Meeting Adjourned?!? The Nerve of Them!

December 16, 2011

Board of MisDirectors - Meeting Adjourned! Mug

We recently discovered that SOMEONE had created mugs suggesting we – WE! – shut up!  Can you believe the nerve of them?

You can see this travesty here, on Cafe Press:,408519678


Dear BoM: How to Deal with Inner Doubts

August 14, 2011

Are you heeding your inner voices?  Need some extra-emphatic advice?  We are here for you!  Send us your question so we can answer on the blog – benefit the entire world!  Like this brave soul, who asked us this question:

Dear Board of MisDirectors:

Sometimes when I’m in a social situation, I say or do something that, when I’m thinking about it later, I feel really embarrassed about, or worried what people will think about it.  I can spend hours thinking about something I said, trying to figure out how people reacted to it.  Then, I’m afraid to go out again, because I may do something that I end up worrying about.  It’s kind of paralyzing.  How can I get over this?

Worrying Myself Sick Over Nothing

Dear WM-SON,

We do not understand why you feel you are worrying over nothing.  Clearly, your inner voices – that is, us – are trying very hard to tell you that there is something to worry about!  If we are suggesting to you that you may have left, let us say, a poor impression, there’s a very good reason for it.  The question you should be asking is not how to get over this, but how to pay even more attention to it!  Here are a few suggestions for you.

  1. First and foremost, don’t let anything interfere.  Say you went to church or synagogue (or whatever) over the weekend, and you wake up Monday morning with the realization that you may have left the unfortunate impression that you were into group sex.  Don’t let your job get in the way of reflecting on this!  Call in sick!  (You probably feel ill, don’t you?)  You will need as much time as possible, because…
  2. The next most important thing is to review all of the conversations and interactions that both led to and resulted from this.  Don’t skimp!  Examine every single word that was said, every tone of voice, every expression on the faces of people you saw (whether or not they were looking at you!).  Every single little thing is filled with meaning – dark, ominous meaning.  It is critical that you catch every nuance!  Because…
  3. Your future behaviour around these people, and in fact everyone else as well, will be guided by what you learn from this.
    1. Ask yourself this: what critical yet irreparable flaw led you to make that mistake in the first place?  This is the flaw (well, one of the flaws) that you must in the future hide from EVERYONE IN THE WORLD.  You will need a strategy for this – could be anything from “don’t talk about farm animals anymore” to “never go out in public again”.
    2. Next, ask yourself what meanness or perversion in those other people could have led them to interpret your harmless (though really poorly phrased) remarks in that sick way.  Once you have at least one vaguely plausible answer to this, you’ll need another strategy for letting these people know you’re onto their game and think it (and they) are nothing more or less than despicable – though you will, of course, continue to talk with them as is your (fill in your religious persuasion) duty.

These are just a few starter suggestions.  There is so much more you can and should do with these kinds of situations.  As you see, they have the potential to be life-changing!  Paralysis is only the beginning!

Thanks for asking.

Your Board of MisDirectors.

Finding our advice helpful?  Of course you are!  
You can find more advice, related to topics such as dealing with rejection, cheating boyfriends, weight loss,
and so much more, in the archives of our advice column, Why Bother?

Special Member Feature: The Forgetter

August 8, 2011

Today we are honoring The Forgetter, our member who excels at helping you forget things which are really not important, or which are best not remembered.

You know the kinds of things we mean: inconvenient shopping lists that your spouse gave you, unpleasant tasks, birthdays of people who annoy you, where the cleaning supplies are kept, and so on.

The Forgetter induces fogginess, confusion, distraction, or blankness to interrupt any troublesome action, thought, insight, question, or expression that has disguised itself as important or meaningful.  For example, suppose you are driving home from work when the thought occurs to you that your anniversary is next week.  A favorite Forgetter strategy is to suggest that you don’t need to think about it yet, that it will be better to wait a day or two until, say, you have more time; this, followed up by the intrusion of an interesting news segment on the radio, a near accident, or the sighting of a cow, bus, pedestrian (anything will do), will usually banish the thought entirely from your mind.

