I asked this question to 10,000 people on my “Summer of Quitting” email list.

Everyone on earth disappears, except you. You are all alone. It’s like the movie “I Am Legend,” but no zombies. Everything else is still in place. Cars still on the roads and buildings still in tact and everything is peaceful. What’s the first thing that you do? How does your life and career change? What are your goals for the first 30 days and the first year?

All I have to say is WOW. The responses were amazing.

The responses ranged from, “Break into a sperm clinic and figure out a way to impregnate myself to repopulate the world,” to “Take a shit in the women’s bathroom since I was never able to do that before.”

This was my email back to them. (more…)

I had 500 dollars in my bank account.

It was hovering at that amount for a long time no matter what I did. I bought fewer things and saved more money. I stopped going out on weekends. Somehow, someway, I always ended up with just 500 dollars in my account.

I was living paycheck to paycheck.

One day I attended a large conference. The keynote speaker said:

“Be bold. You have to take risks to advance. Be your own brand. You have to stand out.”

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Story #1 – My company assigned me to a client that I really had no interest in helping out for various reasons. Normally you can’t turn down client requests because “you don’t want to.” I had a 5 minute open and honest conversation with a director and I was dropped from the project and re-assigned to another client with no questions asked.

He was a true professional because he wanted to make sure that I was happy and respected my reasons for saying no. He went out of his way to help me when he really had no obligation to do so.

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As an independent consultant, I’m unemployed at least once or twice a year. Every time my contract ends I have to find another opportunity. This means that during my search I have no benefits, no pay, no recurring payments from clients and yes I still have to pay for my insurance.

Being unemployed is not fun. To help me strengthen my search I developed a set of job search principles that I live by. I hope these principles can help you.

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It took years to develop, but I was finally able to figure out how to handle difficult situations and how to work with difficult people.

I’ve worked with:

  • The decisive, smart and friendly executive type
  • The 9-to-5 do everything I’m asked with a smile and actually enjoy my work type
  • The let me know if I can help you with anything type
  • The we all know I’m the smartest one in the room type
  • The you cross me, and I promise you it will be the worst mistake of your entire career type
  • The please give me another day to make this decision type
  • The let’s be real, I don’t really give a damn, just tell me what you need me to do and I’ll do it type
  • The please don’t ask me to do anything for you because it’s not in my job description type
  • The OMG she’s walking near my cube, I better act like I’m doing something before I get fired type
  • The you used this word incorrectly in a PowerPoint, therefore I will call an all hands meeting to get this settled type
  • The I trust you Robbie to make any decision you see fit type
  • The if I don’t get a summary email at 8 p.m. every day I’m going to assume you didn’t do anything all day type
  • The I’m going to cry instead of making an important decision so please back off type
  • The I don’t really care what you think about me or my decisions, just do what I tell you type
  • The who the hell left an unclean spoon in the sink, your mother isn’t here to look after you so I’m going to leave a passive aggressive sign above the sink and another on the refrigerator in addition to an email blast to the entire office type
  • The give me your date of birth so we can celebrate your half birthday type
  • The I’m going to pretend like I didn’t hear you the first time so I can make this conversation as awkward as possible type
  • The I’m going to agree to everything said in the meeting then complain privately once the meeting is over type
  • The I literally, figuratively and hypothetically do not care what anybody thinks about me, so just keep paying me every 2 weeks and we’ll all be happy type
  • The if I hear one single piece of constructive criticism about my work I’m never going to open up my mouth again type
  • And finally my favorite: The holy crap lady I can hear your nails click clacking on your keyboard from across the office type

 

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