OBTW* Some Bonus Thoughts

My mind kept working, after yesterday’s post, bringing up various and sundry Things I Could Have Included…

Herewith, then, is a Treasure Chest of Real Life Navigational Tools

“I already have plans…”

Years ago (and by that I mean YEARS ago), when I was National Youth Director for an Incumbent’s Presidential Campaign, I was dating my “Boss,” the Director of Voter Groups (we’ll call her “Carolyn B.”), who was also seeing another guy on the campaign (we’ll call him “Paul M.”). I learned something from “Carolyn” that has served me to this day in unexpected and eminently effective ways across virtually all aspects of personal and professional life.

When I would ask Carolyn out for a specific date; if the answer were not “yes,” it would be, “I already have plans…” full stop. No details, no further information. No openings for further question beyond “when might you be free, then, Madame…?” 

I could think what I might about what her alternate plans might be, but I had nothing beyond Assumption on which to base an essentially fruitless and likely detrimental-to-the-relationship interrogation. The subject was clearly closed and my proposed option off the table.

Turns Out…this is a GREAT technique for all such exchanges in Life; to which I have translated and applied this little trick of less is more to virtually all potential scheduling conflicts – personal and professional.

Personal Example…

Friend(s): “Hey, wanna see a movie on Friday night?”

You: “I can’t; am having dinner with my mother..”

Friend(s): “Can’t you change that to another night and come with us?”


Friend(s): “Hey, wanna see a movie on Friday night?”

You: “Unfortunately, I already have plans…”

Friend(s): “Oh……is there another night that’s good for you?”

…Translated to Professional Contexts:

For some reason, people often seem to think that they have a de facto vote in how one runs one’s own life; down to the setting of personal priorities and the keeping or previous commitments.

‘Frinstance; back in the days I was competing in bodybuilding and physique, my nutrition and workout schedule was an intense routine, and sticking to the schedule was an integral part of keeping focus – nothing casual about it. 

So, when in a meeting with a client, scheduling upcoming meetings, and the client would pitch, 

“So, can we meet next Thursday at 3pm? 

Rather than say, 

“Oh, I have workout at that time” 

and open up the Portal of Assumption, Pique and Judgement; I’d look at my calendar and say 

“I’m already booked for 3pm on Thursday; what else y’all got?”

No one needs to know what’s in the way; your private life is your own: much the same as the irrelevance of the amount of your rent and the number of kids one has to the conversation of salary and pay raises of which we spoke in the previous post. 

Don’t even open those issues. Just as your fees should represent your value; your schedule and the commitments you have made to yourself are yours to harbor and meet…sharing them with those of other priorities is not required.

The net effect, by the way, is a perception of you as a busy, sought-after professional. The natural assumption is that if you’re that busy, you must be in demand. Optics. Raise your rates. 

Getting Paid: When and Why to Decline Work.

Many of us have taken jobs that paid too little, taken a client about which we don’t feel completely comfortable or a cause in which we may not believe; but we needed the work. I would offer that, most often in such situations, pretty much all parties end up unhappy in the long run. Resentment and unmet expectation can truly undermine the dynamic. 

More often than not, everyone ends up unsatisfied and unhappy; seeing the end product through the filter of the tone of the working team and collaboration. If one can avoid this, I believe one should do so, even going so far as to recommend another whom you think might better fit. 

True; sometimes it’s the only gig coming down the pike, the only client evident, and one must do what one must do in order to feed kids or cat. If that difficult choice must be made so, consider yoga or meditation.

Seek always to be the last one to speak in a meeting.

(Unless you are the one actually running the meeting.)

Especially in a new group or team, but equally valuable with regular cohorts and colleagues; the longer you wait to speak and more you listen to what everyone else has to say or share, the more informed you  will be and the more enlightened and in-tune will be what you ultimately say, because…

  • You will know the Power Dynamics of the room
  • You will know who is the smartest person in the room
  • You will know who thinks they are the smartest person in the room
  • You will have a sense of where the relationships and alliances lie
  • You will likely gain some timely information about technologies or similar projects that you didn’t already know, and
  • That intangible energy that pervades a room where everyone has something to say will have dissipated, and what you say will likely be more readily heard…plus, having listened and heeded, what you say will be from an enlightened perspective. 

