I started my career in public relations and marketing working for a big, prestigious firm in Tinsel town. The firm’s client list read like a who’s who of entertainment and business celebrities in Los Angeles. It was protocol to email the whole company if a publicist was to part ways with an account that had the potential to be reported in the news. Oftentimes, these emails would arrive in my inbox and I would be perplexed when an older executive would cite that the client was in the “life is too short category.” My 21 year-old brain would try to fathom why life was too short for those immense accounts.

Fast forward well over a decade and as I’ve grown in my career and in the industry, I can finally grasp what those emails from more experienced publicists meant in my early days. Life is indeed too short and even shorter still for certain business practices.

Photo Credit: Stil via Unsplash

Life is too short to keep a bad hire.

One bad apple can spoil the whole bunch and nothing is truer in an office environment. I always tell my employees and colleagues that I see them more than I see my mother, my father and my husband- all combined! For this reason (and frankly, for a plethora of others), office culture is one of the key ingredients in guaranteeing your business retains talent. Recruiting is a difficult process and small details can sometimes cloud our decision to hire. Admitting to a bad hire shows more leadership chops than allowing the person to stay. Don’t ever allow office culture to suffer because you are trying to save face regarding your hire.

Life is too short to take other’s business decisions personally.

We’ve all heard the old adage, “its just business.” In the age of ultra-connectivity, this has become a harder pill to swallow. Our personal and work lives have blurred lines: we follow clients on Instagram, we like our boss’ post on Facebook and we have after-work drinks with colleagues. Failing to separate business from pleasure can lead to us taking things personally. Be cognizant that everybody is just doing their job and constantly ask yourself what you can do to proactively set boundaries.

Life is too short to take unnecessary meetings.

I started working in public relations when it was still acceptable to send press releases via fax. I’ve had my share of old-school clients who prefer we sit face-to-face during meetings than to conduct them via video or audio. When I was younger and starting out my career, I never complained about in-person meetings and rationalized that they were good for getting face time with a client. I’ve since grown and have learned to value my most precious commodity: time. Nowadays, I don’t think twice about shutting down clients or colleagues for in-person meetings. This is especially true in larger, metropolitan areas where leaving your office means spending a minimum of one hour on bumper to bumper traffic each way. Respect your time and others will follow suit.

Life is too short to work under a psychotic boss.

Early days in the entertainment business were guaranteed to come with a side of abuse. I have countless anecdotes of verbal and sometimes even physical abuse from colleagues and friends who started in mailrooms or assistant desks at large agencies. They range from lighthearted narratives to sad stories about how power can corrupt humans. All of these weaved the same narrative, the subordinates should’ve left the psychotic boss earlier. Life is too short to stay at the office late for somebody who is ungrateful, no matter how influential you think they are. You can’t teach an old dog new tricks and young aspiring executives should never believe they will be able to singlehandedly change a boss. Count your losses and look to find a superior who you want to emulate in the areas that count: how they treat others, how they are regarded in their industry and how likely they are to help you in your career when you really need it.

How discerning you are with your time will be directly correlational to how colleagues perceive its value. Instead of sitting idly by and allowing life, and subsequently your career, to take you by storm, become an active participant and immediately cut out certain practices that don’t add value.