Life, as it’s known to do, has thrown a few curveballs as of late. 

When you have upheavals in life, its best to stop and take stock of what’s happening, how you’re feeling, and most importantly – what the fuck you’ll do about it.

As you reach a ‘certain age,’ you begin to think about legacy. 

This is especially vital for creative people: 

What did I leave behind? 

Will anyone appreciate my work when I’m gone? 

Hell, does anyone appreciate my work NOW?

I had trouble answering those questions.

The honest truth is that I have not challenged myself creatively far too long. 

I’ll give COVID partial credit for that: during lockdown, I worked at my day job and then basically sat around instead of hustling on a new business idea or creative projects. Prior to COVID, I would post an illustration almost every day on Instagram.

Since I wasn’t hustling, my design firm, Resolve Media, slowly withered away, and my last dependable client retired (she was with me since 1999!).

I sold the domain and walked away. 

Fast forward: My ‘day’ job involved a lot more writing and less design. I enjoy writing, but it doesn’t ‘scratch that itch’. Then I got hooked on AI – spending hours at night writing prompts. Made some cool stuff, but nothing I’d hang on a wall.

I can’t remember the last time I got sucked into an engaging project. And to make matters worse, my ADHD is off the charts.

It makes me sad (and angry).

It makes me feel like I’m wasting my God-given talent.

Ok, John, so what are you going to do about it?

I’m going to put in the work!

I’m going to make art for myself and hopefully some happy paying clients again.

Happiness is a choice. You can CHOOSE to be happy. I will refuse the negative thoughts that push me down and discourage me.

Art and design will once again become a priority in my life (next to my dog, Bella, of course).

This morning, in a moment of frustration, and then clarity, I put it all down on paper and am putting my mission statement out there for the world to see.

Here it goes:

  • I know my worth: I am not underselling myself, giving discounts, or lowballing my work.
  • I am working on establishing my personal brand as a designer and writer. I will post and engage with my audience daily to build my following.
  • I am choosing precisely who I work with. If you dislike or are uncomfortable with who you work with, what’s the point?
  • I reject imposter syndrome and trust in my abilities as a graphic designer. 
  • I am starting a new business idea as soon as my last idea fails. I will refuse to give up building my businesses and try everything until it works. Success is the only option.
  • I deal with creative block by getting away from the desk and going for a long walk or to the gym.
  • Comparison is the thief of joy. It’s a complete waste of energy. 
  • If I’m delaying or don’t feel like working on something, I give myself 15 minutes to get started. Completing the task is more satisfying than procrastinating.
  • I work when my energy levels are at their peak to maximize my day and be able to do things I enjoy.
  • Health and fitness are top priorities. It requires absolute discipline when it comes to food and alcohol, with zero alcohol as the baseline.

I’ve got a lot of work ahead of me. we’ll see what the next 6 months bring.

If you’re looking for a designer and illustrator with over 30 years of experience in print, web, and marketing communications, give me a shout.
Follow me on Instagram.
My portfolio is here.

Photo by Alex Mihai C on Unsplash

Managing people can be challenging. Some managers are not up to the task, making their subordinates’ work lives unbearable.

Toxic managers are part of life; how their traits affect you depends on the skills you develop to deal with them. A toxic manager destroys morale, diverts the workforce’s energy, impairs retention, and interferes with cooperation and information sharing.

Toxic managers can significantly impact their employees, leading to poor performance, low morale, and even staff turnover.

Here are ten types of bad/toxic managers that can negatively affect your career:

The Micromanager

This type of manager doesn’t trust their employees and tends to micromanage every aspect of their work, leading to frustration and decreased morale.

Also known as Jack of All Trades: knows everything about everything, or so they think.

The Bully

This manager uses intimidation tactics to push their employees around and get their way. They insult or belittle their staff and create a hostile work environment.

The Messiah

“Only I can fix this!” Similar to the micromanager, this manager tries to control every aspect of their team’s work. They may not trust their employees to do their job correctly, making it difficult to collaborate or be creative. (I once had a boss tell me to be ‘a little less creative.’ I left soon after.)

Also known as The Martyr: “Look how hard I work!”

The Narcissist

This manager is obsessed with their own success and can put their needs above those of their team. They may take credit for their employees’ work or manipulate situations to benefit themselves.

The Perfectionist

This manager has very high standards and can be critical of their employees’ work, leading to feelings of inadequacy and anxiety.

Also known as ‘Mr. Asses in the Seats’: Mistakenly thinks worker productivity is linked to being in your chair 9 to 9, working 100% of the time. Hates when you take vacations or days off.

The Avoider

This manager is not present when they’re needed, avoiding conflicts or difficult conversations. They may not provide feedback or support when their team needs it, leading to frustration and feelings of neglect.

Also known as The Overthinker: can’t make a decision to save their life and usually changes their mind once they do decide.

The Discriminator

Probably one of the worst on this list. This manager discriminates against certain employees based on race, gender, or other characteristics. They may give promotions to less qualified people or make work life harder for those who don’t fit their mold.

The Gossip Girl/Guy

The ‘Michael Scott’ type. This manager spreads rumors or shares confidential information about their employees, creating a toxic work environment and destroying trust.

The Passive Aggressive

This manager is not direct in communication and may make snide remarks or use sarcasm to criticize their employees. They may hold grudges and not forgive their team for mistakes.

The Emperor

This manager doesn’t provide support or resources to their team, making it difficult to do their job correctly. They do not advocate for their employees or stand up for them when needed.

Toxic managers can negatively affect their employees and the overall work environment. It’s essential to recognize the signs of toxic management and develop strategies to deal with it. This list of ten types of toxic managers is not exhaustive but provides an overview of the most common types of bad bosses.

If you work for a toxic manager, it’s crucial to seek support from your colleagues, HR, or a coach to help you navigate the situation. Remember, you don’t have to suffer in silence or tolerate abusive behavior. With the right tools and strategies, you can take control of your career and thrive in a healthy work environment.