• Culture

Why You Should Be a “Nice” Boss

January 15, 2018

Are your employees just cogs in your business’ machine?

Comparing your employees to cogs in a machine might seem like an apt comparison – after all, a machine can’t run properly if its parts aren’t working – however, it also dehumanizes your workers.

In order to acknowledge your employees’ importance in the process, but still compare them to living beings, you should consider comparing them to petals on a flower. Not only do the petals make a flower beautiful, but they also play an important part in photosynthesis and other roles that help keep the flower alive. Yes, alive. It’s been proven that plants are alive and can even feel pain – just like human beings.

Actually… scratch all that. Let’s forget about cogs and petals. It’s time to start treating employees like human beings.

That’s right: your employees are human beings, just like you are.

They come from all different backgrounds and have each had different life experiences. They’re unique individuals who each have something special to offer you.

But do you truly deserve what they’re offering you?

If you’re treating your workers like robots (or “cogs”), then probably not.

If you’ve been distancing yourself from your employees in an attempt to be more “professional,” you’re doing them – and you – a massive disservice. As human beings, your employees want that personal interaction from you and, when they don’t get it, it’s very likely going to make them unhappy.

Unhappy employees are unproductive employees.

You don’t have to be a touchy-feely boss who gives everyone hugs in order to be a “nice” boss. You just need to project warmth and attempt to actually care about your employees as fellow humans.

According to researchers at Harvard, taking the nice approach as a boss or manager will:

  • Decrease workplace stress
  • Increase productivity
  • Increase trust
  • Increase loyalty

In other words, your employees will work harder and stay with you longer if you treat them well!

But how do you become a “nice” boss…?

1. Smile

“When you smile, the world smiles with you,” as the old saying goes.

Remembering to come into work with a smile each day, even if you’ve got a case of the grumpies internally, can go a long way.

By outwardly presenting a positive attitude toward your workers, no matter what’s going on in your personal life, you’ll put them more at ease. It will also make you more approachable should an employee want to come to you with a fresh idea!

2. Listen

Listening is one of the best leadership skills a boss or manager can have.

Be open to hearing your employees’ ideas – and ACT ON THEM if they make business sense. (Be sure to offer up praise for good ideas as well!).

Also listen to your employees’ complaints, and take them seriously.

3. Actually Get to KNOW Your Employees

If you only know your employees’ names and little else, you’re doing it wrong.

You don’t have to pry for super personal details; however, you should know the basics:

  • Do they have a family?
  • What do they like to do on their time off?
  • What do they enjoy most about the field of work they’ve chosen?

By asking them those simple questions, you’ll establish that you recognize them as a fellow human being – and make them feel valued.

And, chances are, you might have some things in common with them! For example, my boss here at 133T and I are both avid video game players. Knowing that has helped us bond and gives us something to talk about other than facts and figures.

4. Empathize

Relating to an employee on a human level is not a sign of weakness, or a sign that you’re a “soft” boss. It’s a sign of mutual respect.

If an employee needs a sick day, remember how you last felt when trying to work while sick. Or, if your employee has experienced a tremendous loss, remember how you felt when you last grieved for a family member or pet’s passing.

Very few working individuals will use personal struggles to try to take advantage of you. So set those worries aside. Chances are, they’re just having a (temporary) bad time and need your understanding until it passes.

For example, I’ve been very ill for the past few months. To the point that I need surgery to remove one of my organs. It’s been hellish, and I have to spend a lot of my time in bed, away from my writing desk. My boss here at 133T has been a gem. He’s arranged my work schedule around my doctor appointments, has made plans for when I’m recovering from surgery, and goes easy on me when he knows I’m in pain.

Does that make me want to kick back and take it easy work-wise? Not at all! It’s made me fall in love with 133T more than ever. And as soon as I’ve recovered, I’m going to stop giving 100% and start giving 120%!

A little empathy goes a long way toward building employee loyalty. If you take care of them, they’ll take care of you. By showing them kindness in their hour of need, they’ll pay you back by working harder than ever. Trust me.

5. Lead by Example

If you want those around you to work hard, you have to work hard yourself.

Hold yourself accountable and recognize that you’re one of the petals on the flower – one of the humans making your business great.

Treat others the way you’d like to be treated, and work the way you’d like them to work.

