• 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



I remember it like it was yesterday: I’ve been called into my boss’s office on a Friday at 6pm (never go into your boss’s office at 6pm on a Friday, especially if you’re about to head off on vacation). Upside-down and backwards, I instantly make out key words on a typed memo on his desk:

To: Tracy Mazuer

Re: Termination

Holy shit! I’m being FIRED. F-I-R-E-D. FIIIIIRRRRED. Oh no you don’t, mister! Can you guess what I blurted out before he could even say a word?


Yes, that’s what I said. Then I repeated it three or four times to make sure he heard me. He did and had. I’m not recommending this approach, so please don’t stop reading now. In all fairness, I was working at a male-dominated rock station in the Midwest and tact was never in order. Besides, I was pissed. See, some friends of mine had heard I was going to be fired so I had already taken this bull by his horns and confronted him. Here’s how that went down:

ME: Hey, I heard you’re going to fire me and I just wanted a little heads up so I can prepare. Is this true?

BULL: No! Absolutely not. You’re staying here with me and even if I leave this radio station, I’m taking you with me.

ME: Cool. Just wanted to check in and be sure cuz these rumors are going around.

BULL: They’re totally false.

ME: You wouldn’t bullshit me?

BULL: Never.

So, here I am in his office not two weeks after this conversation reading the words upside-down and backwards and flipping out because I’m about to fly across the country to surprise my dad for his 50th birthday party. SURPRISE! I’ve been fired! Can’t pay rent!

Once I stopped firing F-bombs at him, I loudly recounted this conversation we had had just a few weeks back. I verbally pushed him and told him I’d happily leave his office when he told me something I had done to warrant being fired. I stayed there for two hours and managed to talk my way into keeping my job. Before I left, he asked for the phone number where I’d be at the Jersey shore. The next day he made the long-distance call and fired me again.

So, here’s the upshot: My dad wasn’t overly proud of the way I’d handled this situation and he used a metaphor he figured I’d appreciate. At the time, The Today Show was going through an intriguing scandal: Jane Pauley was clearly being pushed out of her 20-something-year-job by the younger, hotter Deborah Norville. Jane, of course, knew this because it was incredibly obvious and much talked about in dark alleys. BUT, she handled her prolonged humiliation with absolute dignity and class and, by watching it all go down, the importance of having grace was clear. The country watched as Jane took the high road and Deborah ultimately steered herself right into a ditch.

This metaphor came in handy the NEXT time I was fired. And the time after that, too. I call it “The Jane Pauley Approach.” No matter what, if you’re being fired, always take the high road – be Jane Pauley. It will pay off, I swear.

Now that you have that metaphor, let’s take it to a new level. The beloved simile: Being fired is like getting a tetanus shot. Stay with me here. It's a stretch, but I'm workin' it. Getting a tetanus shot hurts like a mother, but ultimately provides protection (from dying). See, that painting is what having tetanus looks like! Look familiar? That's what you look like living in fear of being fired!

When you get fired, you live. You realize your boss really can’t hurt you and your spasms will eventually cease. The shock of the moment stings, but then you’re safe and OK. Strapped for cash, yes, but alive. You actually become stronger because you no longer have to live in fear of being fired -- you just were! Hooray! You’ve been inoculated – and “Look, Ma, no lock jaw!”

So, when someone slams that rusty nail into your head:

1) DON’T worry. Just breathe. You’re fine.
2) DO recognize that you just lived through one of your greatest fears and the world is still rotating on its axis.
3) DO take the high road no matter how pissed off you are.
4) DON’T do what I did the first time and tell your boss to F-OFF.
5) DON’T take it personally. I’ve fired plenty of people, many of whom I’ve really liked and appreciated. I’ve been fired by a good friend and have fired good friends.
6) DO understand that most legal departments of companies won’t let your boss tell you WHY you’re being fired. It sucks! Fired people like to threaten lawsuits and your company doesn’t want to deal with that (nor do you, in most cases). The only thing your boss is supposed to say is something benign like, “It just wasn’t working out.”
7) DON’T talk trash your boss or the company to your co-workers. You’ll sound like the bitter, fired person and it can bite you in the ass. Protect yourself by leaving with dignity and trash talk at home.
8) DON’T act like you’re scarred and “less than” because you were fired. Get over it. Lighten up and take the scarlet “F” off your forehead. It clashes.
9) DO go get another job.

P.S. Know that if you’re in a creative field, you can expect to be fired AT LEAST once or twice during your career. It’s a rite of passage!

P.P.S. There are some great ways to handle your next interviews after you’ve been fired. Write me personally and I’ll help you through it.

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)

"In a town that really has no rules, its nice to know that there's someone out there on your side. The stories use the entertainment business as a background, but all the examples and lessons are applicable to anyone in the working world. And coming from someone that has been getting advice from the Reluctant Genius for over 8 years, let me just say...Its worth the read!" - David Tobin, Producer

"Tracy has been a great coach and mentor to me in my current job search. Having worked for the same companies for many years, my idea of networking was to call my past employers and beg for work. With Tracy’s help I have re-energized my job search, making new contacts and taking meetings more successfully. Her positive and pro-active approach has given me a new way to “work the room.” I feel more in control and positive in meetings than I have in years. Thank you, Tracy." -J.G. Writer/Producer

"Tracy Mazuer's advice and guidance not only helped me to overcome my fears of asking for what I want (and become successful at getting it); she also helped me to realize the true value of my worth to the creative world! After consulting with "The Reluctant Genius", I landed more meetings, got my ideas more streamlined, and most importantly learned the sacred art of kicking ass! She is a rockstar in the consulting world! I would recommend "The Reluctant Genius" to anyone who is looking to get what they want!" --Johnny Appleseed (aka Shawn Colin Young)

"Tracy Mazuer's genius has saved me from many heartaches and headaches. I was reluctant to be as bold as I am in business until I started working with Tracy. She helped me take what I learned in the independent world and bring it to a larger audience. Tracy is part of the genius behind the creation of Stirring Up Trouble! If you are ready to go to the next level (no matter what level you're at) then you must consult with 'The Reluctant Genius' I don't know what I would have done without her!" -filmmaker, writer and host of Stirring Up Trouble
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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