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  • Writer's pictureRyan-O'Neil Allen

Are you the office clown? Is it worth getting the last laugh on your brand?

Emotional intelligence and intellectual humility are the new trends for 2020.

Everyone has probably met a clown at some point. The staff member who always gets a laugh and is happy being the mascot of humour in the office. But, is being the joker all that it's cracked up to be? I mean, yes, having fun at work, is totally fine, but, can it have a double edge, that might cost you the raise or promotion you deeply want?

“If you're somebody who's climbing the ladder and looking for a leadership role, or an executive position, this is double important. When you act intellectually superior, it is such a turn off. People can read through it.” – J. T. O'Donnell,


Well, there's one lady who, gives her opinion and shared experience of these new trends, for 2020. Trends come and go but, J.T. O'Donnell has a different perspective on the conversation, where being funny isn't the problem, it's the awareness of intellectual humility.

J. T. O'Donnell is the founder and CEO of Work It Daily, an online platform dedicated to helping people solve their biggest career problems. She has more than 15 years of experience in HR, recruiting and career coaching.

Her regular LinkedIn broadcasts offer helpful insights into varied topics from climbing the ladder of success to re-defining our personal brand. J.T. brings a new way of viewing ourselves and the positive or negative perception we might display in the workplace.

Why should we care about humour?

J.T. O'Donnell makes the point that being funny or having a laugh at work isn't the issue. It's the intention and self-awareness of putting people down or making fun of others, may temporarily be applauded by colleagues, but could prevent you from being considered for a new role. Really? I thought the results would matter more. But, J.T made it clear, it's the complaining, making fun of others, or being viewed as an edgy person, will be questioned privately and may conclude, you're just not the right fit for a promotion.

So, hearing this, you might think twice before, making that joke. There's nothing to fear, as J.T. puts it. You don't need to worry about expressing yourself or be someone your not, but just be conscious of the statements you make and edit before you regret it. She also makes a point that being a 'Know It All,' type, never do you favours, as many people dislike a lack of humility. If you're starting a new role, she advises that we never need to display our intellect. People will figure it out for themselves.

'The higher you climb, the more humility and gratitude you need in a brand.' - J.T. O'Donnell.

Emotional Intelligence

What does it really mean, in today's world? The term is defined as the capacity to be aware of, control, and express one's emotions, and to handle interpersonal relationships judiciously and empathetically.

The word empathy was repeated by J.T. O'Donnell, who quite rightly, said, when we are angry, we can never demonstrate empathy for others, or the ability to read, how people may be feeling. It is a vital part of self-development and an innate skill, that can be learned, especially in life, not just for work. But, it's important, we learn how to engage with others, and be viewed, as a calm and balanced person. People will naturally be drawn to someone, who can maintain and control their emotions, and be present.

Being honest and full of gratitude repositions us, to be more in the moment or present, and ultimately mindful of ourselves and our outward behaviour.

Are we personal brands?

Everyone has a different or varied idea of what a personal brand may be. It's essentially, your name, your tone-of-voice, how you make people feel, your reputation to your manifesto. The 'personal brand' was coined by Tom Peters in 1997. Peter explains that no matter what industry we work in, or where we live in the world, we are CEOs of our lives and personal brand. In short, we should be thinking of ourselves, as such, and market ourselves well, in this digital age, with all the resources at our disposal.

J.T. O'Donnell, also shares, that the likes of Gary Vaynerchuck, display his vulnerability and explains his reasons for what he does and why he does it. He is candid, frank and open, with a filter, though many might have another opinion of that. What Gary Vee does, is all, part of his personal brand and he has on record, mentioned, things he's good at and other things, he quote., 'Stinks at.' So, it would be fair to suggest, to be a personal brand, you need to know yourself, and make sure you, check in on your decisions.

As Gary Vee puts it, you have to be self-aware, and build your brand from a place of honesty, and patience. Be consistent. Choose your tribe of positive ambassadors, and never surround yourself with negative or toxic people, who are not supporting your vision, for your life. Forget people's opinions and never be ruled or worried about others judging you. Do you.

That's what matters but don't put people down, just to get the laugh. You may not have the last one.

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