It’s time to give being “nice” a chance. Your business profits will thank you for it.

Lauren Tharp is a freelance writer and the owner of the multiple award-winning LittleZotz Writing. She's a proud member of the 133T team, working as their Head Writer and Head Editor, and is dedicated to helping YOU with your business and career.
  • Career
  • Inside 133T

The Job Searching Process in Six Steps

January 12, 2018

The job search process takes a long time. Too long, if you ask me.

On average, from the moment you start searching and turning in applications, to the time you actually gain employment, the job search process takes around six weeks. That’s if you search and apply to jobs every day – longer if you take breaks in the process.

According to another group of researchers, it can take around one month per every $10,000 per year you hope to earn. In other words, if you hope to be pulling in $70,000 per year, expect your job search and application submission process to last for a good seven months. Ugh.

At that rate, even a modest salary of $25,000 per year would take you a good two and a half months out of your life to obtain. That’s absolutely ludicrous!

And, oh, the whole job searching process

Let’s face it: those months you spend searching are NOT going to be fun.

Part One: Needing a Job

First, there’s the stress that comes with suddenly needing a job. Maybe you were laid off. Maybe you quit. Maybe this is your first job hunt ever. No matter what your circumstances, the fact of the matter remains the same: you need to earn a living and you need to earn it fast.

Being without a job is one of the most stressful things in a modern human’s existence.

They say “money can’t buy happiness,” but I beg to disagree.

Back in 1943, Abraham Maslow created the “Hierarchy of Needs.” Basically, it was a small pyramid illustrating what every human being needs in order to achieve self-actualization – ultimate happiness. At the bottom of the pyramid, as the foundation to build upon everything else, was what I call “the basics”: Food, water, shelter, etc.

That first building block of the pyramid? It takes money in order to create it. You’re not going to get a free meal or free lodgings in this day and age. You need a job in order to take care of your basic needs – the needs everything else, including your ultimate happiness, builds upon. Therefore, in a very literal sense, money can buy happiness.

So not only do your basic survival needs depend on you gaining employment, but your mental and emotional well-being depend on it as well. Talk about a lot of pressure right out of the gate!

Part Two: The Job Search

Where do you even begin with this one?

Well, first, you need to decide which career path you’d like to take. There’s no use in applying for jobs if you don’t have a goal in mind for what you’re applying for.

After you’ve got that in mind, it’s time to start signing up for job boards; contacting friends, family, and former co-workers; hitting up LinkedIn connections you forgot you had; and basically scrambling to connect with everyone and anyone who might help you.

And the job search results on those job boards and from those connections? Woo boy.

Before I got my job here at 133T as the Head Writer and Head Editor, I would type “editor” into the job search bars and I’d come back with just a few prospects, and a whole lotta nonsense. I honestly got “health communications officer” back a few times when I searched for “editor.” That has NOTHING to do with the job I was looking to apply for!

This is not uncommon. Many job search engines don’t have enough relevant jobs to kick back to you, so they just start throwing in random offers to make it look like they’ve got a wide selection. But you know what that really is? A waste of your time.

Not only do you have to wade through the actual prospective employment opportunities, but you’ll also have to wade through a bunch of garbage as well. Meanwhile, the clock continues to tick ever onward…

Part Three: The Application Process

Let’s say you finally find some jobs worth applying to.

Great!

But now you have to fill out a lengthy application form with a bunch of fill-in-the-blank slots that go on seemingly forever. And, of course, you’ll have to attach your resume. (Did I mention that you’ll have to prepare a fresh resume…?).

Oh, and then comes my favorite part (*sarcasm*): a second page of the application where you fill in all the information from the resume you already attached in part one. Arrrrgh!!

Why do companies do this? I honestly would like to know! Even as someone who writes about the job application process, that strange bit of extra busy work is still a mystery to me – and an endless source of aggravation.

And, of course, you feel the need to apply to said job IMMEDIATELY because, if you don’t, it will be snapped up by some other applicant! There’s nothing quite like extra steps to trip you up when you’re already in a hurry, you know what I mean? It’s just awful.

But then comes the worst part…

Part Four: The Waiting

Now that you’ve actually applied for a job, you have to wait around, hoping and praying that you’ll get a call back.

Generally, calls back take about two weeks, if they ever come at all. So what do you do in the meantime?

