Right to say “Stop doing shit”

And some kittens

I’m not much of a writer, so I’m very embarrassed by this article already. My English is crap, for this post I was using “Grammarly” service and some “free fam’s help”. If you like short lists, as I do, and don’t want to read all of that, jump to the end. However, I’m fully open to your feedback of any kind.

I would love to listen to that mix

We all love kittens. How can you not love those motherfuckers?

They are:

  1. Cute;
  2. Laziness-proof (you don’t need to walk them, train them, spend time on them);
  3. Able to cheer you up quickly;
  4. Fluffy;
  5. Cute!

Why am I talking about kittens? Because I need a bit of cuteness in this post.

“Right to say no to a client — extremely useful tool in any type of business. Client, customer, vendor, partner, they are all humans. Not every human is compatible, and the person who invented this rule deserves an Oscar.

However, we often forget about another, sometimes an even more important right: Right to say “Stop doing shit.”

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away…

I’ve been working in the digital industry for more than seven years now. My expertise is pretty mixed. I started a long time ago as a front-end developer. Then I learned some back-end, server side stuff, project management, SEO, design, UX and more. I can’t say that I’m rocking in all of these fields, mostly I’m a pretty decent, fast thinking kid with average skills. However, I gained one of the most critical skills on my first job. I was working with a guy who was supposed to provide all of the content for a project I was developing. I was waiting for more than a week, and in the end, he came to me with a very brief presentation. It was almost empty, with some pictures and just about one page of actual content. I was surprised: “this presentation is your face, your part, dude, don’t you want your work to be done properly?” He looked at me (or not, I don’t really remember) and said: “it’s all I have. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯”

That second I wanted to punch him in the face. Why? Because at that time, I didn’t realise I found the sacred right to say “Stop doing shit.”

The owner of the company didn’t pay my salary for the last 3 months I worked there. He tried to intimidate me with his friends in the police. But working there, I learned one of the most valuable lessons about the work environment: you have the right to say “Stop doing shit.”

Well, I left that company a long time ago, and I made sure I was using this right everywhere I could.

What is it and why it is so important?

The current work environment almost everywhere I was working or just passed by is based on this similar idea — “We are family, friends, we have to support and respect each other.” That’s one of the biggest bullshit I’ve ever heard about work environment. The real family doesn’t necessarily like or try to please each other. They just have to exist together. And you have to be able to tell your colleague that he is doing a shit job.

I’m using a digital agency as an example.

  • Writing and indenting code using spaces when everyone in the company is using tabs? Die, please.
  • Designing a small, almost invisible button instead of making the whole area clickable? Go fuck yourself, you moron.
  • Spending two days on some front-end, trying to merge two already existing styles instead of writing it from scratch in 4 hours? Are you fucking kidding me? Stop being a dumb and stubborn kid.
  • You are an UX expert, but you can’t decide on what colour and shape to use for a button for the past 1 hour? Jump out the window and don’t come back until you realise what “priority” is.

Your colleague has no right to be offended if your rough feedback is backed by proof. It’s a work place, baby, not some friend’s party. You have to do your best every second and be ready to be punished for your shitty mistakes. Everyone in the team has to know you all are working here as a family, trying to achieve a goal and give life to something good. If you’re doing shit, you will be punished but still be a part of the family — the honest, real family where you don’t like your Uncle Fred but if you need some drugs, you will go straight to this bastard.

Without this right, the team will tolerate shit on every stage:

  • Shitty planning;
  • Shitty management;
  • Shitty and awful design;
  • Shitty development;
  • Shitty polishing, simply because you can’t hide with polishing all of that shit they’ve done on earlier stages.

And in the end, they will get one more shitty product.

What about the friendly environment?

I think the first thought that’s popping in your head is: “Why can’t you say it in a polite, friendly, sweet and kind manner?”
Because it’s not worth it. Simple as that. When you have a nice way of sharing feedback, you most probably won’t get all of the benefits from it. Honestly, why should you? They told you that, for example, white text on light gray background isn’t a good idea and it’s okay if you come with another option? Well, maybe you will do something about it.

  • Will you feel it is a mistake which you shouldn’t repeat ever again?
    I assume that’s a no.
  • Will everyone spend more time doing it in a “sweet and nice” way? 
    Definitely yes.
  • Will it save your precious illusion of the proper environment?
    Of course.
  • Will you evolve much more rapidly?
    Probably not.

So, what’s the point?

The second thought is usually: “We have a healthy environment, and this kind of feedback can destroy it.”

I’m sorry, guys, but If your team can’t share their controversial feedback loud and clear without suffering from emotional consequences, then your healthily environment is an illusion.

How to use chopsticks

This is a difficult right to use, that’s true. There is a very fine line between shitting on something and giving feedback. I think the most important thing is to ask yourself: “Did I just say something rude without any reason, or this fucker is actually doing some shit and I can explain why I’m sure about it?”

Short idea

  • Feedback has to be straight forward and even blunt, this ensures that you get the most benefits from it.
  • You have no right to be offended if you’re given honest feedback. Do your job better.
  • You don’t have to swear. You just need to point in the right direction and explain why it’s not acceptable. Even if swearing is fun sometimes.
  • Don’t tolerate shit in the workplace. Ever.
  • Your work environment is in bad shape if honest feedback isn’t allowed.
  • Kittens are cute.
  • An additional point after feedback from my very positive fam Flow Fournier: It doesn’t mean that you have to be like that all the time. The positive vibes are extremely important, so you have to try your hardest to be a good person any other time.

You’re welcome to add anything valuable.

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