Why People Don't Reply

When I was finishing up portfolio school, I had a theory that ad people were free/had more time at 2pm on Mondays.

The 2pm Theory: 
Monday morning, your inbox is full of things from late Friday, the weekend and of course, lots of spam. So you spend the first part of the morning deleting and responding to emails and getting your life in order. Then there are the Monday meetings - which no one likes - but by around 2pm, you have that moment in your day when you're on top of everything and can cruise Facebook and/or respond to emails from creative wannabes right away.

Now that I've been working for a few years, I want to laugh in the face of younger me.
Silly girl.

Handle Your Feelings

There will be rough creative days.

Your ideas will get shot down. The budget will be cut (after you've put in 233 hours of work) and now the project will never see the light of day. The client will say their ten-year old could do a better job than what you just presented. You will get taken off a project you were really excited about. Your partner/coworker will spazz on you. Your computer will quit life and you'll lose everything you've been working on.

There'll be days when you want to storm out of the office before you set it on fire, or worse, lock yourself in a bathroom stall and cry. (I know I've written before about this and said There's No Crying In Advertising but if you absolutely have to, go to another floor. And if someone hears you, pick any line from this song as your reply.) 

Here are a few things I do to help me get through a rough day. 

1. Tell Today to stop it. Sometimes I speak directly to Today or write it a little note, "Dear Today, you won't win this time. So just quit it." I also remind myself that tomorrow is a new day. And who doesn't like new things?

2. Think about what you've learned from the experience. I try to figure out why XYZ happened and what I can do to avoid it in the future, and if it that's not possible, then I find new ways to respond/recover. There's always something you can learn. Always. 

3. Talk to a friend. Off the clock and outside of the office. Sometimes I just need to vent and rant and get it all out of my system. And sometimes in the middle of the vent-rant I realise it's not such a big deal and maybe I should calm the hell down. 

4. Do something to cheer yourself up. Beware of turning to drugs or alcohol or some other self-destructive faux-solution. Instead, I look for something positive that is fulfilling and gets my mind out of that negative space - like dancing, volunteering, peanut butter ice cream. 

5. Let it go. Seriously, don't bring it into tomorrow and definitely don't let it flow over into your other projects. Don't be a Negative Nelly or the lead writer at IHateEverything.com. (This isn't a real site.) I always remind myself that I'm not saving lives.

6. Look for other ways to be awesome. I try to find a way to counter that loss with a win. Maybe it's in another project or in a whole other way outside of writing copy, but I look for any opportunity to get my mojo back. 

Watch Out For That Bus

Thick skin is an unlisted job requirement. So is smiling when you don't want to, and making awkward small talk before meetings. (Here are 10 tips for making small talk

Honestly, it's also part of growing up. As you get older, you realize you can't take 90% of things personally and you will have to do things you don't like doing. It's one of the less fun parts of work, but one of the parts that keeps you employed - which is kinda important if you like doing things like having a place to live and/or eating.

The post about What Would You Do if someone at work gave you a verbal butt kick/ Get-Your-Shit-Together speech made me think of this post from 2011 that also deals with people doing/saying crazy shit and the necessity of having thick skin.

We've all heard the saying about how you react to things being the most important - it really is. Even if what happened effing sucks. How you respond - to others and to yourself - is going to determine your happiness (and success.)

The below post gives 4 things you can do if someone throws you under a bus and makes you look bad. 

Back2Work: Watch out for that bus!

Because sooner or later, someone is going to throw you under it. #killerwhaleshrug 

It's usually not out of malice, it's probably more based on self preservation. (Or maybe I'm too naive and hopeful. Evil does exist. Have you watched Fox News?) 

Everybody is just looking out for Number 1 so if they can find a scapegoat, make themselves look better, or just provide some juicy water cooler talk - they will do it. Twice.

It's a harsh world out there, folks.

People will steal you ideas. Your thunder. Your glory. Your red stapler and your yogurt (even if it clearly has your name on it and says "Don't eat me. I am poison.") 

Some people are just super competitive. Some people don't realize what they're doing/saying and how it may affect you. Some people get scared when backed in a corner. Some people are just assholes.

When it comes to whether or not you or I will look bad/get fired/fail, who would you pick to save?

People (your coworker/friend/partner/ account person/planner/guy who sits next to you) will sell you out at some time or another, for one reason or another.

What can you do? 

Be amazing. Don't give anybody the opportunity to say something negative about you. Go above and beyond to show you're a hard worker and consistent so if something comes up, at least one person can say "Hmm, that's very unlike him..."

Have an ally. Get a work buddy (someone who is not your partner or direct superior) who you can build a work relationship with and who can vouch for your skills and integrity when it matters. This person isn't your mentor or your friend. They are a coworker who knows your work ethic and can be an impartial source of advice, support or backing up when necessary.

Shake it off. It happens to the best of us. Consider it a compliment that someone saw you as enough of a threat to try to take down.

Be the better person. Do your damage control and make up for whatever was said/done next time by being amazing x 100 trillion. But don't fight fire with fire. It's not worth it.

Just start thickening your skin, keeping your eyes open, watching your back and working harder than hard so if (when) something happens, you'll have a good enough reputation to fall back on and recovery will be quick and painless.

And most importantly, don't be that guy. You don't have to put someone down to bring yourself up. Either you're great or you're not. Making someone else look bad won't make you look any better.

The advertising industry is small and burning bridges will leave you stranded and hungry on an island one day.