New video blogger for Brazen Careerist: Bruce Tulgan

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I know, I know, I spent a whole post ranting about how almost everyone should not be video blogging. So it’s surprising to hear that I’m launching Bruce’s video blog here, right?

The reason I love Bruce’s video blog is that he is a great speaker, and he has great ideas, and he gets them out really fast, which is important because I don’t have a lot of patience to watch video online.

The first time I heard of Bruce was when he published the book, Managing Generation X. He was the first person to say, Hey, we’re not like the baby boomers. We’re not going to be able to work with you if you don’t start treating us differently. I was so excited to buy his book. So excited that someone had identified what I was feeling.

Bruce still has a great sense about what is coming next in the work world, and his forthcoming book, It's Okay to Be the Boss, is about management. Specifically, how to be a competent manager in the new workplace. Bruce’s bottom line is that management isn’t just a title, it’s an obligation you have to the people who report to you.

He focuses on how to be a good manager when the most junior employee in the company has no problem asking for Thursdays off to go to karate class. He gives tips on what to do when you become the manager of your friend. And he shows everyone, even non-managers, how to tell your boss how to manage you more effectively.

So, here’s the first installment of what I expect will become a regular feature on Brazen Careerist. Let me know what you think:


(requires the Flash 9 Player)
iPod Video – Download

21 replies
  1. Benjamin Strong
    Benjamin Strong says:


    I am new to Bruce Tulgan and found this particular vignette perfect. The length was just right and he ended on an excellent "punch line". Ding! I am the boss.

    The video loaded quickly and it had a quality feel instead of some high school You Tube prank.

    I look forward to more of these pieces.

  2. Andy
    Andy says:

    The quality is awesome, its refreshing after all the poorly lit webcam videos with tinny audio on Youtube.

    The content is also great, at 25 I find myself leading small teams, most of those people I worked with previously. It’s an odd balance between managing them and still maintaining some of the friendship. Thanks Bruce!

  3. Rowan Manahan
    Rowan Manahan says:

    The greeks established a protocol within their military structure whereby if an individual was ‘promoted from the ranks’ to Officer level; he was taken away from his old unit and assigned to a new one. The thinking was obvious – it’s very difficult to command respect from people who knew you way back when you were all starting out.

    Unfortunately, this is not so simple in the corporate framework and many people have to do what Bruce so eloquently describes – become an effective manager without totally casting aside collegiate relationships. I well remember my manager telling me that management is a “lonely furrow that you plough alone” when I was first promoted, and I really did miss my old cronies as I could no longer confide in them the way I used to.

    Great piece, Looking forward to more.

  4. Ramit Sethi
    Ramit Sethi says:

    This is a great video–short and perfectly timed. There’s something about seeing a person in clear video that reasonates more than any article could.

  5. PunditMom
    PunditMom says:

    I like how he was able to pack so much information into such a short amount of time! Often, when I see a video attachment, I think, how long is this going to take?!

  6. Miriam
    Miriam says:

    Bruce is a good speaker, and he got across his information quickly and effectively. But – yes there’s a but – it seems to me that his method of asserting boss-hood is a good way to make sure friends quickly become un-friends. It’s very harsh and sarcastic, but even worse it is a method where you “outsmart” the other person, not only making them feel inferior, but also dumb.

    Maybe I’m naive, but I find that being nice and firm with workers, even those who were once co-workers, ensures that they know who is managing things. The situation Bruce describes has never come up, but if it would, I would probably say something like “Of course we’re friends. But I also have to make sure that our clients are happy/the business runs smoothly/we don’t waste money/etc., and I think that if we were to improve our [fill in the blanks], we would solve that problem.” By using “we” and “our”, we’re not being condescending, but the worker will hopefully understand that as an employee they also have to do what’s best for the business.

    Business may be business, but we don’t have to lose friends over it.

  7. Tom Morgan
    Tom Morgan says:


    You demonstrated great taste in sponsoring Bruce Tulgan as your 1st video blogger.

    Everything about this video makes you want to soak up his advice and use it.

    Bruce comes across as very friendly, believable and knowledgeable about his topic which fits perfectly with your online persona.

  8. Mikeachim
    Mikeachim says:

    I think the point he’s making (and making it well) seems to be that in a workplace you *can* be two things to people – a work peer and also an equal friend – but being the boss is the role that is played. It’s a mask, and either you wear it well or you wear it badly, but either way you’re still wearing it. People who pretend otherwise aren’t doing *their* jobs. Employees have clearly-defined roles and responsibilities too.

