Career tips from Brooklyn Nine-nine
WHILE your job may not involve interrogating criminals like in the sitcom Brooklyn Nine-nine, there are still some great career lessons you can learn from the employees of Brooklyn’s 99th precinct.
Promote open communication
Characters keeping secrets or hiding information from one another is a staple of sitcom storytelling and frequently leads to the frantic hilarity and madcap hijinks that keep us tuning in week after week. The lies inevitably are revealed, often resulting in candid dialogue about why the character lied, followed by apologies and forgiveness.
This may make for an enjoyable half hour of television, but it rarely works out so neatly in the real world. Two of the central Brooklyn Nine-nine characters, Sergeant Jeffords and Captain Holt, can spend a whole episode secretly manipulating their co-workers to increase productivity, only to be found out and chastised by the rest of the office with no lasting effect.
The problem is, real offices don’t have a mandate that all issues be tidily wrapped up in 30 minutes. People don’t like being lied to, and unlike your favourite TV characters, your co-workers aren’t likely to forgive and forget.
Take pride in your work
Of course, sometimes the desire to openly communicate is there, but your nerves get in the way. Such is the case with one of the precinct’s employees, Detective Santiago, and her relentless quest for Captain Holt’s approval. Santiago is so nervous trying to please her boss that she frequently puts her foot in her mouth.
Trying to impress a superior in and of itself is a great way to keep yourself motivated and engaged at work. But if you’re just working solely for external approval, you’re setting yourself up for some serious stress down the line. Take pride in your personal accomplishments and let your work speak for you.
Learn how to apologise
Knowing how to apologise is one of those skills that can be difficult to accept but will have a powerful impact on your interpersonal relationships. When you work closely with a group of people, arguments and mistakes are bound to come up. While it’s best to keep a cool head and stay calm, when tensions run high, emotions can sometimes take over.
When that happens, it’s important to muster up a sincere apology, like the one Detective Diaz gave to Captain Holt, whether you were in the wrong or not. Bite the bullet and say you’re sorry. It will relieve tension, help everyone move on and find a solution, and your co-workers will respect you for it. Some days it may seem like you just can’t get a win. Maybe you’ve run into a roadblock, or you’re having trouble starting a new project. Whatever it is, things just aren’t going your way. You’re in a slump.
In the season one episode “The Slump,” main character Detective Peralta can’t solve a case to save his life, and things seem to get worse at every turn. When he asks Captain Holt for help with his predicament, Holt puts him on data-entry duty and gives him a rabbit’s foot to rub for luck.
But when Peralta ultimately overcomes his slump, it’s not because of luck – it’s because the data-entry work allowed him to focus on something else. Holt recognized that, because Peralta thought he was in a slump or cursed, his mind was actually working against him.
It’s perfectly natural to get anxious when things aren’t going your way. Unfortunately, that anxiety can actually make it more difficult for you to accomplish tasks. The key is to get your mind focused on something else –– mundane busywork, organizing your computer files, cleaning your desk or even running a few quick errands –– anything that can distract your conscious mind and give your subconscious mind a crack at the real problem.
Get past a slump
There are career lessons you can learn from the employees of Brooklyn's 99th precinct.