A quick and efficient way to clear the decks – with a minimum of blame coming back toward you!  (Obviously, if you could have remembered, you would have!)

See how The Forgetter recommends you deal with forgetting an important date.

MisDirectors August Horoscopes

July 31, 2011

We all know horoscopes are fake, right? Science, schmience! For entertainment only! But these, at least, have some good, solid, helpful hints for handling what’s coming your way! And they’re FREE!

We are pleased to offer you horoscopes when we feel you need them – like now.  Here are a few samples of our August horoscopes:

Leo July 23-Aug 22
Hey, birthday guy/gal, think:
there was something you really,
really needed to accomplish
this summer, to set you up
for the rest of your life.
What was it? Oh, well – The Forgetter
says it was probably not important anyway.

Sagittarius Nov 22-Dec 21
It wasn’t your fault, really.
Could have happened to anyone.
And if the others had done their part,
it NEVER would have come to this.

Gemini May 21-June 20
Now’s a great time for a task from
the Processor, called How Deep Can You Go?

It starts out like this:
Make a list of 5 things you’ve always wanted to do
but haven’t yet. Now, for each item, make a list
of all the reasons you have failed to do it.
Now, for each of those reasons, …
(Yes, there’s more. For the rest,
go to the Tasks from Your Inner Voices page.)

Not a Leo, Sag, or Gemini?  Feeling neglected?  Chill.  The Board has something for you in our horoscopes.  And if we don’t, well, get over it.

When Your Boss Needs Your Help

July 28, 2011

Dear Board of Misdirectors:

My boss is, frankly, incompetent.  He means well, I guess, but he just diddles around and can’t get things done right – indecisive and not too bright.  I feel sorry for the poor guy.  What can I do to help him?

Help our Boss Be Better

Dear HoBBB:

How thoughtful and considerate you are!

You clearly need to take charge here, since you obviously know better than your boss.  But you don’t want to embarrass the poor man, do you?  So, here’s what we suggest.

  • Make suggestions.  Well, start out with suggestions – for example: “Oh, there’s a meeting of the budget committee next week?  Well, you’re going to get Benson on that report this morning, then, aren’t you?”   If your boss has any sense at all, he’ll see this for the valuable push in the right direction that it is, and immediately enact it.  If not, you’ll have to state it more strongly, e.g.: “It would be really stupid not to get Benson working on that report ASAP.”  You don’t actually want to say, “What are you, an idiot?”  But it is perfectly acceptable – even helpful – to have that undertone.  You do want him to understand.
  • Don’t worry if it seems like you are making a lot of suggestions – if you are, it’s because he needs it.  If he doesn’t recognize that, he’s a fool.
  • Check up on him frequently.  Has he followed your suggestions?  So, for example: “Hey, has Benson got that report done yet?
  • Start the suggestions in private, but if he doesn’t listen to you, take them public.  That is, make sure there are several co-workers around when you hit him with your ideas.  Raising your voice so they can hear you a few cubicles away is a great strategy.
  • Enlist the help of your colleagues by explaining your strategy, and why it’s necessary, to them.  They will all be gratified to know that you have the situation well in hand.  Be sure to report back to them whether your boss takes your suggestions, too, so they will know who’s to blame, and who saved the day.  After all, you do want transparency in the workplace, right?  It’s important people know how things really work.
  • Note that, though you are only doing your duty and trying to be helpful, there may be a variety of negative consequences.  You may be fired at some point for something spurious like insubordination, or not getting enough work done (depending on how long it takes to explain things to your co-workers).  Or, your well-deserved promotion may go to someone else, who appears to be getting more work done or to be “working well with others.” This is clearly a problem with the system, which is massively screwed up (or your boss wouldn’t be your boss – you would).  If this happens, do continue to take the time to explain to your co-workers (as well as your spouse, family, etc.) what really happened and why, and know that you are suffering for a righteous cause.

Best wishes!

Your Board of MisDirectors
(special thanks to The Rationalizer, The Realist, and The Escalator)
Need advice on relationships, work, etiquette?  See our advice column, Why Bother?