Steps one through three, of course! Over and over and over and over again.

Meanwhile, your friends and family wonder if you’ve fallen off the face of the earth, and your dog has given up hope of ever being walked again.

Job hunting takes a MASSIVE toll on your social life. It consumes every aspect of what you do. There isn’t a moment that goes by that you’re not actively searching or thinking about searching for employment. It’s draining – physically, mentally, and emotionally.

When Tom Petty (rest in peace) sang that “the waiting is the hardest part,” he wasn’t kidding.

Part Five: Potential Progress

Let’s say you finally do get a call back and nab an interview… Now you have a whole new set of stressors to worry about.

You have to psyche yourself up for speaking to the person who could potentially be your new boss. And, of course, you have to choose what to wear.

Next, you have to actually get to the interview on time and not mess it up. (Feel free to check out our tips on how to ace your next interview!).

Then, it’s back to waiting. Maybe you’ll get a second interview. Maybe you’ll get the job. Maybe you’ll never hear from them again. It’s hard to say – and even harder to live through.

Part Six: The Eternal Return

There’s a concept that the universe and everyone living in it are doomed to repeat the same cycle of events indefinitely until the end of time.

That’s how the job searching process often feels.

If you got the job after that call back: good on you! If you didn’t…well…then you’re doomed to repeat the steps in this process again and again until you do.

The job hunting process as we currently know it is a time-sucking MONSTER that keeps us from the things we value most. Friends, family, and pets get thrown to the wayside, all in the name of finding a job.

The endless search is a huge drain. It’s downright depressing.

There HAS to Be a Better Way!

Guess what.

There is.

It’s called 133T.

133T takes away the headaches and endless suffering associated with the average job search and throws it out the window.

With 133T, you give us your resume, tell us what type of jobs you’d like to apply for, and then move on to live your life. WE do the work while YOU get to focus on the things that matter to you most.

If you’re tired of the usual job searching process, then it’s time to give 133T a chance. Sign up for the BETA version today!

Put your job hunt on auto-pilot. You deserve a break.

Lauren Tharp is a freelance writer and the owner of the multiple award-winning LittleZotz Writing. She's a proud member of the 133T team, working as their Head Writer and Head Editor, and is dedicated to helping YOU with your business and career.
  • Lifestyle

How to Have a Positive 2018

January 1, 2018

Let’s face it. Sometimes the things we view as what it takes to be a “success” aren’t really the things that make us happy…

The thing is, to really be a success in life: You need to fulfill your life’s purpose. And, yes, that means doing what makes you happy — even if it’s just in your “off hours.”

But how on earth are you supposed to know what would make you happy? Or what the heck your life’s purpose is? These are HUGE questions! And they likely have equally huge answers. Well, the first step is to…

Foster Self-Awareness

How well do you really know yourself?

Sure, you spend 24-hours a day with yourself, but do you really know yourself?

If things are not going well for you or you are finding it difficult to take your life or business to the next level the answer may lie within you.

Before you waste thousands of hours — or spend thousands of dollars! — making external changes to your life and career, it may be worth it to take time out and look inward. I know. Pretty scary. But you may be surprised at what you discover!

Kick Low Self-Esteem in the Butt

If you’re suffering from impostor syndrome, a lack of confidence, or low self-esteem — it’s time to kick it in the butt.

A lot of “successful” people (especially women) have suffered from one or all of these things, but they managed to “make it” anyway. Because they found a way to work through it.

You write the script for your life. Do you want it to say “but they were never truly happy because they held themselves back”? Or do you want your story to read “after a long struggle with self-doubt, he/she finally did what it took to be truly happy.” The choice is truly yours to make.

Get Out of Your Comfort Zone

I love my comfort zone. I’m often happiest when I’m sitting in front of my PC, vaping, and playing a video game. If I could, I’d probably do that all day every day. But would I truly be happy? Maybe for a little while, but, ultimately, no.

I step out of my comfort zone every time I sit down to write one of these blog posts. But I do it because it needs to be done. It’s my way of contributing something to the world (that hopefully at least some of you enjoy) and validating my existence as a human being. It’s what makes my life worthwhile. And, in the end, it’s what makes me happiest.

You have to step out of your comfort zone from time to time in order to be happy.

