instead of me. 

Maybe they’re afraid of not getting their due credit.

Maybe they’re just thoughtless.

Or at worse, maybe they’re just megalomaniacs.

Whatever the case, ya gotta stop it.

It’s We over Me, people. We over Me.

You want to build a team?

You want to earn trust?

Then you’ve got to share credit and spread the wealth.

I, I, I isn’t going to win you any fans or allies.

It’s just so obvious.

Instead, be the one touting the accomplishments of others.

You’ll find that they’ll tout yours.

But it’s no quid pro quo.

It’s just the right thing to do.

Plus, pronouns are confusing.

By the time someone finishes a story of any length, I can’t remember who “they” is or whether “us” includes me or which him or her is to thank or blame.

What’s the easiest way to solve this? 

Curb your use of pronouns. Stop using them as much as possible. 

It will clean up your storytelling and emails.

Moving on to #3…Stop Telling Everyone How Busy You Are

I’m so busy…Thanks for reminding us all all the time, Great Advertising Martyr. Do you expect us to carry your cross? Really, we’re all busy virtually all the time. 

Now, of course there are times that you’re especially swamped. When that happens, quietly figure out with your boss or colleagues how to lighten your load. And volunteer to do the same when you sense that someone may be drowning.

But it’s annoying to hear someone constantly carping about how no human being has ever been dumped on more than you. It brings everybody down.

#4: Don’t Hookup with Co-Workers

Don’t care how hot she or he is. Don’t care how much you had to drink. Don’t hookup with co-workers. It’s the quickest way to office drama, HR nightmares and problems at home.

20 years ago, I didn’t understand this and I wish I had. Could have avoided a lot of awkwardness. You don’t want to be doing the walk of shame into the office and past a colleague who is now a hookup. Because there’s no way of hiding from one another.

That said, office romances can lead to serious commitments. Even marriage. 

If you’re heavily gravitating toward someone, step back and take the proper steps. Coffee. Cocktails. So on and so forth.

And if something sparks between you and someone else, do yourself a favor and just inform the person you’re supposed to tell. Your boss. HR. Whoever. May sound rigid. But I’ve done it and it has made things a lot easier. Weird? Kinda. But it really does help.

#5: Be Nice to Admins, Maintenance People, Everyone!!!

As the old restaurant saying goes, if you’re not nice to your server, you’re not really nice. Same in advertising. Any business. If you’re not nice to those you feel are beneath you or who can’t help you, you lack character, you arrogant idiot.

Stop it now. Stop it forever.

And from a practical standpoint, you’d be surprised at how may of those people have the respect of your higher-ups. Mess with them, and it may just boomerang on you. If you’re like that, I hope it does. You see, my immigrant grandfather was a church janitor. My grandmother washed laundry and scrubbed floors.

I remember many years ago when I worked in Chicago. Spent many a late night in the office. The cleaning ladies in our building tended to be older Polish women. Wonderful people. Wonderfully hard working. Sadly, they wore their fatigue under their eyes and on their faces. 

They wore frumpy uniforms. Some of them had saggy pantyhose. And none was fluent in English. They stayed quiet and out of the way. Yet, many in my office mocked them. Made fun of them. Would ignore them like they didn’t exist as they cleaned their offices. I always made a point to say hello. Tried to hold a conversation. No matter how limited.

One night, a lady who’ll I’ll call Emilia, came into my office and said goodbye. I said goodnight. She said, No I’m done for good. Really? I asked. Emilia told me that she was quitting all 3 of her jobs. Her son had just graduated Medical School and insisted that she retire. All that work wasn’t for her. It was for him. She put him put him through college and medical school. What a woman! Someone worthy of way more respect than the office wise-asses who disrespected her.

6: Don’t Talk Behind People’s Backs

It’s tempting. But don’t do it. It will come back to haunt you. Misery loves comfort, so why be miserable? Don’t join in the office or after hour conversations. Figure out how to make things better. Most of the time, a simple conversation can bridge gaps with people. If not, there’s no use in escalating things. Things travel fast. Dwelling on that stuff just makes it worse. Don’t let the office to give you an ulcer. Trust me, easier said than done, but like any habit, it takes conscious attention and work.

All I know is that… 

Some People Find Fault Like There is a Reward for It.

The rebellion of sarcasm has given it some cache. The aura of intelligence. A few misguided “likes” on social media. Yet, as internationally known graphic artist, print-maker and designer Anthony Burrill says:

#8: Pessimism is Not Always Deep

Pessimism is often the currency of the Cool Kids. Keep clear. It’s corrosive. Upon further review, it’s usually not as smart as it seems, either. It may be momentarily funny, but long-term misery. Here’s a question for you: 

Are we really such tortured souls? Is that what this business has done to us? If so, run for your lives. That level of toxicity is lethal. After awhile, it’s tiresome, too. Don’t dwell in it. It’ll drown you.

#9: Don’t Get Trapped in Your Dreams.

You can’t control every detail of your life. And why would you try? Who knows what you might miss out on? Life is unpredictable. Go with it. Don’t feel like you’re failing just because things aren’t going according to plan. Getting stuck in a narrative of your own making ignores that you have to roll with the possibilities. Live in them. Go with them. As the late great John Lennon said…

Life is What Happens While You’re Busy Making Other Plans.   

Or in the words of author Douglass Adams… 

I May Not Have Gone Where I Intended to Go, But I Think I Have Ended Up Where I Needed to Be.   

And so, as we head to the finish line, no matter what, don’t forget…

You Are the Hero of Your Own Story

You may not slay a dragon or save the galaxy, but you are the main character of your life.  So, when it’s all said and done, will your memoirs be worth reading? If they do turn out to be noteworthy, there will have to be some reason why.  Something you felt strongly about. Something you were willing to fight for, no matter how many obstacles got in your way.

Well, that about wraps up our 35th episode of Navigating the Fustercluck. Thank you!

Here from Deaf Mule Studios, I’m your host, Wegs, like eggs with a W, and thanks again for listening in. And after 9 things you shouldn’t do, do this: Share this podcast, please. And feel reach out to me at wegs 24×7@gmail.com and NavigatingTheFustercluck.com. There’ll you’ll find the complete transcripts to this and every other episode of the show. And remember, we’re all in this together. Here’s to you. Here’s to the future.