Failure: The Subtle Revenge

July 13, 2011

Or, as we like to say, Failure: the other success.

As we point out in our advice column, Why Bother?, failure is a fantastic place to be, especially when it’s repeated, hopelessness-engendering failure.  You may ask, why?  You may say, that sounds rather dismal.  Of course it is!  That’s the beauty of it.  Let us explain.

Consider some of the arenas of failure: relationships, school, job/career, improving your lifestyle (say, eating better or exercising more, giving up addictions, etc.).  When you fail at any of these, what happens?  Pain, that’s what!  Feelings of inadequacy, guilt, perhaps shame.  You may also experience a desire to fix the blame on someone else (Your spouse just wasn’t supportive! Trauma from your childhood left you unable to cope!), angry defiance, and the like.

Hold onto those feelings!  Bank them!  They can guide you through many dangerous situations – situations which might suggest you try again.  We say, why bother?  The outcome is predictable – you’ve already experienced it – and it’s just a lot of work.  Remember the pain, the guilt, the anger, feel it all again – and give the “try again” thing a miss.  This way you save time and energy.  Success!

There may be those in your life who shake their heads at you, thinking you’re missing out on something.  There are two things you know that they don’t – and here’s the meat in the stew of failure as subtle revenge.  First, you are right and they – well, they’re just dead wrong.  You already know this.  Second, you know deep down that if you really wanted to, you could succeed in whatever it is – you’re simply choosing not to.  Therefore, you’re smarter than they are, and you win.  Success!

While there is a kind of brute-force rubbing-their-faces-in-it revenge in success, we note that the more elegant, subtle revenge lies in total, complete, abject, repeated, hopeless failure.

Make everyone sorry.

The Benefits of Stubbornness: The Sweet Spot of “No”

July 11, 2011

Many of you have no doubt been taking advantage of the benefits of “No” for many years, though perhaps without being fully conscious of what you were doing.  We congratulate you!   Saying “No” to things is one of life’s sweetest actions, even when you are only partially aware of the benefits.  We are about to show you a few that you may not have been aware of – but will now be able to savor fully.

The most obvious one, and the one that you are all probably already enjoying, is the sense of control, coupled with the sense of showing the other person (or party) just where they get off.  Oh, you want to do this?  Well, tough cookies: No.  Implicit in that: you can’t make me, I won’t be placated though you may try ’til you turn blue, there’s nothing you can do that will change my mind, you loser.

It feels good, doesn’t it?

Here are two of the more subtle benefits.

  1. It puts the next move squarely in the other person’s (or party’s) court.  They suggested something, which you flatly rejected.  Now they have to think of something else to suggest.  Don’t fall into the trap of making an alternate suggestion yourself!  Oh, no, no, no!  Keep them reacting, trying to guess what might be acceptable to you!  Hold onto the power!
  2. It puts you in the place of pure faultlessness.  All you did was to reject a clearly unacceptable suggestion.  Not your fault if the other person (or party) couldn’t come up with something that was even marginally acceptable!  No matter what happens from here – whether it’s just a little rough spot in the road while they come up with a better idea, or complete moral and physical disaster – it’s not your fault.  NOT YOUR FAULT!  Savor those words.

A recently Harvey Mackay piece suggests you let your inner child influence your negotiating style.  Well, we second that – sort of.  He’s referring to the happy, curious, open inner child.  We feel this will work much better with the needy, petulant, whiny inner child – the one that says “No” even to things he or she wants, just to be ornery and get back at whoever is suggesting it.

It may not get you what you want, but it will sure as shootin’ pull those around you down to your level of (un)happiness and (dis)satisfaction – and after all, that’s the ultimate goal, right?

The Board of MisDirectors thanks its member, The Rationalizer, for this entry (advised, of course, by all the other Members). If you find this advice helpful and would like more, please visit the Board of MisDirectors web site, where you can get advice on topics from employment to relationships, as well as hints on how to maximize the benefits of your unresolved traumas!

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