Document Everything. I Mean Everything.

Document Everything. I Mean Everything.

There are a lot of very important things that I will share with you in this book, but what I am about to share with you is one of the most important clerical lessons that I have learned.

Document everything. Save twice. Get it in writing.

I am obsessed with being organized so coming into my career, I thought I had this one in the bag. Man… was I wrong.

When it comes to business, a paper trail is everything. I can’t tell you how many times I fell on someone else’s sword because of a mistake or worse, I was fighting a battle for someone else and then couldn’t prove it was their battle.

Here are the top times that documentation is key:

  • Timelines and Due Dates
  • Professional Feedback / Constructive Criticism / Major Accomplishments
  • Complications / Issues / Mistakes
  • Vacation Time / Requests Off
  • Behavior that seems “Sketchy”
    • I’m going to clue you in on something that you might not believe. When someone is acting “sketchy” it’s usually because they are doing something they shouldn’t be. Don’t get caught up in someone else’s lie. When I see something happening that doesn’t feel right I either loop in my supervisor or HR or if something just feels off, I make sure I document it in writing to someone above me that may have a better sense of what is going on. There have been so many times in my career where I thought that ignoring something would be enough to keep me out of someone else’s crazy antics, but in the end, because I witnessed the problem developing I typically got pulled into someone’s office to chat about the problem and ended up wasting more of my time than if I had just elevated the issue to begin with. I am by no means saying that you need to “tattletale” that is juvenile and not the right approach. What I am saying is that if someone is acting in a way that makes you feel uncomfortable it’s always a good idea to casually mention it to someone else who can address the issue in a professional way.
  • Files or Corporate Assets
    • Audits happen all the time. People quit. Servers crash. If you are reading this sentence and don’t make a habit out of saving everything you touch to some sort of back-up system, then when you lose all your files, I will feel no remorse. I save everything in three places. In my email (I never delete anything), on my desktop and on the company’s server. I feel like this system is foolproof (I’m sure now that I put that in writing the cosmos are going to try to find a way to delete all my files). Plan for the worst. I had a co-worker that saved everything he touched on his desktop. One day on his way into work, he crashed his motorcycle and his work computer went flying. He lost everything (and to top it off had to pay to replace his work computer). It happens all the time. Accidents happened every day. People change positions and you have to do dig up files. Don’t be the person that makes the next person’s job a living hell because you never saved anything where it belonged.

Try Something Different Why Don’t You

Try Something Different Why Don’t You

Doing things differently can be a daunting task. For a lot of people, different equals bad. It’s the unknown.

It’s important to remember that it’s normal for people to resist change.

Sometimes though… different can be the best thing you will ever do.

When you try to do things a little differently it allows you to see new perspectives. Sometimes you will try something different and quickly realize that there was a reason it was done a certain way, to begin with, and guess what…that’s okay. It’s okay to try something new and fail. If everyone did everything the exact same since the beginning of time we would still be living in cold caves. I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one who enjoys living in a house with heat. Different is good. Different equals growth. Different equals opportunity.

I will say that there is a proper time and place for doing things differently. It truly is an art. You must ensure that you aren’t doing things different too often for then you might never actually get anything accomplished

You need to understand the motivation for doing something different. Are you trying something new because you’re giving a big old FU to the system? If so, I would recommend sticking to the plan. If you see that things can improve from trying something new, then it’s probably worth a shot.

You need to be realistic and set deadlines and goals to ensure that you don’t just keep trying to do something that isn’t working. You need parameters. You need to understand what it means to succeed and what it means to fail in this new environment.

The goal when you are doing something different should be to get better results that you have in your current situation.

There will be a lot of naysayers, it comes with the territory. Be prepared to state why you are doing what you are doing, absorb all perspectives and advice, don’t get defensive, and don’t feel like you are required to overexplain.

Learn Polite Ways to Say STFU

Learn Polite Ways to Say STFU

I am the kind of person that lets everyone speak their piece. I try not to shut anyone down. Everyone’s opinions are valuable and it’s important that everyone feels heard.

As I grew in my career, I realized that were certain folks that were put on this planet solely to make life miserable. I have met three of them in my career and I pray that I never have to work with another one, but the odds are not in my favor.

These are the people that don’t agree or like a single decision that you make, they are unhappy with their entire life (personal and professional), they are entitled but don’t want to put in the work and they make every single meeting and decision that they are involved in a special kind of hell.

I used to try to please these people and I hated every minute of it. I knew that if I didn’t learn how to shut them down politely, that I was going to explode (like the scene in Office Space where he smashes his computer).

I started to watch how some of the most senior folks I worked with dealt with these people and everyone handled it differently.

A gentle, stern, and polite “respectfully, I disagree” with a short follow-up on why will do.

 There will also be times in your career where you are right and they are wrong, and that’s okay you just have to learn how to address it.

You know the scene in mean girls where Cady hearing and Aaron are sitting in the math class and with each question that he answers you hear her say in her head “wrong”.

There have been so many times in my career when I have been sitting next to somebody in the exact same situation. I worked on the project and I am certain of the answers and someone who thinks they know it all is jumping to look like they did more than they did.

I used to let it go. I knew the right answer, they were wrong, and it would come back to bite them in the butt later. I didn’t have the courage to call them out in front of other people. Then I realized that by letting others provide incorrect information was just as bad. It can feel intimidating to speak up in a large meeting, but if incorrect information is being provided it should get addressed.

