Letterkenny Lessons: How a TV Show Improved my IT Interactions

One of the few good things about the pandemic has been catching up on TV shows. My wife and I decided to watch a nonsensical TV show called Letterkenny. As silly and entertaining as the show is, I started to realize there were some really good social constructs in the show. I’ve found myself over the last year working many of these constructs into my day-to-day life as an EUC architect.

I would have never thought that these ideas would work for me or that I would have an improved quality of life. Yet, here we are! I’m going to cover a few of the concepts from this show and how they can make things better for you. Work-life balance has been one of my biggest struggles, but thanks to this show I have been forced to re-evaluate. So as they say “Pitter Patter”

Pitter Patter

Sure, the term itself sounds silly right? Pitter Patter essentially means let’s get a move on!

Get Going Lets Go GIF

The idea behind pitter patter and how we can apply it in IT is to stop dilly-dallying and get moving. I’ve worked in places where they were so obsessed with coffee breaks and really struggled to get started. Sometimes we can all use a reminder that it’s time to get moving on our day.

Many of us need a reminder that it’s time to get moving and get stuff done. A lazy approach can really hurt us overall. It’s so important to get a good start to our day so we can set ourselves up for success for the rest of the day. People often ask me how I am so efficient outside of the fact that I have ADHD. A major part of that is that I start strong and have laser focus on what needs to be done that day.

Not My Pig, Not My Farm

More famously, I call this “not my cow not my farm” as it’s a tiny bit less offensive. Top performers, in which there are not a ton, but those top performers have a bit of a savior complex. I’m as guilty of that as anyone. I was the product of a single mother and I always was obsessed with making others happy.

season 3 GIF by CraveTV

The idea behind the amazing quote in Letterkenny is that sometimes you need to draw the line. It’s okay to clearly say “that’s not my area” or “that’s outside of scope.” The idea is that you can say no without saying no. One of the biggest mistakes people in IT make is turning into “Agents of No”, which just blows up in your face.

Setting clear boundaries and offering to help is one thing, but sometimes you just have to say “Not my Pig, Not My Farm.” I’ve taught my team about this a ton because in the UEM world people expect you to do everything. Sometimes you just need to tell those app teams that they need to do their part! Remember, you cannot save every one from everything!

Be Efficient

One of my favorite ideas, which isn’t really rocket science is being efficient. People are often many things, but if we can be one thing we should be efficient. It would appear that Wayne is on to something there!

three wise men christmas GIF by Crave

I would turn this statement around in my IT life and say what are the things that I shouldn’t be? We should really focus more on being less of these things:

  • Gossipy
  • Complex
  • Arrogant
  • Selfish
  • Lazy
  • Wordy

The idea around being efficient is to just get to the point and get stuff done. Sometimes in IT people like to make stuff overly complicated so they look smart. Being efficient is delivering the art of the possible with simplicity and elegance.

Appreciates About You

Dan and Katy often have this wonderful back and worth where Dan loves to say “That’s what I appreciates about you.” Sure it’s a bit creepy, but it brings up a wonderful idea that has improved my interactions with others.

hqg GIF

We should spend more time showing appreciation and valuing others. Morale is such a problem in our COVID IT world with many people being displaced and overall happiness at an all-time low. It costs you absolutely nothing to spend a few minutes to tell the others around you about how they have made your life better.

We live in a world with so many weak managers who do not appreciate their employees or help develop them. As a peer, you could improve the emotional well-being of those around you by just being decent.

Too Much Fun

Let’s turn in a different direction. One of the areas that people like me with ADHD struggle with is our filter. When people are being ridiculous or do something stupid, we “may” lash out every now and then. It’s involuntary, but it does happen. Enter a really fun idea: “Too Much Fun”.

Letterkenny GIF by Crave

Wayne uses the sentence “Too Much Fun” as another form of “Oh you have got to be kidding me.” or “This Sucks.” The idea around this concept is when you say “Too Much Fun” you are actually really irritated with them, but they don’t realize it.

I’ve been using this one more and more lately when people pull me into meetings and are being lazy/trying to make me do their jobs for them. It’s a way for me to let out a bit of my frustration, but no one except me realizes it. Sure, it would be better to be “the better person”, but sometimes we need to let out a bit of steam. I’m a huge supporter of the idea. Just because people are ridiculous or have zero boundaries, it doesn’t mean you need to make them feel bad about it.

To Be Fair

LetterKenny mocks certain phrases that are a bit narcissistic or superior for lack of a better word. One of those is “to be fair” which is such a ridiculous term really.

to be fair GIF

The life lesson I get from “to be fair” is that less is more. As I mentioned earlier, we get it you are in IT now GET OVER IT. Yes IT is so hard how do you possibly do it with all of these plebeians around you?! People in technology really need to get over this whole superiority. You get way more respect showing people how you can bring their ideas to life without trying to “one-up” them or “bad dog” them.

It’s completely unnecessary to show people up. I remember attending many Architecture Review Board meetings over the years where people were obsessed with using technologies that are fancy just because. Look, not everything needs Web Sockets. You don’t need to put everything on Kubernetes. We get it, you’re fancy now move on! There is something to be said for delivering solutions people actually understand.

Big Shoots

Big Shoots translates to someone who is just trying way too hard. Sometimes you need to tell people to reign it in.

See the source image

Sure, I’m as guilty of this as anyone else. It’s completely acceptable to tell your peers that they are a little over the top right now and could reign it in a little bit. You typically have two types of people: (1) people who get so excited about technology that they let things get a little out of hand and (2) people who suffer from an inferiority complex and try to compensate.

Sometimes you just need to quietly tell your peers to settle down and reign it back in. I see this in presentations all of the time. Look, us IT people are excitable. It’s okay to try to bring the train back onto the tracks before it crashes. People sometimes need to be reminded to come back down to earth.

More Hands Means Less Work

The final phrase that I will bring up is a more obvious one. Don’t try to do everything yourself. IT is often a world of martyrdom where we try so hard to be relevant. The best mentor I ever had taught me one thing: “Its not about what you do but how you do it.”

Letterkenny GIF by Crave

Wayne’s obviously saying the more people that help the faster you will finish. There is also a fine line there. Every situation doesn’t need to be teenagers going to the bathroom together. Teamwork is great, but we should always exercise good judgment. Sometimes we should work together, but certain tasks are solo tasks.

The concept of Yin and Yang is not a new one. It’s important to have the right mix to further your own development and meet your team goals. It can often be a difficult lesson to learn, but it is an important one.

Final Thoughts

Some people might thing this is silly. As I wrote awhile back in my ADHD article, we all need help and technology is only one slice of the pie in our careers. Sometimes we need to find coping mechanisms and ways to manage our interactions with others. All of you need to find something that works for you.

Everything comes down to self-awareness. You should have an honest conversation with yourself about where your gaps are and flip them on their head to level yourself up in your IT career. I found a way to make this beautiful show make me think about how I could improve. We all need something, but taking the first step is often hard.

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