Always send follow-up emails after meetings of two or more where agreements were made. 

“Hey, <colleague/client/vendor>, just to follow up on our conversation of this afternoon; my understanding is that the entire project is to be delivered a week ahead of schedule and you will also be giving us a 20% discount. Please confirm your agreement by return email.” 

This habit is likely to save a lot of angst, doubt and confusion. It is called a “paper trail,” though it is no longer paper. 


  • You get an email. 
  • You are too busy to give it appropriate thought and response.
  • Respond with a quick, “got your note, I’m swamped, but I will respond to you by the weekend” or something.
  • Then keep your word.
  • A human being wrote you that email.
  • Treat them humanely. 
  • NO ONE doesn’t have 15 seconds to type such a response. That’s all it takes.
  • “Traveling” or “am on site” are truly not acceptable excuses for not responding; they are, essentially, Lies Excuses. The interwebs are everywhere…

Networking and social Media 

  • Never use the default message.
  • Nobody owes you a LinkedIn acceptance. Give them a reason to accept.
  • Clicking the “invite” button is not “networking.” 
  • It’s a good idea and very easy to “brand” your Zoom background. Your own brand or some artwork from the shared project or client. (I’ve been known to use a photo of a prospective client’s product so as to point out “how well I fit” – it’s worked!

Hear all critique; This can inform your decisions and help you to make better ones by raising issues that your fanbase and those who already fervently agree with you may simply not see. (See “Collaborative Dissent” a few pages back.)

Comfort Breeds Complacency in virtually all things. Just sayin’. When you are uncomfortable, you may be on the verge of some of your best work. Trust yourself. Embrace the discomfort and then go with your gut.

Three is arguably the best number for a meeting; ideation, feedback, counsel, mentoring, problem solving. Two is the best number for conspiracy.

Always be willing to learn, and to learn on the fly. At moments of greatest pressure might come a spark of alternative that could be missed if one is too focused on the previously-agreed-and-approved vision.  Always hear, always consider. One never knows…

Okay, that’s all I’ve got. For now, in any event. Good luck out there.

*(OBTW = Oh, By The Way)


IMEX: In My Experience | secrets of making ‘em cheer, weep…and sometimes write checks” is now available in the beautiful and durable Field Edition as well as download from Apple Books. Contact me at kile@kileozier.com for purchase and shipping information.

Apple Books Link: https://books.apple.com/us/book/imex-in-my-experience/id1518649025 

Don’t Let The Door Hit You…

Buckle Up, Graduates!

Read This at Your Own Risk!

The “Getting the Best…Giving the Best…” beta test cohorts have been wonderfully fantastic through winter and spring; a cache of remarkably diverse groups including undergrads, grad students, producers and execs at all levels, theme parks, major league sports, retail and all levels of immersion. Great people, great conversations, universal growth and enlightenment. 

Watch this Space for upcoming classes and workshops.

Meanwhile, a number of things came to light with respect to entering, moving through and working in the real world that had never been actually discussed with most of these individuals: not in school, in any case. Life Navigation Skills, approaches to Corporate and Cultural skills that it seems no one may be teaching.

Things One Should Know About Looking for Work and Doing Business,

but May Not Have Known Whom to Ask.” 

Herewith, in random order, are some reminders, some cautions, a few Hard Truths, some questions and my answers:

You’ve Only Just Begun. Key to the rest of your life is that fact that Graduation is the first step of the rest of your life. Your degree is the Key and your education is the tool box you will use to become the best in the business. 

But you are not the Best in the Business, yet!  Not even close.

Some clarifying facts:

  • 4,000 people in the US will graduate from College and University as #1 in their Class this year.
  • 23,632 people in the world will graduate from their Colleges and Universities as #1.

Even segmenting by course of study, that’s a LOT of competition…and these are just the #1’s

So my cautionary advice to you, out of love and support, is: I urge and caution you to not be in any hurry to “become” Creative Director, VP, President or head of anything. Don’t print business cards that label yourself “Creative Director” or any other Office. Trust me, the veterans chuckle behind the presumptuous backs of those who do this stuff.

