For almost two years, I’ve been a manager of a social media department at the company I work for. I’ve had two interns for just as long and spend the vast majority of my day working alongside them, my boss (the company CEO), our director of operations, graphic designer, and PR account executive team. Every day coming into work is a big adventure but it’s not for the faint of heart - I’m usually busy nonstop until the end of the day, in which case I tend to take my work home with me or go to a cafe afterward to continue working if I’m not yet done with something.
When people ask me how I do it, I don’t know what to say. I’ve been working since I was 11 years old and throughout high school and college juggled two jobs simultaneously. I’ve always been ambitious and never one to settle either - my mentality to a lot of things in life is “how can I do more today?” I am my own toughest critic and often believe I can do more and strive for that constantly. More than that, I have a lot motivating me. I have a family I want to make proud, a workplace I want to keep pushing higher and higher, past dudes I was once interested in who will rue the day they did not decide to date me (though I personally like to think the right guy would not be intimidated by me), and me, the person for whom I’m doing this for. You have to work hard for yourself. It’s not a selfish thing either. It’s difficult and there’s a lot of responsibility and accountability at hand and some people don’t want a part of that. But others do and those people who do and do it well, they’re the boss ladies.
Want to become one yourself? Take some notes.
1) Be Respectful
This is the key to getting a lot of things you want out of life. The job doesn’t get done faster or better if you treat everyone like they’re your own private punching bags or go on a power trip or micromanage everything. If you’re the boss, don’t look at everyone with a lower level title like they’re less on the totem pole of life than you are (‘cause trust me, we all have to start from somewhere and usually it isn’t at the top). Teams are meant to rise together and as the leader, it’s up to you to keep that optimism, drive, and determination alive and well. Rest assured that the moment you start pulling some high and mighty shit will be the moment that karma will ensure you get yours. (Or your intern could very well pull a voodoo doll number on you… gave you something to think about, didn’t I?)
2) Laugh and Laugh Some More
I worry about workplaces that lack some funny bone action in their day to day routine. I worry even more about bosses who crack down on taking breaks throughout the day to be silly - seriously? I’d be lost without my daily memes, YouTube vids, and Onion article reads. There’s a fine line between being professional and falling into the professional box to the point where you’re a stiff in a suit who refuses to smile at anything. Laugh with your team and work to make being in the office somewhere they’d like to be.
Why this one gets lost in the shuffle so often is a mystery to me. Encourage your team to come to you if they have questions, if they need help, and just because. (That last one extends to more than just commenting on the weekend or the weather, fyi.)
4) Use Good Grammar in Your Emails
I used to have an editor who emailed with me in the most haphazard, choppy fashion humanly possible - misspellings abounded and everything you could possibly abbreviate was abbreviated. Oh, the irony of it all. You don’t need to double check your spell check with every email you send but don’t abbreviate already short words like please to “pls” - it’s so fucking lazy.
5) Additional Golden Rules of Note
-don’t overextend yourself
-understand that you might not get everything done in the span of 8 hours
-go into meetings prepared, ALWAYS
-leave your bad day at the door
-come in earlier than most and leave later than most
-make a daily to-do list and prioritize
-take vacations when you need a break
-pace yourself when drinking at the company party
That’s all for now,
The editor-in-chief of WomenOnTheFence.com Erica Diamond recently wrote up an article on the Huffington Post on spending the weekend travelling up to Toronto with her mom to attend Oprah’s Lifeclass Tour. I know. I didn’t know she had one either. The tour did not consist of just the Big O as the speaker alone- other speakers included Deepak Chopra and Tony Robbins, all of which dished on 23 secrets to improving your life.
The secrets were of the nicely written variety that in some cases ultimately sound worse than they appear. “Leap and the net will appear.” “Your story is what blocks you from your breakthrough.” “Act like you know you’re golden.”
Here’s my version of the 23 secrets to improving your life I didn’t see mentioned. In no particular order:
1. Laugh. It’s really the key to all issues big and small- if you can find something to laugh about or make a joke out of, do it.
2. Michael Bluth: What have we always said is the most important thing?
George Michael Bluth: Breakfast
Michael Bluth: Family
George Michael Bluth: Oh, right. Family. I thought you meant of the things you eat.
(basically put family and breakfast on the same level of importance in your life)
3. If you love what you do, show it. Make everyone feel your passion before you can.
4. If you love someone, make sure they know it. If possible make it known on a daily basis.
5. Go to Disneyland or Disneyworld at least once. Even if you aren’t “a Disney person” do it. Stay for the fireworks show.
7. Get angry every once in a while. This is not a popular idea for “life improvement” but trust me your life is going to suck if you never, ever get upset over anything and keep it all bottled up inside.
8. Learn how to cook a good meal that doesn’t come out of a bag or a box.
9. "Have 2 glasses of wine, have 10 glasses of wine."
-Betty Caruso, Bronx Beat, SNL
(LIVE. BY. THIS.)
10. Travel and move around. Book all of your flights in advance though so that you not only have time off from work to go, you can get a cheaper seat and hotel this way.
11. "Treat Yo Self"
-Donna and Tom, Parks and Recreation
(Indulge yourself every now and then, especially on a bad day.)
12. Do your own thing and ignore anyone who talks trash on it. Those people only do that because they’re jelly of you and your free-thinking self.
13. "Take chances! Make mistakes! Get messy!"
-the awesome Miss Frizzle from The Magic School Bus
14. Dress up even if you think you’re going nowhere special. Every day is worth a little extra effort and sometimes the day can surprise you.
15. Cynthia: God, don’t you ever feel like everything we do and everything we’ve been taught is just to service the future?
Tony: Yeah I know, like it’s all preparation.
Cynthia: Right. But what are we preparing ourselves for?
Tony: Life of the party.
Mike: It’s true.
Cynthia: You know, but that’s valid because if we are all gonna die anyway shouldn’t we be enjoying ourselves now? You know, I’d like to quit thinking of the present, like right now, as some minor insignificant preamble to something else.
-Dazed and Confused
(I quote this movie too much. But yeah, enjoy yourself where you are right now.)
16. If you have good health, be thankful for it. On a daily basis I am thankful for my legs and that they can walk everywhere and my eyes for seeing stuff and the fact that I don’t have liver problems and things like that. It’s always taken for granted, always.
17. Go to the top of a very tall building and look down at everything below and think a little bit from up there. It may change your train of thought on your place in the world.
18. Read, goddamnit, read.
19. Sleep in and/or nap it out.
20. Hang out on the beach and in the ocean as many times as you humanly can. Wear sunscreen though. That’s pretty important.
21. Exercise and stretch even if it hurts. Actually it should hurt to some degree if you’re doing it right.
22. "Don’t feel guilty if you don’t know what you want to do with your life. The most interesting people I know didn’t know at 22 what they wanted to do with their lives. Some of the most interesting 40 year olds I know still don’t."
-Baz Luhrmann, Everyone’s Free (To Wear Sunscreen)
(This song is deep. You should listen to it. Also, listen to lots of music, as much as humanly possible.)
23. And remember: party on Wayne, party on Garth.