My advice, for surviving life

10 years of living in South Africa with my family in another country has meant that I have learned some things from trial and error, I hope they will help you shape your career and your character.

You will not like everyone that you work with

I for one have had to work with some terrible people over the years. I have been removed from accounts with little to no explanation why purely due to a personality clash with my manager. I have had to suck it up and smile at the very people undermining my knowledge on a daily basis. This one time, a guy stole my lunch from the company fridge and ate in front of me, I mean WHO DOES THAT? It wasn’t funny. I will never again taste that homemade pesto pasta that for once in my life was not a flop. How do you deal with these people? You rise above, you get your job done to the best of your ability and you cover all your bases (e-mail records are your friend, my friend). Take everything life throws at you as a lesson. Don’t be bitter, be better and rise above you are a Phoenix

Clients are just people, friends come and go

My first job some 8 years ago I was terrified of client meetings and the pressure that came with them I used to have to prep myself to meet with these people and that’s the thing, they are just people. Sometimes in life and not only in business, you have to deal with awful people, how you react to these situations can make or break your day and week.  Clients need you and rely on you to provide a service without you, they can’t do their job and Vica Versa. You are allowed to push back, you are allowed to say no. Clients are just people, and they just like you need guidance from time to time. You need to get into a space with clients where you are a trusted advisor and not the “roll out”person who they bark orders at. When it comes to friends and relationships keep in your mind that people only come into you life for 3 types of things, a reason, a season or a lifetime. Sometimes that boyfriend was only there to teach you something about what you DON’T want in a relationship, there are also friends that were your partners in crime for a period and then disappear, cherish those friendships, but also know when it is time to let them go and set them free.

Move, you are not a tree

There is something great about changing jobs after a period of time, it brings with it a new challenge new people and new experiences. If you are unhappy in your place of work, feel like you are underpaid or have reached a point where you can no longer grow then move. A lot of people think that you need to spend 5 – 10yrs at a job, you don’t. I have worked in 5 agencies in 7 years, every time I have moved it has been because I got a higher position or when I reached a Head of Department level (like I am now, and have been for the last 3 years), I moved because I needed a challenge and something new and interesting to build up, create and make me feel fulfilled.

Set goals, write them down

Goal setting is so important, working towards something consciously or subconsciously is what makes achieving things all that much sweeter. I have had goals since I was 18, I wrote them down and forgot about them for the most part but right here today as I type this I have achieved 70% of my goals.

Never stop learning

If there is something you don’t understand Google it, then read everything you can find and then watch all the tutorials can you find, see if there is a free course for you do to on it.  Last year alone I did 5 courses, and they only cost me a Skillshare premium subscription and some time registering on Shaw Academy. The internet has everything you need to know about everything, use it. It’s only dogs that you can’t teach new tricks to, that doesn’t apply to humans.

Fly your freak flag 

Be a weirdo, be unique, laugh at your own jokes if no one else does but please, don’t conform. Spoiler: No one remembers the person who moulded into someone they weren’t in order to get people to like them. When you accept your weirdness, I am telling you that it will surprise you how many people accept it too.

“I like being myself. Myself and nasty” – Aldous Huxley [Stolen from #GirlBoss the best book I have read in ages]


Be careful with your money

Save, save and save some more. I am really good with money, some people are and some aren’t and I am lucky that I have been #blessed with the latter. I work hard, and because of that I am financially stable, not comfortable but stable I can buy some dope ass sneakers and still go out for dinner with my friends 2 nights a week if I want. I have worked freaking hard and lost a lot of people along the way because I haven’t had work/life balance. I know a lot of people say that money shouldn’t be a driving force in your life, but I do know this, if you have enough money to survive and live an ok life, everything else is much easier and you are happier because of it. I have struggled and had to stay in and say no to things a lot because I needed to make sure I had enough fuel in my car to get to work the following week, I also have done ZERO travelling because I have been saving towards a house for the last 10 years, yup 10 years of saving. Trust me, saving doesn’t sound sexy, but you know what is? Going to bed at night in a house that is in your name, never having to find a new roommate to take over a room in your house share or living with someone who doesn’t clean dishes, from July I will be living that life purely because I was good with my money and saved responsibly. (also, can you tell that people who don’t do their dishes are a major irritation in my life)

Find a hobby

I am still in the process of finding a hobby, I do know that it’s one part this blog and the other part is shared between photography and keeping fit although nothing at this given time has my ultimate devotion but I keep on trying new things and soon I will have an obsession that I will call “My hobby”. Find a hobby, and if you have one already, you go you good thing. Hobbies are important because they let you take time away from the day to day stresses of the world to do something for you that is totally and utterly selfish whilst making you really happy.

I hope this helps you in some way, shape or form.

Until next time, see you on the Interwebs.

  • Kerry Vollmer

    April 4, 2017 at 9:38 am Reply

    Thank you.
    I was petrified of people until I realised ” they are just people. ”
    Never stop learning, currently using a trial of LinkedIn Learning (which was but I see Skillshare could be more beneficial.

    • Justine

      April 4, 2017 at 1:15 pm Reply

      People are scary thought, LBH

  • Tanya Demmer

    April 5, 2017 at 11:44 am Reply

    Loved this so much! I resigned this week and it’s been a very emotionally two days. I am starting a new adventure at a new company and it’s scary but I am sure it will be awesome too.

    Thank you for writing this.


    • Justine

      April 5, 2017 at 8:23 pm Reply

      I have also resigned and am also moving to a new company. Looks like our lives are in the same sort of emotional rollercoaster when it comes to work, but remember this… You are NEVER given more than you can handle 🙂

  • Claudz

    April 8, 2017 at 11:38 am Reply

    I love this. It’s all so true! I was retrenched this year and it’s forced me to get out of a job I actually didn’t like and to finally start my own side business while working in a new industry. Still need to learn to save and to find that hobby…..

    • Justine

      April 9, 2017 at 8:23 pm Reply

      I am so sorry about the retrenchment having lost our biggest client at the agency and then seeing our partner agencies lose big accounts too it hasnt affected me personality but I know the feeling of uncertainty and what that can do to your psyche. If there is ever anything I can do to help with your side business please let me know, even if it’s just a shout out. 🙂

  • Jack Rautenbach

    May 11, 2017 at 7:32 am Reply

    Great advice! Screw the people, you are he people.

  • Abby

    October 3, 2017 at 5:41 pm Reply

    Sometimes an article or a blog post pops into your feed at the exact moment you needed it. That was the case for me and your blog and this post in particular. It has been a challenging year with so many changes. I’m working on some of the things you’ve mentioned but it’s good to know I’m on the right path. All the best with everything your side. x

    • Justine

      October 3, 2017 at 10:58 pm Reply

      Keep on keeping on, you got this 🙂

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