Have Hobbies Outside of Work

Have Hobbies Outside of Work

My father has played baseball every Sunday since the day I was born. He has only missed three games that I can remember in over thirty years. Once was when the shit hit the fan at work and everyone’s job was on the line. The second time was a close family funeral and the third time was when we were on a family vacation and there wasn’t a way, he could get home in time for the game.

He has made it a priority to do something he loves at least once a week. Everyone in our family knows that it’s not optional. His coworkers know that if they plan a meeting, he won’t be there. Sundays are for baseball and only baseball.

Your hobbies are not optional.

Find ways to incorporate those activities into your life. Never go a week without doing something that you love that isn’t work.

What gets you excited? What do you love doing? What is it that you can lose yourself to the point where you lose track of time?

If you say you don’t have time, I will tell you that you do have time. You are just choosing to spend your time doing other activities. You must make time for yourself.

Having hobbies makes you more interesting and gives you depth. It makes you fun to talk to and showcases your passion. It allows you to relax and recharge.

Life is meant to be lived and enjoyed. You are not a machine that was built to work day in and day out. I think it’s an admirable trait to be passionate about your job and put in the hours, especially if you want to get ahead in your career. Working is necessary but it’s not the only thing that you should be doing.

If you’re not sure what you love doing, we already have a problem. It is, however, an easy problem to fix. You must take the time to try new things and find out what it is that sets your soul on fire. Here is an alphabetical list of activities that you can start working through to see if anything sparks a little joy in your life.

  • Astronomy, Acting
  • Baking, Blogging, Birdwatching
  • Collecting, Coloring, Crochet, Crafts, Creative Writing, Crosswords
  • Drawing
  • Embroidery
  • Fashion, Fishing
  • Gardening, Gaming, Genealogy, Graphic Design
  • Home Improvement, Hula Hooping, Hiking
  • Interior design, Ice Skating
  • Jigsaw Puzzles, Jewelry Making, Juggling
  • Karaoke, Karate, Knitting
  • Legos
  • Music, Magic
  • Needlepoint
  • Origami
  • Painting, photography, Pottery
  • Quilting
  • Reading, Running
  • Stamp Collecting, Sports, Sudoku, Sewing, Swimming, Sailing
  • Tennis
  • Ultimate Frisbee
  • Vehicle Restoration
  • Walking, Working Out, Word Searches
  • Xylophone
  • Yoga
  • Zoo Tours

Create a Brand for Yourself

Create a Brand for Yourself

When your name comes up what do people think about? How do you come across to others? Take a few minutes to visualize how you want to come across and then begin to implement those items into your daily life. When I came out of college, I knew who I wanted to be but felt like I was on a hamster wheel trying to get there. Sometimes you must do a complete life overhaul to turn yourself into the person you want to be. For me, a lot of my career focuses on creating and developing for major CPG companies. I could turn a cheese slice into something you needed to have in your house like a master but when it came to my own life, I looked like a mess. My work ethic was top-notch, but I appeared to be a shit show. I wasn’t good at time management (meaning I was always a couple minutes late). I bought whatever clothing was on sale without thinking about how it made me look or feel. I didn’t really wear make-up, just some concealer under my eyes and a dab of mascara paired with my strawberry Chapstick. Jewelry was only for special occasions. My desk was always organized but didn’t have a color scheme. I rocked a sock bun because I thought it looked sleek and pulled together. I was more than happy to wear my “fancy flip flops” (because I thought that was a thing) to the office and my heels only saw the day of light when I was getting my review. My cell phone case had floating sparkles and I donned a Jan Sport backpack. Don’t get me started on my pink and white polka dot suitcase. This was just how I appeared at the office, my home life was even worse.

I was a mess, a dumpster fire to say the least.

Here are some of the tips and tricks that I learned when I did my complete life overhaul. Start by looking at a few top professionals in your industry and see what they do and then align your life to mimic that.

 Communication Style:

  • You must decide how you want to come across to everyone you work with and then try to focus on maintaining a consistent approach to ensure that your colleagues know what to expect.


  • Keep your workspace clean and organized.
  • Have a few items that represent who you are.
  • Don’t keep tchotchkes and mementos in bulk. If you want to keep them tuck them away in a drawer. They make you look young.


  • Design your home so that when you go on vacation, you miss being there.
  • Keep it clean and organized.
  • If you don’t use something consistently, get rid of it. It’s been proven that clutter can make you tired and depressed.


  • If you don’t have money to invest in new clothes, find items that are cluttering up your home and sell them, and then use that money to build your new wardrobe. The better you dress, the better you will feel. I promise.
  • Find 2-3 colors that look nice on you and only buy items in those colors. It makes getting ready easy and gives you so many incremental ways to pair and layer your clothing. I recommend neutrals. If you want to add in some color have a few fun accessories that you can throw in.
  • Spend more on less. Don’t buy a lot of items that won’t last long. Invest in nice, classic pieces that will stand the test of time.
  • Always keep a nice jacket at the office. If you work in a profession where suit jackets are worn at big meetings, keep one there. You never know when you are going to get called to a meeting and want to look together.
  • Wake up a little earlier to make sure you have time to get ready. Set out your outfit and accessories the night before.
  • Flip flops (no matter how fancy) and not meant for the office. There are more companies that are allowing a casual dress code, but I would bet that if you look at top management, they probably aren’t rocking flip flops daily or to their big meetings.
  • Invest in good luggage. Get a suitcase set with the wheels that go in every direction. Stick with black or brown. Your suitcase should not represent anything seen on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Aire.
  • If you use a laptop bag or bookbag, keep it simple and professional. Anything that you would wear in high school or college is probably out of the question.