It’s self help hour here at Mandatory Tea Time and we’re talking about shooting the sh*t. I know it’s just a figure of speech. And in it’s figurative meaning, I do love to do it. Another, lesser-used term for this is “bro-ing down.” This is a term I gleaned from my experience in the music industry. The music industry is very, shall we say, sausage heavy. Lots of bros. As a little lady navigating this industry I learned fast how to bro down.
In the world of marketing, I shoot the sh*t.
I prefer to call this “making new friends.” I am still 10-years-old-on-the-elementary-school-playground like that. And I love it. I love meeting new people, hearing about what they do, finding out what makes them tick, what gets them going, what’s shaped them. Love that crap!
But sometimes I don’t want to figuartively shoot the shit. Because sometimes I get bogged down and bummed out. This is normal. I don’t love life all the time. And sometimes, I want to ACTUALLY SHOOT THE SH*T IN LIFE. Don’t you?
Okay, okay, I’m not talking guns and stuff. I’m not a violent person. I actually am really not a fan of shooting anything in the literal sense. And I probably shouldn’t even write a post like this in light of what has just happened to Trayvon Martin. Sickened. But I think that when people work as hard as we do in this modern age that we need more outlets for when frustration sets in. And it does set in, does it not?
The other day I asked a buddy of mine how her day was going and she said something to the affect of “The excedrine bottle has been close at hand.” Rather than excedrine, I think what my friend needed was to actually take a little Karate CHOP! to her crap.
Listen. Excedrine only does so much. Peanut Butter Jelly Time is only funny so many times - although it was so funny to me once upon a time I literally had tears streaming from my eyes.
Here are some things I do (and you should do, too) to get the crazy out and get back to being a productive member of Planet Earth:
Take a walk. (Empty your mind).
Take a shower. (Just stand there and let the water run over you).
Take a drive. (But not in traffic).
Breathe. (Breathe, breathe some more).
Remember the bigger picture. (Because there is a huge one).
Do something nice for someone else. (Get outside your own head for once).
Tea time! (Well you knew I was gonna say that!)
Those are just some of the things I do to combat the crap, to refocus, and to really release the tension when the tension sets in. What do you do?
I try to follow one main rule of thumb whilst navigating my social media world: what I do in real life, I do in social media. Makes sense, right? That means I’m always having conversations like this with myself: Would I share this photo with 400 of my closest friends? No? Okay, don’t post. Would I really let that slang word come across my lips or is this just the coffee and space between us talking? Okay. Retract! Delete! Do. not. push. send!
It also means that if I see someone post about a flight getting delayed and being bummed about, a brother who is sick in the hospital, or even just a vague allusion to a bad day, I’m going to take a few seconds to ask about it. I’m not going to just let that crap slide, or God forbid, “like” it. Because - in real life - there’s no way I’d ignore something like that. What you had for breakfast? Yeah, I’d likely block that out. (Unless we’re talking oatmeal and blueberries because that’s my jam.) Your bro in the hospital? Nope. All ears.
Which brings me to today when my rule of thumb kind of failed me. I think. I was on Twitter and I jumped into a conversation with someone I didn’t know who had written an article. That might have been my first mistake - the jumping in part. But as a writer/content creator, I personally covet that: input from everyone and anyone! I covet conversation. I want to learn from my world. Maybe this isn’t true for everyone?
The man I was interacting with had discussed a certain company in his article. I mentioned to him a competitor of this company - not because I was trying to sell him on anything, but because I was truly curious if he had heard of this other company and his thoughts! I know, I know, I’m crazy! I’m curious. It’s a RARE trait. But some people ACTUALLY DO HAVE QUESTIONS ABOUT THEIR WORLD. Imagine!
Anyway, he accused me of pulling a “bait and switch.” I actually had to look that one up because, although I’d heard the term I did not understand how he meant it in context. I am still confused about the accusation.
