Bathroom Google Searches

As an industry that thrives with lingo, we’re not kind to newbies.

At my first agency job, it was very clear from day one that questions were persona non grata, especially about things you “should already know.”

The looks, the snickers, the occasional eye roll.

FSI (There are 78 possible definitions for FSI)
OLA
JO
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Given the super trendy open-concept office set up, I would routinely hide in the bathroom to google things. So many random searches – aimless, fruitless searches. I didn’t realize how demoralizing it was at the time, but it was likely how I contracted a case of imposter syndrome.

In stark contrast, I remember one of my first days at Media Cause I saw a director-level human ask a relatively basic question. A question that would have been hit with the look/snicker/eye roll combo at my last agency. I waited to hear the answer on bated breath, how bold of them to ask such a simple question – and whoever they asked answered kindly and compassionately.

Jeez Louise. Did our team just embrace learning? Did we just acknowledge that no one is expected to know everything and questions are ok?!

Little did I know at the time, but internalizing that I didn’t need to pretend to know everything allowed me to let my guard down, and show up fully to work. And dare I say, it’s been lovely. New curiosities have been sparked! Brainstorming and concepting are genuinely more fun and better ideas are created since everyone has a sense of psychological safety.

When I share my bathroom google searches with colleagues, they share similar stories of things they were afraid to ask at past agencies. I’ve yet to hear any of these tales end in “but it worked out ok – I felt supported there and did my best work.”

It’s critical employees feel safe to ask questions, because truly there are no dumb questions.*

At Media Cause, we’re constantly sussing out what we don’t know so we can learn, adapt, and grow. We have standing bi-weekly meetings with our managers to continuously learn from each other. We have an open forum to ask our co-founders anything we want – literally anything – financial questions on how we’re doing and what our projections are to what they’re currently reading.

We LOVE questions.
We have NO SHAME in not knowing the answers.
We LOVE learning.

If you find yourself working with or at an organization where you feel like you can’t ask questions, big or small, start asking yourself what you’re getting out of that partnership.

*The no dumb questions rule doesn’t give you carte blanche to be bad at your job and fake ignorance. And by all means, google things, but know you won’t be shamed or scolded for asking questions if you genuinely don’t know.