Despondent In Advertising

What a shame to write about this. But it happens so often. People are assholes to one another.

Yeah, I know it happens in other businesses, but for some reason, my ad colleagues think it’s okay to dress-down their peers, their staff, their peers’ staff (wow, not acceptable on any level), or the guy from the local pizza place just trying to deliver grub for the latest employee "motivation" meeting.

Brilliant minds like these actually think it’s okay to perform their righteous act in public. Here's a little lesson for you, jerk ... public execution is just not cool. Went out with the dark ages, and so has your abhorrent behavior.

Lou Piniella giving a clinic on being a jerk in public. Unlike Lou, your colleagues aren't cheering you on. It looks ridiculous, doesn't it?

And get this; your HR department probably isn’t keen on the idea either.

What a hypocrite. Nurture great work and beat them down like serfs working the farm.

I guess when you have all that creative energy, and your mind is a well-spring of amazing, gooey ideas spinning around, it’s okay to yell at someone because they asked a question, or [OMG!] tried to explain their point – but you’re just too knowledgeable, and they really don’t know anything anyway.

Well, get this. They know more than you, because they’re the ones doing the work. Figuring out what you actually mean when given obtuse information. And they’re the ones cleaning up after you dismember the direction you gave last week – only to decide that isn’t what you really wanted. Or you’re seeing everything in a different, brilliant light.

Your rude, offensive behavior leads to worn out, despondent employees. Why would they ever want to work for YOU? Yes, they are despondent now, and they eventually become resentful, and one day, they leave. The ones who know how to get your work done - under the conditions you have. . . ah . . em, nurtured.


From partners to the mailroom kids, no one has the right to yell, use foul language (I can hear all you ad people howling – because it’s considered part of the culture – like jeans and black t-shirts. And hoodies. And tats. And dogs in the office. And beer on Friday. But check in with your local HR person or state employment office and maybe you’ll find you’ve been violating about a zillion laws.

Those folks have no sense of humor when it comes to abuse (I said the word), and consider the point of view of a ‘reasonable person’ when determining if you’ve stepped out of line. A reasonable person could expect x, y, or z.

X, y and z do not include being humiliated publicly. And watch your language. It can be that freedom of expression everyone uses in a creative environment that will . . . Take. You. Down.

You have something to say to one of your staff? Take them into your office and find out why they did whatever they did. It's a discussion for cripes sakes. You need to reprimand them? Get your HR person on the phone and do it right.

You have something to say about your peers’ staff? Talk to your peer and get the “offender” into the office with their boss and talk about the problem.

When you yell at someone in the office, you are the one who’s wrong. You Are An Asshole.

Yes, I used a bad word.

You deserved it.


Are You Happy At Work?

I’ve been thinking about happiness at work recently. I dwell on this a lot actually. I dwell because I’m usually called upon to work with clients who are experiencing challenges. Projects are late, over budget, clients are beating up the AEs regularly (and the AEs are allowing it), and everyone is generally pissy.

So I recalled an article I read a few months back on about Ken Bernanke tracking happiness.

What? He’s tracking happiness? Maybe he should stick to tracking the economy, gifts to banks – and bankers, and well, I don’t have to tell you…

From the article:

"The Federal Reserve chairman said Monday that gauging happiness can be as important for measuring economic progress as determining whether inflation is low or unemployment high. Economics isn't just about money and material benefits, Bernanke said. It is also about understanding and promoting "the enhancement of well-being."

So the article goes… "The Kingdom of Bhutan has been tracking happiness for four decades. The tiny Himalayan nation stopped tracking gross national product in 1972 and instead switched to measuring Gross National Happiness."

Just like out there in that big old world, when you get really local – like right there, in your office – there are measurements that must be taken and reviewed. It’s how you get the best out of everyone, eliminate (at least reduce) frustration, and just make it a better place to work. 

The article goes on to say:

“Bernanke's own definition of happiness might baffle anyone without an advanced degree. He called it a "short-term state of awareness that depends on a person's perceptions of one's immediate reality, as well as on immediate external circumstances and outcomes."”

Which also in itself a caution: don’t make it complicated. Happiness at work is simple:

Do your employees feel they have some control over the processes and outcome? And if not, perhaps it’s time to fix that.

And maybe start with: is anyone happy?

Of course I had to add kids and puppies. It's so simple.