.How to Make Work Not Suck. *

*Honest advice for anyone with a job

I have had two main jobs in the past eighteen years and have followed a somewhat linear pattern: law enforcement. My career decisions have been based on a) desperation b) spontaneity and c) curiosity. Because of my experience, friendliness and many years in service, I have met a lot of awesome people and gathered knowledge from different cultures, environments and roles. I have spent time with people from all areas of life and countries. All stages of their careers allow me to understand, learn and observe how they do what they do. Or not do.

There are numerous unspoken rules that exist in the world of work. I will considerately share them in this article, so you don’t have to go through the trouble I have had. Just know I have suffered for you. I can write about making mistakes, failing, blagging, bullshitting, saying the wrong things, and doing the wrong things because I have been there. I am guilty of practically everything you are about to read. Head held high, I can admit I have embarrassed myself a lot, I have got myself into some humiliating situations and I have made questionable decisions or said the wrong things at the wrong time. (Story of my life!) On the other hand, I have surprised and impressed myself too.

This article will provide you with the insights that I wish I would have had at the start of my career, but make no mistake, they never stop being helpful, no matter what stage you are at in life.

  1. No One Knows What They Are Doing. Neither Should You. Everyone makes it up as they go along. You don’t have to have all the answers to do a good job.
  2. You Will Have Regrets. We are told not to have regrets, but I have a bucketful. But if you learn from them (which I did), they can actually be useful experiences.
  3. Learn the Art of Bullshitting: There are three types of people in the world. a) those who bullshit, b) those who believe other people’s bullshit and c) those who believe their own bullshit (aim to be here!)
  4. Everyone’s Creative, Even You. If you are feeling particularly uncreative, switch up your environment. A lack of inspiration is external, not internal. Remember: No one gives a shit about you.
  5. There is nothing Wrong With Wanting to Make Money. But happiness should be your priority, and you can’t buy it. If you are not happy within yourself, you will remain that way whether you are in a Lamborghini or a Fiat Panda. You cannot heal an open wound with a 100 Euro note.
  6. The World is Full of Assholes. Approximately 8 % (This is a made-up statistic. But from past experience, I am sure it’s pretty accurate) of people in every office are assholes, unpleasant characters with a lot of shit on their shoulders. The challenge is not to become one.
  7. A Fat Lie: Many of us were raised to believe we could be anything we wanted. That anything we set our minds to is achievable. Unfortunately, the real world is tough and unpredictable. Sometimes working hard isn’t enough. Opportunities don’t come knocking at your door, you have to go out and find them. Have a little self-compassion and don’t knock on your boss’s door to sleep with him.
  8. Don’t Work for Free. Internships are a great way of making new connections and gaining valuable experience but beware of working for free. When you start out, you will find people will ask you favors because “it will look good on your CV”. The choice is yours, but just because you are inexperienced doesn’t mean your time isn’t worth something.
  9. The C-Word. “Career” belongs in the past. Think of it as “jumping between ladders”, instead of climbing up the same one.
  10. You Will Be Disappointed. Often, something unexpected happens and everything goes downhill. It is good to reserve a bit of room for setbacks, and when things do go the way you had hoped, you will be that much more appreciative.
  11. Stop Comparing Yourself to Others. We all have different journeys and we are all operating at different speeds.
  12. Never Say “Think Outside the Box”. What box? Why are you thinking inside a box? There are no excuses and no exceptions; if you catch yourself saying this you might as well lock yourself in a box and never come out.
  13. Everyone’s faking it. The moment powerful words are plucked from the dictionary and used to sound important in emails they lose their meaning. Watch your words. Really consider what you are saying and writing and avoid the predictable jargon and lazy click├ęs.
  14. Fuck up and Fail. Make all the mistakes. You have got to b bad before you get good. The faster you fuck up, the faster you will learn the lesson. Not fucking up is actually worse. But at some point, stop fucking up because after some time you really look dumb.
  15. You are a Walking/Talking Billboard of you. It takes under two seconds for someone to form an opinion of you, without even opening your mouth. A mushroom T-shirt with soy sauce stains isn’t helping people take you seriously.
