No one on 30 Rock was particularly good at their job (sorry, Liz), but no one was better at wasting time and avoiding responsibility than Tracy Jordan. While he had the comedic talent to still be an essential member of the TGS team, Tracy was the king of finding an excuse to avoid working in the name of being himself, whether it was just a day to celebrate his iguana’s birthday or hiding out in Liz’s apartment for months pretending to be in Africa. No specific country. Just the general area of Africa.
While you probably don’t have the star power to pull the kind of goof off moves that Tracy mastered, you may still find yourself in a stressful moment when you just need a break from the burden of being who you’re supposed to be all the damn time. Which is to say, a break from being responsible, polite, and/or conventional. And if you decide that you want to let the true you out into the wild, channel your inner Tracy Jordan and live your life how YOU want.
(Disclaimer: I am not legally responsible if this behavior gets you fired. Sorry. You didn’t star in Funky Grandma Be Trippin’. There’s a certain amount of latitude that that gets you.)
“What is this? Horseville? Because I am surrounded by naysayers!”
Liz Lemon (Tina Fey) was always there to rein in Tracy’s amazing (terrible) ideas at 30 Rock, and it’s pretty likely that you have people in your life that provide the same service (whether they like it or not). If you push hard to make Thirsty Thursdays a thing, someone is probably going to step in. But while that’s their job, yours is to put them in their place with a little word play and then do it anyway.
“I’m gonna take a nap. See you in ten hours.”
One of the craziest things about having a job is that people actually expect you to get things done. I know! However, your priorities may not always align. Like when you have a plan of action for your Very Important Nap Schedule™.
Tracy never beat around the bush with his habits, and somehow TGS made it work. Maybe you should be up front with your needs, as well. If people have a problem with your napping or your definition of “needs,” that’s really on them.
“Uh oh, emotions.”
Part of the integration process into a traditional workplace is building some sort of familial bond with your coworkers. Despite his own frequent emotional outbursts and crying jags, Tracy tended to stay out of his coworker’s emotional orbits. Call it selfishness or call it self-preservation (it was definitely selfishness), but Tracy made sure that he was not the one people would call on when they needed advice or a shoulder to cry on. If you’re not a hugger or a carer, don’t feel the societal pressure to relent and sign that “Get Well” card. In the end, your indifference will free everyone else from the burden of signing your “Get Well” card (should you need one), make everyone maybe just a little bit more truthful. It’s the circle of life!
“I can’t change. I’m like a chameleon: always a lizard!”
With each new job you get, developing new skills is essential and inevitable. