The Creative Consultant vs the Drama Llama

So you got an awesome Consultancy gig. Great schedule. Great pay.
But... godawful drama!

Not that this is anything new to you. You've been involved in workplace drama and even orchestrated quite a few in the past when you were still corporate. However, if drama is the reason why you left the 9-to-5-and-then-some grind, then you don't need this extra excitement in your life.

With that, here are some basic tricks to survive your unwanted comeback to workplace theatrics.

1. Put your spotlight… on yourself.
So some disgruntled employees let you in on the office secret that the company sucks and they are in dire need of a saviour. You. Okay, remember… You were contracted for one reason. To be awesome and to stay awesome. So do just that. As they say in Gone Girl, "Everything else is background noise."

2. Be a moving picture.
So the team you're tasked to work with is the prick collective. So don't drop your other jobs. When you move a lot, drama won't stick to you. Don't make one agency your one and only world. Be too busy that you won't have the time to wallow in other people's petty problems.

3. Never audition. 
So this and that told you that the guy who signs your checks steals from the company. Be an ear. Never a mouth. Listen to what the In-house drama crew has to say just so you know what to look out for (just in case). But be very objective. Do not give your opinion. Do not outperform your boundaries.

4. Play the part.
So the agency boss tells you that you can shoot down everyone's work except his son-in-law's. Ooohkaay… sure. Play the politics as much as you can without endangering your output and the team's. Devise a middle ground that makes both parties happy. This is tricky shit so you have to know if you're up to it.

5. Stay in character.
So someone from the inside is attacking you head-on. This can be a guy whose glorious position you've endangered by your swashbuckling presence and performance. IG-NORE. You get to piss him off more by playing it cool. Let him muck up on his own.

6. Do not be a Drama Queen.
So the attack has gone too far? Mr. Insecure is going the desperate, underhanded route of ruining you? Bite back the smart way. Don't get all emotional that it will put you in a bad light. Document everything, put everything in black and white. It's better to outbitch with brains than brawn.

So you can't stand the drama anymore? Bail out! Jump ship! Move on and burn that drama bridge! Remember that you're first and foremost a freelancer. A Creative Nomad. You'll survive wherever fate takes you. And opportunities never run out because you make them happen. But… leave with grace. Make sure you've been too awesome that you will be missed. While the offending party will be dissed for it.

And that's how you kill the llama. Of course, the drama is never the same wherever you go. But it will find you one way or the other. The trick is to handle it with poise, smarts, and indifference. You're free. So why box yourself in a tiny puppet stage?


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