If you’re on the lookout for a potential partner, you’re going to have to leave the comfort of your own home to meet them. If you’re looking for a new job, you’re going to have to do the uncomfortable thing and apply for said job.

The nice thing is: Your comfort zone will always be there for you to return to after you’re done being awesome. (Yeah, I’m totally going to go back to gaming as soon as I’m done writing this).

Surround Yourself with Support

No friends are better than bad friends. But you know what’s even better than having no friends? Having great friends.

Surround yourself with friends and family members who support you and your quest for happiness — they’ll help you find your way there more quickly.

Stay Positive

Having trouble staying positive? Here are 10 things you can start doing TODAY that can help:

1. Find the One Good Thing

For every bad situation, there’s (at least) one good thing. Even if it’s the classic, “At least it’s not raining.”

Each time you start to feel negative, stop and ask yourself, “What’s the one good thing that’s happened today?” Even if it’s something small – like you drank clean, fresh water! – latch onto it and don’t let go.

2. Express Gratitude

Speaking of drinking clean, fresh water… Isn’t it about time you said “thanks” for that privilege?

Expressing gratitude throughout the day, even for the small things, is a great way to refocus your mind on the positive.

3. Ditch Negative Self-Talk

Instead of saying things like “I’m so fat” or “I’m so stupid,” tell yourself “I’m a little chubby, but I’m working on it” or “I’d love to learn more – what can I learn today?”

Or, even better, say something genuinely nice about yourself! You do have good qualities. What are they?

4. Cull the Negative People from Your Life

We all have difficult people in our lives – and they can usually be dealt with. However, there are some people that are determined to be miserable no matter what and you don’t need to join in on their self-pity party. Misery loves company, but that company doesn’t need to be you.

5. Learn from Disappointment

Instead of wallowing in disappointment: Learn from it. And then move onto the next project/lover/whatever.

Every disappointment comes with a valuable lesson, but it’s up to you to figure out what it is.

6. Go Slowly

I’m admittedly not a fan of Ferris Beuller’s Day Off; however, I do love this quote: “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”

The faster you go, the harder it is to take a moment to think positively. When you start to multi-task at a million miles a minute and you feel your stress levels starting to rise: Stop. Take a moment to breathe to calm your body and your mind.

7. Cut Catastrophizing

This is the area I struggle with the most. When something does go wrong, my mind likes to make it seem much worse than it actually is.

Take a moment to stop and ask, “Is this really that bad?” and try to find the one good thing (see #1!) about your situation.

Chances are things aren’t as bad as they seem and you’re just overthinking things. Pro tip: If any of your thoughts start with “What if…?” then it isn’t a real problem – it’s just something your mind made up because your brain is being a butthead. Don’t make mountains out of molehills.

8. Help Others

It’s hard to stay negative when you’re helping someone else in a positive way.

Not to mention, helping others puts the focus outside of yourself (where your brain can sometimes be an ugly mess) and onto something greater than yourself. Whether you’re volunteering at a shelter or simply listening to a friend talk about their day, helping someone else will help keep a smile on your face.

9. Take Care of the Basics

You can’t have a healthy, positive mind if you don’t have a healthy body.

Remember to take care of the basics! Eat, drink, sleep, shower, exercise… Do all the things you need to do to keep your physical body in tip-top shape and your mind will follow suit.

10. Keep Practicing

Make positivity a routine and keep practicing.

It might take a while for your brain to readjust – especially if you’re coming from a place of extreme negativity – but you’ll get there if you keep practicing.

As Mahatma Gandhi once said, “Your beliefs become your thoughts, your thoughts become your words, your words become your actions, your actions become your habits, your habits become your values, your values become your destiny.”

Staying positive is a great way to find your path to happiness. Because if you aren’t optimistic about something as elusive as true happiness, then you probably won’t find it. A lot of finding that path has to do with your attitude and willingness to look for it — even in the most unexpected of places.

Stop Apologizing

Some of us (me!) feel selfish when they do things for themselves, especially things they know will make them truly happy. Well, it’s time to stop apologizing and do what you gotta do.You do deserve to be happy, I promise.

Take a moment to reflect on everything that you’ve brought into your life thus far and celebrate your successes. You’re a wonderful, talented, beautiful person and working to find your happiness will ultimately make those around you happier too — not selfish at all, really!