    I think if I’d been met with “Ding! And I’m the boss.” I would have felt a twinge of annoyance, and then tracked down the source being annoyance at myself. I also would have laughed out loud. :)
    Nice video.

  9. Tom
    Tom says:

    Penelope –

    I’m in agreement with Benjamin, Andy and the rest. The message was delivered clearly and concisely.

    And – best of all – it was a quality production. The video and audio were great. I’d love to see more of Bruce.

    …As long as he doesn’t “Ding!” us again. ;-)

  10. Chris
    Chris says:


    I’m not entirely sure by what is meant by “Hey, we’re not like the Baby Boomers.”

    It sounds like someone’s insinuation that everyone born between certain dates is the same. That is not true at all. I am of the so called Baby Boomer generation. I hate that title, by the way.

    My generation was/is very diverse. We cover the whole spectrum. I do not necessarily relate to or have much in common with folks just because our birth dates are within a few years of each other. Human interactions are more complicated than that.

    I would guess that you do not like being labeled and put into a box any more that I do.

    The date on a person’s birth certificate doesn’t define him or her. However, I think ageism is going to be one of the last ‘isms’ to die.

    * * * * * *

    , Chris. Thaks for bringing up a topic in the comments section that I actually hear a lot about from emails sent to me directly. That is, Baby Boomers at the tail end of the generation (which I’m assuming you are) hate the label. This is undertandable. However you should know that I get a lot of this mail from people at the tail end and never from any other portion of the Baby Boomer demographic. Just a point of interest.

    I, for one, have no problem being labeled as part of a generation (I’m an X-er). I love it, in fact. I find the generational stereotypes to be largely true and very informative when it comes to understanding how the workplace is actually functioning. Just becasue some people don’t fit the stereotype, doesn’t mean the stereotype is not true. I think, in fact, generational stereotypes are very useful for us to unerstand why we do what we do at work.


  11. Stuart
    Stuart says:


    No need to apologize for Bruce’s blog. The vidoe quality was excellent, it uploaded quickly and the most important point he was VERY relevant.

    The “ding” moment was right on the money!


  12. Caitlin
    Caitlin says:

    Hi Penelope, I’m just wondering why this post keeps getting republished? It keeps re-appearing in my RSS reader and it’s driving me a little crazy so I was just wondering if there was a reason for it? I don’t mean to be critical; I think your blog is great.

    * * * * * * *

    Oh. Thanks for letting me know, Caitlin. I wonder why more people haven’t complained. This is very bad. Fixing now….


  13. Gilli P
    Gilli P says:

    In every crowd, there is one malcontent you just cannot make happy. In this crowd, that appears to be me.

    I did not like this video at all. I thought he was snide and condescending. He wears a smirk to rival the one George W Bush sports. He flew right past the good advice (It’s about getting the job done) and tried to persuade his audience to be as supercilious as he is. (If I got an obnoxiously delivered “Ding, I’m the Boss” from a colleague and former friend making clear that we were not team members pursuing a common goal but in a master-slave relationship where he was getting off on flaunting his master status, I would start circulating my resume as soon as humanly possible.)

    Beyond that, blogs are a very personal publishing vehicle. Yours has a very distinct voice, which happens to be your voice. I would be very careful about bringing other people into your own blog because, good or not, they just aren’t going to be you, and so will dilute the voice.

    If you do bring guest bloggers in, I think you want to think very carefully about how they fit in next to you. To me, Bruce does the same kind of thing you do (presents the Gen X and younger viewpoint on the workplace as a writer and speaker) and doesn’t do the kind of things you don’t do (bring to bear lots of actual on the job experience in traditional bureaucratic organizations, thereby enriching the dialogue with the fruits of long experience). I would say that Bruce’s largely duplicative focus is not what you need, as most team building needs to be complementary rather than duplicative, but that’s just one malcontent’s opinion.

  14. Miriam
    Miriam says:

    I’m with Gilli P. As I said in my comment above, Bruce’s method is a great way to lose friends, and as Gilli points out, even employees. Gilli’s other points are good too. But as he said, we’re in the minority so you probably should listen to the feedback of the majority.

  15. Prashant
    Prashant says:

    It’s gone.. So have a couple of other video blog posts. Do you have a policy of not retaining these after a specific no of days?

  16. Jonha
    Jonha says:

    “Ding! I’m the boss!” haha, I think I’m gonna like his other videos. He looks very friendly and everything he said especially what you’re going to tell your friend when they insist you’re friends simply makes sense! haha

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