Here’s the last post in my series.
Today’s advice sounds pretty harsh, but I prefer the word “realistic”:
3. Trust No One (Not Even Yourself)
Seconds from now, that editor who gives you all those juicy assignments will be fired, or promoted to management, or sent to rehab.
That new client who seemed so easy to work with (and so flush with cash) will turn out to be stark raving mad.
The company you’ve worked with for years will go bankrupt. Or their office will go up in flames.
Not all these things have happened to me, but enough have that I never count on people, and circumstances, to stay in stasis.
An older, wiser writer told me recently, after I finished whining about my shabby treatment at the hands of a longtime colleague:
“These people are not your friends.”
The people you work for, and with, prioritize their own financial and personal well-being — as they should.
And those are the sane ones. You will also work for, and with, individuals who are unstable and untrustworthy.
(Although, if you learn to listen to — and obey — your gut, you’ll be able to keep most of them out of your life.)
(That is: ”Be polite, be professional, but have a plan to kill everyone you meet.”)
Diversify. Don’t spend money before you get it. A promise is not a contract.
Accept more work than you think you can handle, because at least one of those gigs will implode.
(And if it doesn’t, you’ll discover you were capable of working harder than you thought…)
Don’t trust yourself, either. I hate my “clown car calendar” and my copious Post-It Notes and noisy alerts.
I hate having to write down even the dumbest, most obvious idea because if I don’t I’ll forget it seconds later.
That said, I hate myself a lot more when I can’t extract that brilliant sentence from my brain when I need it.
Newsflash: We’re all human. Your clients will let you down.
And you probably aren’t the effortlessly organized dynamo with the photographic memory you pretend to be.
If you accept your own limitations, and other peoples’, you may actually find yourself enjoying more success than you ever thought possible.