Awesome F**king Career Advice From a Hot-Headed Russian

The story of a potty-mouthed immigrant (with no formal training in her “area of expertise”) who managed to stay over-employed and insanely happy for nearly two decades.

So, I have this “friend.” Let’s call her “Martha”.

Martha is what you might call a “hot-headed Russian” on account of being born in the former Soviet Union to a pair of really young, hot-headed Russian parents.

Martha was an Early Bloomer. She started driving when she was 9; lost her virginity at 14; was divorced at 25.

Over the past twenty years, Martha has worked for seven different companies, helped birth three well-known brands, raised over $100 Million in venture funding, produced at least one global marketing conference — and at least three videos featuring potty-mouthed unicorns.

She’s also run two successful businesses of her own and has created some of the most talked-about, most imitated content on the planet. (The CEO of her last company literally turned her name into a verb.)

Despite all of these successes, Martha has also been laid off five times.

Martha can rock a mustache like nobody else.

How has “Martha” managed to remain happily over-employed for nearly two decades —and look good in a mustache—in spite of being a hot-headed Russian woman with no formal training in her field and a potty mouth that could make a sailor blush?

Here’s her answer — boiled down to three simple things.


Martha has no tolerance for B.S.

She hates small talk and “chit chat” and all that other pointless stuff that happens at networking events and cocktail parties.

In fact, she hates networking events and cocktail parties (though the free drinks are kinda nice).

“We are swimming in a sea of bullshit.”

Phrases like “skin in the game,” “circle back with you” and “on your radar” are being excreted all over corporate hallways with more volume than a pregnant cow on laxatives.

Those overused, meaningless words are vomited onto resumes, corporate websites, presentations, and emails 24/7. Words like “leverage” and “synergy” and “world-class” and of course, “innovative”.

“You know what would be innovative? If you could describe what you do and why people should give a shit in 5 words or less.”

Martha is well aware that her prolific use of four-letter words is offensive and off-putting to those of you with weak stomachs and virgin ears—but at least she gets to the fucking point. Fast.

photo credit:

So here’s Martha’s first piece of advice:

“Stop ‘leveraging’ other people’s words and ideas and come up with something simple, bold, and remarkable of your own.”

Spare us the multi-syllabic magic show and get to the fucking point. Okay?

Please and thank you.


Conventional wisdom is total bullshit (according to Martha).

It’s the lowest common denominator of thought; the express-train to mediocrity.

We live in a time where everybody is “unique” and “special” and every business claims to be “innovative” and “leading-edge.” By definition, anything “conventional” won’t help you to stand out in a sea of 7 Billion humans.

Yet each of us IS in fact unique.

99.99% of our genetic material may be exactly the same, but we still have our own fingerprints. The trick is to invest in uncovering, nurturing, and sharing what’s unique about YOU.
illustration by Sebastien Millon. Get a print here:
“If you are a foul-mouthed, hot-headed Russian, than goddammit, be the BEST, MOST FOUL-MOUTHED, HOTTEST-HEADED one there is!”

In Martha’s view, following the Herd of Conventional Wisdom feels safer, but it won’t bring you more success. Nor happiness.

So take her advice: Cultivate your own inner wisdom.

And tell the “conventional” stuff to go fuck itself.

She said it, not me.


When she was 18 years old, Martha got her first tattoo—a heart with her then-boyfriend’s initials inside of it.

The large, colorful man who gave Martha that tattoo warned her, just before the needle touched her skin, that “the minute these initials are on your body, you’re going to break up. You’ll regret this forever.”

At the tender age of 18, Martha was not about to take advice from some dude in a tattoo parlor named Tramp. So, there.

Tramp was right, of course.

Martha and her then-boyfriend did break up. Twenty-four hours later, she had the initials turned into a wreath of flowers encircling the heart.

But she never regretted getting that tattoo. Nor the other five that she’s gotten since then.

In fact, she’s always a little confused when someone tells her they won’t get a tattoo because they’re afraid that one day they’ll hate whatever it is and regret making such a “permanent” decision.

“Martha” showing off several of her tattoos.
“I see a similar pattern play out in people’s professional lives. We let fear of the unknown future or regret of the unpleasant past alter our choices and hold us back from living our dreams. We slap on the golden handcuffs and ignore that inner voice that’s begging us to GET OUT before it’s too late or JUMP IN before everybody else does.

Naturally, Martha says, FUCK THAT!

The only mistakes you should be regretting is the ones that you never make. Mistakes are the most valuable way to learn something.

Love them like they’re your own children.

Get dirty. Get bruised. Dare to “fail greatly”.

In fact, you know what? That would make a fucking great tattoo!

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