  16. Use Your Time Wisely. Time is the one thing you can’t get back. Consider it a currency and spend it well.
  17. Your Education Doesn’t Mean Shit. Glowing exam results, impressive qualifications, or the fact you did X, Y, or Z before do not decide how successful you will be later in life.
  18. High Intention and low expectations on Success, Destiny, Luck, and Money
  19. Remain as flexible as possible: Your only concerns are the things you can control – your thoughts and actions.
  20. Things pass, it’s just one thing after another. Don’t work so hard to impress people.
  21. Assumption Is the Mother of All Fuckups. Ask, clarify, ask again.
  22. Having an opinion is Important: Because it shows you are passionate, demonstrates critical thinking, provokes healthy debates, Invites new discussions, and encourages others to share their own views.
  23. Know what’s Going On: Have a vague idea of what’s happening in the world, so you don’t look like an ignorant airhead
  24. There are Lots of Bad Bosses Out There: Just because they are your boss doesn’t mean they are a good role model or leader. Shitty bosses lead to unhappy employees and an unhealthy work environment. If your office has issues you can usually point to the people at the top. There is something about authority going to a person’s head, metamorphosing them into bad-tempered bastards on a power trip.
  25. People Will Judge You: They will always find something not to like. So, you might as well embrace everything about yourself, flaws and all. You do you, haters gonna hate.
  26. Sick Days: Sometimes the idea of going to work might be too unbearable. When this happens, I suggest you call in sick, take the day off. Every once in a while, we must all succumb to a “chronic migraine”. This, my friend, is a healthy white lie. It is just another way of making sure you are looking after yourself. And, don’t feel guilty; everyone does it at some point.
  27. Work is not Life: You need to establish some boundaries. Period!
  28. Don’t be a Dick: Those people gain nothing from their stinky attitude. These people go about their dickish daily lives oblivious to the display of middle fingers targeted behind their backs. Be equally pleasant to everyone, from the window cleaner to the boss.
  29. On Language: The job is to do the right thing for the client, not the right thing for your creativity. Put your romantic ideas aside and say what you need to say in the most effective way. If you are going to argue, do it as if you are presenting a case in court – it must be balanced and measured, not emotional.
  30. Always Be Prepared. Shit happens. Deal with it.
  31. Never Say the F-Word: Companies that refer to themselves as a “family” are usually disguising something. This is most likely code for “everyone’s secretly miserable and our culture is toxic”. It’s a clever leadership tactic, leading to employees working for free and staying way beyond their contracted hours, all in the name of family loyalty.
  32. Tips for Not Losing Your Goddamn Mind: Try not to eat your lunch at your desk. Don’t get involved in work drama. Headphones are handy for drowning out the voices of people you hate.
  33. Speak Up: Following the crowd is lame. Blending in is boring. Care passionately about what matters to you and project it proudly.
  34. It is cool to Be Proud of Yourself: Sharing your success is part of the reward of hard work and it should never feel like boasting. If those around you make you feel guilty or ashamed for tooting your own horn, then you might want to explore new friendship horizons. Don’t be sheepish, you deserve to be proud of your accomplishments. The same goes for praising others for their achievements too; don’t be stingy.
  35. Work/Life-Balance: Are you neglecting your relationship/family because you are so consumed with work? Do you find yourself cancelling plans with friends and family in favour of staying in the office to finish that really important thing? If this happens more than you would like or more than it should, either: a) invite your family to your office for a sleepover, b) re-evaluate your priorities and make some changes or c) get a new job.
  36. Vagus, Baby! The vagus nerve runs down your torso, connecting your brain and your gut. When we get that sinking feeling in the pit of our stomach, it is our brain communicating that something isn’t quite right. The next time your tummy starts rumbling (unless it is hunger or stomach ache from last night’s takeout), consider what could be subconsciously bothering you.
  37. Ask “Why” because you are curious.
  38. Don’t Hand in Your Notice Until You Have a Backup Plan. No matter how much you despise your office and detest everyone and everything within it, ride it out until you have another viable option.
  39. No Job is Worth Your Sanity. When you start losing sleep and your health begins to suffer, maybe you should consider a Plan B
  40. There is no such thing as a perfect job. Don’t forget to have fun and laugh (about the insanities at work).


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