As much as you’ve done to obtain your ranking in school, as much as you’ve done to prepare yourself to break into the industry, as much work as you’ve put in…you are still at the very beginning of your career and not at a point where you should spend any energy worrying about labels.

If anything, embrace Apprenticeship. These first jobs, the ones you land in the coming 5 or 8 years, are the ones where you will really learn what you do. Set aside any rush to the top and take the time to get to know the ones before you. Meet, befriend, assist and learn from those doing it…make your mistakes and do your practical in a safe space under supportive guidance so that when you hit the high wire you have your balance. Collaborate, Support, Acknowledge, join and become the best member of the Team…push and strive for Team Results and Recognition: the rest will come. It will.

Avoid seeking stardom; be on the Team. Make others the Stars. Your time WILL come…and probably sooner, the more you support your colleagues. Just sayin’.

TAKE YOUR TIME. You are leaving school with the best tools and methodologies, the latest and freshest basket of knowledge; now go out and make them yours, make them second nature, truly own them. 

Next: Beware the company that calls itself a “Family.” 

That should be a BIG warning sign to you; and to believe in, embrace and conduct oneself as though this fantasy is true will likely be a set-up for shock, surprise and disappointment when reality asserts itself. 

NOT to say that there are not wonderful, warm, nurturing business and familial-feeling companies and agencies in abundance, out there. But you are an asset; essential when needed, dismissible when a business decision calls for it. The difference will be in how one is treated when the fallout takes place; the warning one gets, the ushering out and sometimes the welcome back when things get better. But make no mistake, we are rarely as vital as we like to think we are. 

Fact o’life.

As comfort; I can assure you that there are thousands of amazing, wonderful, giving individuals out there in the trenches just waiting to befriend and support you through all the travails and tribulations that will be encountered on your personal rollercoaster. There really are No People Like Show People (Like No People I Know). 

You will meet and work with scores if not hundreds of wonderful people. Look forward to that. And yes, you’ll met the occasional arsewhole or jerk. Strive to avoid taking it personally. It is rarely, rarely, rarely personal, irrespective of how it might feel at the time. Take notes, though; you may need to Write or Create a <redacted> sometime; and now you have a role model! 

You’ll be fine. Just keep your eyes open and maybe try to see every little victory as a gift (and every not-so-great experience as an opportunity for context and learning).

Watch out for becoming Jaded.

There are some who wear the mantle of Jadedness, of “been there, done that” and embrace a “ho-hum” attitude toward components of our work. Distant destinations and otherwise exotic locales among them. I say watch out for that. 

Since my very first flight to London in College, I enjoy a deep sense of thrill every time I board a flight to pretty much anywhere (especially when a client or employer is paying!). I can tell you that, everytime I see London from the air at night, I hear the score from “Peter Pan” and see in my mind’s eye the Peter Pan ride at Disneyland (in 1962 or thereabouts). I want never to lose this quality. We are vested with creating memories for people from all over the world, all the time. I say hold our inner children close as muse and motivation. 

Let’s spend our long flights thinking like that. Who knows what ideas may come before we arrive. I cannot be bored on a flight. Exhausted, yes; but the Muse is vibrant.

Okay: some practical stuff:

Getting Paid: Invoicing. What should it look like, what information should be on it?

An invoice should be one page, one side, with everything on that page that will help people and companies pay you without having to seek backup or ancillary documents or information. Therefore:

  • A logo or brandmark, if you have one.
  • Contact information: name, mailing address, telephone number, email, website (if you have one).
  • An Invoice Number. Make up your own trackable system. I use a system of year/month/day/client so that in lists, they self-arrange, chronologically and alphabetically:
    • The invoice I send to Smith Company on October 7, 2021 for the Secret Project is numbered: 211907SmithSecret.
  • Name of the Project.
  • Space for a P.O. (that’s Purchase Order) number – some companies need to issue you a P.O. number that needs to be on your invoice in order for it to be paid. That number indicates that the fee agreed-upon was actually approved. 
  • Your applicable rates (hour/day/week/month) and the total amount owed you.
  • Due Date / terms of your agreement.
  • Bank / Wire Transfer information; including Swift Code, Routing Number, Account Number, Name on the Account, Name of the Bank, Address and Phone number of the bank. 
  • Be sure to ask the client what they want/need to see included in the invoice, one never knows…be thorough.

