• Hate your boss?
• Suck at interviewing?
• Deserve a promotion?
• Can't negotiate your way out of a paper bag?
• Suffering through a professional crisis?
• Have ISSUES?

Then you've hit the right place.

Through brutal honesty and concrete advice, the Reluctant Genius effectively helps you manage all aspects of your job and career. With 18 years of experience in Hollywood, the RG has figured out how to make it to the top AND SURVIVE, somewhat unscathed.

Available for consulting services and speaking engagements. Write to: info@thereluctantgenius.com



Message to Finger Pointers: You’re about to be exposed. Sorrrrry.

Ready? Here goes!

Many of you would just as soon throw your own grandmother under a bus than take the heat for something you screw up. You’re too afraid to OWN your shit.

If you’re quick to dismiss this statement – or if you’re feeling defensive, then here’s lookin’ at you, kid. You might want to take a moment to see if this shoe fits.

If, on the other hand, you’re dealing with someone who is a pointer, or if you’re ready to take the next step into adulthood and stop blaming others, then understanding the fear behind the action will help.

This heretofore unlabeled Finger-Pointing Personality Disorder can be found anywhere (except in the DSM-IV). It’s most pervasive in the workplace and unfortunately, the higher you go, the more pointers there will be. Why? Because where there’s fear, there’s a pointer!

God forbid anyone would take responsibility for her own behavior. What would happen? Well, I did an unplanned test that I’ll share in a moment. But first, one of my own FPPD stories:

Admittedly, throughout my years in television, I’ve thrown a few people under said metro. I did it while in a state of panic. A projectile vomiting, if you will, of shear finger pointing. Of this, I am not proud. While no apologist, I’m certainly not one to hang someone else for my mistakes. But when caught off guard, the mind can perform astonishing tricks. Before I knew it, the perfect excuse could just leap off my tongue. I caught myself in the act of FPing while producing a live cooking segment for an ABC show. There was an award-winning biscuit-maker; she was a memorable old coot who asked if she could sniff my cue-card permanent markers before she went on. I obliged and she snorted her way to joy and quasi-oblivion before walking on-stage. Within a few moments she was happy as a clam teaching the viewers how to make her decorated biscuits while backstage it hit me that I had forgotten to put the butter for the recipe on the stage countertop. All hell was about to break lose. My heart raced -- you know that moment you’re hit with unimaginable fear, full on 'fight or flight?' -- my face flushed then my panicked brain bellowed, “Blame it on the props department! Everyone else does!” And when the shit hit the fan, I did.

Why would we need to stoop so low and blame someone else for our mistakes? FEAR. FEAR. FEAR. FEAR. I was terrified that I might not appear to be perfect; I had to be the consummate producer or I’d never get ahead. This was, after all, live national television and that calls for nothing short of perfection (especially when it comes to biscuit baking or the other earth-shattering mistakes we might make in a day). Look, we all screw up all the time. Own it. All I had to do was say, “I blew it. Apologies. It won’t happen again.” What in the hell is someone going to say to that? You leave them no room for a lengthy, pissy rebuttal. All they really have room for is a snarky “Yea, never let that happen again!” Instead, I screwed someone else over for my own benefit and that ain’t right.

Actually, apologies seem to take on a life of their own. I find that when you flog yourself, others will actually try to make you feel better about your screw-ups. It’s true! Here’s what happened to me recently:

I was a consultant on a reality show. We were in post-production and I hadn’t worked much, if at all, with most of those staff members. My job was to look at the edited shows throughout the editing process and make notes of things for them to fix, add, delete, and the like. I communicated with them through writing since my physical presence wasn’t yet necessary. As you might have noticed, my writing style is anything but flowery and flattering, but in my brain I believed that a) they will appreciate me getting right to the point, and b) to know me is to love me. Well, this staff didn’t know me, and they certainly didn’t love me. In fact, before I knew it, there was a mutiny mounting and the entire post-production staff was on the verge of quitting because THEY HATED ME!

When I heard about it, I had two choices: I could blame them for doing shoddy work and thrust my fancy consultant sword through their paychecks, or I could admit that I had been acting like an asshole and APOLOGIZE for my behavior and lack of judgment.

Well, I marched my sorry ass into the office that day, gathered all 9 or 10 of them in an office and clearly, abashedly apologized for my behavior. I used the words "I'm sorry" and "I made a mistake." I then let every person in the department tell me without any fear of reprisal EXACTLY what they thought of the memos I had sent to them. It was brutal. They were so angry with me and they relished every second they had to slam me. I took it all without reacting defensively (super hard btw!).

My contrition was sincere and I trusted they knew it. The mutiny was instantly abandoned and they actually worked hard to let me off the hook. I had taken my 'just desserts' like a real woman.

I owned my shit instead of pointing fingers. It takes courage to do that, but I'm a firm believer that if you take the high road and do what's right, you will be rewarded somewhere around the bend.

As for the props department at ABC’s The Home Show: I’m sorry about that butter thing.

LAURA INGRAM -- "DON'T COME IN MY EAR" -- This sums up life in TV



Tracy Mazuer’s coaching skills are entirely responsible for elevating my career and status in the television industry. Tracy has recognized and helped to define a vital yet consistently overlooked part of building and maintaining a successful career in the entertainment industry – how to successfully market yourself.

I have worked in television as a Producer/Director for many years. Prior to discovering Tracy’s abilities, I promoted myself so poorly that...(read more of this testimonial)

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Tracy has a way of teaching you something without pointing her finger, being condescending or coming at it from a “I know it all” attitude, because frankly she doesn’t and nobody does, but she admits it, and that is what makes her “real” and most certainly approachable! Tracy has a way with words and people, truly a gift and surely something that can’t be taught, but she treats you like her equal. She has always been my boss, never vice versa but it’s always seemed as though we were fighting the same battle and we were at war side by side. (read more...)

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Connecting Reality - Wednesday, 29 October 2008
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