GET TO WORK

Going after your happiness isn’t an easy task. And it won’t just fall out of the sky onto your lap as you sit around daydreaming. You have to actively seek out what would make you happiest in life. And once you figure out what that is: GO AFTER IT!

Let’s all make 2018 our best year ever!

Lauren Tharp is a freelance writer and the owner of the multiple award-winning LittleZotz Writing. She's a proud member of the 133T team, working as their Head Writer and Head Editor, and is dedicated to helping YOU with your business and career.
  • Inside 133T

Merry Christmas from 133T!

December 22, 2017

MERRY CHRISTMAS!!

No matter what your beliefs are, we hope you’re having a wonderful day and are enjoying time with family and friends.

Christmas, for us, is a time for reflection and gratitude.

Not only has 133T grown as a company, we’ve grown as a family. People from across the United States and around the world have come together to put in their best work towards making 133T great!

The BETA version of our automated job hiring software is very close to up and running (you can sign up now!), and this blog has been consistently pumping out useful content for our readers for several months now.

We’re grateful to everyone in the 133T family, including you, our readers and subscribers.

Employment and Education

Unfortunately, not all of us have a long list of things to be grateful for in 2017…

Unemployment levels are still high, and education is at an all-time low.

While our amazing software will undoubtedly help those without work find jobs in the coming year, the education problems worry us daily.

We’ll be working with Save the Children to help provide books and other educational tools to children around the world. If you can afford to, we encourage you to do the same. They have a wide range of educational gifts available for orphaned or low-income children. For as little as $45, you can enroll a child in school and gift them with a soccer ball (so they have something fun to play with in their down time when they’re not hitting the books!).

We also work with those who are homeless and hungry. Both by supporting local homeless shelters, and by offering aid to those we meet on the streets.

The next time you go to the grocery store and there’s a homeless person in the cold outside, consider buying them a small gift. Dried goods like jerky or nuts provide good energy and keep well if stored. For under five dollars, you can provide hours of nourishment to someone in desperate need. Fresh water is also a much-needed commodity that often goes overlooked.

Keeping the “Spirit” Year-Round

133T works to provide education, employment, and help to those who need it year-round, not just during the Christmas season.

The “spirit” of giving is one that should inhabit ALL of us, each and every day.

That’s what we believe at 133T — and what we’ll strive to do in 2018 (and every year after!).

Until then…

Merry Christmas! Happy Holidays! Thank you for reading. We love you.

Lauren Tharp is a freelance writer and the owner of the multiple award-winning LittleZotz Writing. She's a proud member of the 133T team, working as their Head Writer and Head Editor, and is dedicated to helping YOU with your business and career.
  • Culture

10 Reasons Your Employees Aren’t Productive (and How to Fix It!)

December 18, 2017

Unproductive employees mean an unproductive business.

Successful businesses depend on productive employees. So what happens when your employees aren’t productive?

It can be disastrous.

Even just one unproductive employee can mean a decrease in profits and overall happiness at your business. It’s like having a watch with one gear that won’t turn — the watch no longer tells time, making it useless.

Here are the ten most common reasons your employees aren’t productive, and how to fix the issues!

1. They Can’t Focus

The holiday season can be a distracting time. Extra patience may be needed during these overly-busy months.

However, if your employees are lagging behind and unable to focus during the “regular” months of the year, then it’s time to look more deeply into the problem.

The Fix: Try talking to unfocused employees individually and ask them what’s up. Sometimes it’s something simple. For example, at the last office I worked at, the girl in the next cubicle was playing the same song, loudly, on repeat, for hours. I found it very hard to focus on my work — and so did many of the other employees who were in her vicinity. In that case, it was just a matter of the boss telling her to get a pair of headphones. Focus problem solved!

As a bonus, you can also offer some focus-enhancing foods in the break room. Who wouldn’t like a nice ripe blueberry to get the ol’ brain juices flowing?

2. They’re Sick

They’re called “colds” for a reason. The winter months create the prime environment for employees to catch colds, flus, and any number of other illnesses.

I can speak from experience that it is darn hard to concentrate on work when I’ve got a fever. I can do it, but I won’t enjoy it — and I usually end up making myself more sick in the long run by forgoing rest.