And I guess that brings me back to my original point. I know I can be misunderstood in “real life,” and this is a case of it happening in social media as well. In this case, I handled it just as I would have in “real life”, explaining my intent and that I only coveted his conversation. Again, I really wish this wasn’t such a foreign concept to so many - especially on Twitter. You Tweeps get so used to pushing your crap on everyone that when someone actually wants to interact, the knee-jerk reaction ain’t always pretty.
The important thing to remember here is my rule of thumb number two about social media - and really one of my biggest mantras in life in general: NO FEAR. You gotta do you. Know what you believe, know who are, know you’re coming from a good place. MOVE FORWARD. Leave those dust bunnies in the dust. I hate cleaning and Social Media isn’t a perfect science.
Have you had similar Social Media blunders? How did you handle them?
It’s not that I was afraid. I’m a meticulous worker—a cross every “T” and dot every “I” kind of girl. I don’t make many mistakes. But I’m my worst critic. I more or less stopped studying Literature in college because of the one-on-ones with professors who scoured over every word I wrote while I sat there trying to look unaffected. Raise your hand if you cringe at that kind of critique? I have a word for you, Dearest Lit Professor—“pressure”! Who needs it?
This may explain why the palms of my hands were sweating like mad on performance review day at work. And not only was it performance review day, this was my first ever review at my first ever real job. (Starbucks barista doesn’t count—although they do reviews, too.) To add to my anxiety, I had spoken but a handful of words to my so-called manager over the short three months I had been on the job. Hired in September. Annual reviews in December. #terribletiming
Those reading this who fit The Perfectionist personality profile like I do will relate to the fact this review ended up being way less of a big deal than I had built it up to be. In fact, it was hardly a deal at all. I seem to remember a piece of paper with things like “communication” and “works well with others”, then boxes in columns next to these things in which to check “effective” “good” or ”needs improving”. I flashed back to grade school progress reports.
I was given all good marks, with the exception of one “needs improving”, which I was highly offended and very distracted by. In fact, during our meeting I could think of nothing else. If I did receive positive recognition of any kind, it was lost on perfectionist me. I was focused on the one thing I was apparently no good at. You can imagine my state of surprise.
At the end of my review, So-called Manager gave me my lovely parting gift, the paper, which I quickly then filed under “Waste of Time”. And although I’ve had “better” performance reviews since then, some things remain the same—that is if my manager even got around to the performance review at all. So many times they were put off and put off and put off again. The feeling of obligation is always there. The anxiety is definitely always there. The sort of antiquated rigamarole? Yep. There.
They say if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, right? But something is definitely broken here. I can’t be the only one who thinks so. They also say misery loves company and I know you’ve got your “Performance Review Horror Story” too. Please share, my dears.
And please share your ideas for cleaning up this godforsaken crapshoot. The times are a-callin’ for something better, don’t you think?
Oh how I love quoting bad lyrics. For those who don’t know what I’m talking about, peep this. I wonder what Scott Stapp from Creed is doing at this very minute. Watching Family Guy? Picking up a 3-pack of wife beaters? Snapping into a Slim Jim?
Maybe his song was inspired after a long day on the job with no recongition. Hey, it could have happened. Do you know that 52 percent of workers today feel that they are not being recongnized for their efforts? Instead of getting all bummed about it, maybe Scotty Stappy put it in a song? Maybe.
But it’s sad. It’s sad that so many of us feel we are not receiving adequate recognition on the job—especially since it’s really pretty painless (and FUN) to give accolades to our fellow workers and employees. And there are so many different ways we can do this.
WorkSimple has a poll happening here on their Facebook page where you can answer the question: How do you thank your employees for exceeding expectations in the workplace? Send a short email? Present a plaque? A payment of ten thousand dollars? (I wish.) At my husband’s place of work, they give out bobbleheads for people who go above and beyond in their jobs. As you might imagine, that makes the place pretty colorful. I like it.
WorkSimple also has an awesome new praise app where, amongst other positive engagement, you can “Congratulate” a co-worker on a job being done well. I like that, too.
What do you do to thank your employees or how are you thanked at your job? Let’s get some ideas going on how we can take each other higher! He he. Laaaame.
Cheers m’ dears!