Seriously, leave nothing to chance or misunderstanding. Never worry that you are giving them too much information; rather, worry that you might leave out some small detail that can delay the processing of your invoice.

Getting Paid: How Much Am I Worth? Okay, you’re worth millions. I agree. However, do your research online (glassdoor.com or any one of a number of other sites), ask trusted friends and colleagues in the same line of work what they would pay someone with your level of education or experience. Even ask business owners or executives the salary ranges for positions you might seek. Asking from an informational point of view, outside of a climate of negotiation, will elicit more candid response and can give a more clear and objective picture. 

Decide on your rate and be comfortable quoting it. Do be wary of over-valuing a degree. While education is generally a requirement and a constant; experience is what raises value

Getting Paid: Negotiating. When asked, quote your rate; period. Don’t offer to negotiate. If asked if you’ll negotiate or “will you accept less than that?” Ask what they are offering. Do not offer any other figures until the Other Person/Company has offered a figure. Personally, I would go so far as to respond, when asked about salary, by asking if this is a negotiation. In other words, “So, are you interested in offering me the position and is this the opening of salary talks to see if we can agree?”

If they want you, then they’ll be candid. Otherwise, time is just being wasted, IMHO. If your value to a company is primarily in how low you can be gotten; is this a culture in which you’ll be happy? You be the judge of that. 

You know how low you can go for a job you love, and how much you need to maintain your life. None of that is anyone’s business; as one should be paid for what one brings to the table, not what one “needs.” Never operate or negotiate from what you “need.” 

What you need is, frankly, irrelevant in salary negotiations. Same goes for when you are seeking a raise in pay; it’s because the raise is deserved and you represent value at that level of pay; not because the kids need new shoes.


And that’s it for today. I may do more later. Meanwhile, call your mother…and ask to speak to Dad. Thank ‘em.


“IMEX: In My Experience | secrets of making ‘em cheer, weep…and sometimes write checks” is now available in the beautiful and durable Field Edition as well as download from Apple Books. Contact me at kile@kileozier.com for purchase and shipping information.

Apple Books Link: https://books.apple.com/us/book/imex-in-my-experience/id1518649025 

Collaborative Dissent

The Value of Deference to Dissidents

Hey, here’s a tip to get the best out of all available minds when making change.

There are, in the trajectory of many if not most organizations, agencies, associations and collaboratives, Moments of Decisive Evolution; as successive mission shepherds take the reins from previous and the original Visionaries have become fondly respected Historical Foundation. 

Revered Dinosaurs. 

Happens all the time to the best and edgiest. Easily preempted.

It is critical, at such times of Progressive Evolution – as new pathways and new directions are envisioned and conceived in response to the advances of time, of cultures geographic and demographic, of the wants & needs & interests of the bodies being served – that Leadership include at the table and throughout the conversation or workshop a faction of informed dissent.

Invite Dissent from the beginning. Listen to them. Hear them… Not a one-off hearing, but through the entire process.

In the vetting of any new idea, concept, approach or methodology – well before the expense and time of a Field Test, Launch or Redirectional Pivot; the scrutiny of articulate, acute dissent is vital prior to and through manifestation.

This can save vast amounts of money and time, human resources, backtracking and retrofitting…and embarrassment. Just sayin’.

We can guarantee that the spectrum of possible downsides perceived and voiced by Enlightened Dissent will likely be vastly different than those seen by an already Enthusiastically Supportive Majority. Therein lies the critical value. At the beginning is when this conversation is most valuable; when crafting The New Thing. To cut passionate critique from the conversation and process is to handicap and possibly inadvertently subvert the original intent and vision. 

“They’ll see that we are right in doing this…” is a risky, often deceptively unperceived limb on which to venture. Have those conversations before implementation; and keep them alive, step-by-step from ideation to completion.

You’ll have a far better product and be much more likely to make some positive history. Better to Listen and Hear before Going Public, n’est-çe pas?


Postscript Paragraph. 

The Writer’s Room is an apt metaphor for the crucible of advise and dissent that can create a complex, complicated and compelling story arc through sometimes intense debate and disagreement on the best path forward.