The Fix: Create a work culture where your employees know it’s okay to be human. Let them know that they absolutely can take a sick day if they need it.

Having one employee take a sick day won’t ruin your business. It will increase morale (both with the sick employee and the employees still working), keep your healthy employees from getting sick, and up overall productivity. Yeah. Letting your employee take the day off will increase productivity. A sick employee would drag everyone else down — without them around, everyone else can thrive.

3. They Feel Unappreciated

Have you ever been overworked and underappreciated? Of course you have. We ALL have. We’ve all had “that” boss at least once…

Are you “that” boss?

If you are, it’s no wonder your employees no longer want to work their hardest for you!

The Fix: Be generous with rewards and incentives. These can be monetary, or as simple as a “thank you” when great work is done.

Offer up verbal compliments and praise often. Don’t let good work go unnoticed.

4. They’re Poorly Supervised

Only the most disciplined among us are able to work without any supervision. We call those people “outstanding freelancers.” Everyone else… Needs a little look-see now and then to stay on track.

If you’ve taken a “set it and forget it” approach to your employees and have noticed that their productivity is slipping — it’s time to rethink your strategy.

The Fix: Make a pass through the office at least once a day to make sure everyone is still on track. Or have your managers do it for you.

Most of the time, your presence walking through the room will be enough to get everyone on their best behavior. However, if anyone is struggling, you can also use your walk-through as an opportunity to help them out.

5. They Don’t Know What You Want

Communication is important at any business. Make sure your employees know exactly what you want. Even the sharpest workers aren’t mind readers.

The Fix: Make sure your employees know what’s going on through every step of the process. Let them in on the BIG PICTURE and overall goals of your business. Give them something to strive for — and make it clear.

Be sure to reiterate these goals once and a while for anyone who’s forgotten. Let your employees know that the “main goal” is still something you’re aiming for and that it hasn’t been forgotten.

6. Their Tasks Are Impossible to Complete

LISTEN to your employees if they tell you something is “impossible” to do. There’s a good chance they aren’t exaggerating.

Let me give you an example…

Both of my parents are freelance artists (they paint works of art for clients). One time, a client came to them with an opaque sculpture and said “Paint it clear. Make it see-through like Jello.”

In case you’re unaware, that task was absolutely impossible. You cannot — absolutely cannot — paint an opaque object and magically transform it into something transparent. You’d need a wizard to complete that task, not an artist.

The Fix: If your employees tell you something is “impossible,” listen to their reasons why. Be willing to admit when you’re wrong, and look for compromises that will make you both happy.

7. Their Work Process is Too Complex

Sometimes, as leaders, we like things done in a certain way. As someone with severe OCD, I can definitely relate to being overly picky…

But are all those steps you’re having your employees do really necessary? Or is it just busy work that’s ultimately slowing them down?

The Fix: Call a meeting with your employees and ask for their opinions on their work process. Look for ways to streamline the steps. If anything can be realistically eliminated: go for it!

8. They Feel Alone

People are pack animals. We’re social creatures. Therefore, loneliness is one of the boons of our species.

The Fix: Working in teams can help. And so can simply letting your employees know you’re there. Yes, you. Make sure your employees know you have their backs.

Also make sure that your employees have sufficient time off to socialize on their own. This is especially important for remote employees who generally work on their lonesome day after day.

9. They Lack Proper Training

Not everyone knows exactly what to do right from the get-go. Some people need training. Give it to them.

This is especially true if you add something new to the equation that wasn’t a part of your employees’ jobs before.

The Fix: Any time you add a new task to complete, make sure your employees are equipped to complete it. If they need training, train them (or have your managers train them). No one should be unproductive simply because they don’t know how to do the work. This is an easy fix!

10. They’re Not Right for the Job

Some employees are just impossible and won’t be productive no matter what you or anyone else does to help.

If an employee is consistently unproductive no matter what you do, then they may be wrong for the job entirely.

The Fix: If you’ve given the employee chance after chance and they still can’t do the job, then it’s time to let them go.

The good news is, you can use 133T to connect you with new job applicants! We make it easy for you to find employees who will meet your needs. 🙂

Lauren Tharp is a freelance writer and the owner of the multiple award-winning LittleZotz Writing. She's a proud member of the 133T team, working as their Head Writer and Head Editor, and is dedicated to helping YOU with your business and career.
  • Career

Career Lessons from Star Wars: The Last Jedi

December 15, 2017

It’s five o’clock in the morning, and I just returned from viewing Star Wars: The Last Jedi in theaters.

133T is always looking for fresh sources of inspiration, and my boss thought that seeing the latest Star Wars movie would get my brain juices pumping. What lessons were there to be learned from these characters in a galaxy “far, far away?”

I ran into two problems during my viewing though:

  1. I didn’t like the movie.
  2. It’s almost impossible to write an in-depth character study without revealing spoilers.

That said, I did like one aspect of the film… and I will try my best to talk about it (him) without revealing any spoilers.

Kylo Ren: The Businessman

My favorite character in Star Wars: The Last Jedi was Kylo Ren.

While everyone else fell flat for me, Kylo continued to hold my interest every time he was on screen. Although a “villain,” he felt the most “human” — he was constantly emoting! — and; therefore, was the most relateable.

Looking at it from a “What career lessons can be learned from this movie?” standpoint, I think Kylo had the most to offer.

Minor spoilers: Kylo gets a bit of a promotion in this movie from his role in the last film — all through hard work and taking action. I can admire that in a guy. I like someone with drive.

Kylo Ren was all about taking action and getting what he wanted out of life and his career.

He took his internal drive to the extreme at times, but, if toned down a bit for reality (and not a heightened movie-going experience in a fantasy world), I think the lessons he espoused could be viable to all of us looking to move forward…

Lesson One: “Let the past die. Kill it.”

This is something that Kylo definitely took to an extreme. (The above quote is his, by the way).

Don’t murder people from your past in order to cleanse it. That won’t end well for you in the real world.

However, DO let your past go if it’s holding you back.

I’ve never met a single person who doesn’t have baggage. We all have things from our past that we regret or that simply didn’t go as planned. It’s time to let go.

Your fear of failure? Your fear of success? Your guilt? Your shame? It’s time to let all that go. “Kill” it.

I held myself back for years — starting and quitting project after project — because of my own personal hang-ups. It wasn’t until I let go of my past that I was finally able to start moving forward.

And Kylo Ren might be a villain, but it’s hard to walk away from The Last Jedi without thinking “That guy’s doing pretty well for himself!”

The methods he uses to rid himself of his past hang-ups are often too literal, but the basic principle is sound. You’ll never move forward with your career (or your life) if you’re constantly dwelling on past errors — it’s time to move on.

Lesson Two: Mentors Will Often Let You Down

Sometimes it’s better to go at it on your own. Take ACTION and do what YOU know is right for YOU and your career.

Kylo Ren was constantly let down by the mentors in his life. One former mentor even tried to kill him (talk about a breach of trust!).

However, our pal Kylo decided that he no longer needed mentors — and he took ACTION! And it was through these actions that he (minor spoilers) ends up becoming a leader.

When you can’t depend on others, it’s time to depend on YOURSELF.

If you want to start a business: start one. If you want to move forward with your career, take the steps that will get you where you want to be.

Meanwhile, Rey, the so-called “heroine” of the movie, kept floating from mentor after mentor — constantly seeking out parental figures and guidance — and got practically nowhere.

If Rey had followed Kylo’s advice and taken action rather than just puttering around from mentor-to-mentor, she probably could have won the rebellion by now!

The only reason Kylo Ren (and his “business” — The First Order) is such a threat is because he takes action where the other characters won’t. He actually gets stuff done. He’s put his past hang-ups (mostly) behind him and his moving quickly forward with his life and career.

This actually reminds me of something musician Marilyn Manson once said:

“The hero always stays the same, there’s no character arc, he’s always the hero. The villain is the person who has the chance to change something. They might break the rules, but that’s the thing, sometimes if you don’t f*cking break the rules, you’re not going to save anything, you’re not going to change anything.”

It’s time to stop trying to be “The Last Jedi” and start being a “Born Villain.”

Break a few rules. Let go of the guilt. Take ACTION!

Your career will thank you for it.

Lauren Tharp is a freelance writer and the owner of the multiple award-winning LittleZotz Writing. She's a proud member of the 133T team, working as their Head Writer and Head Editor, and is dedicated to helping YOU with your business and career.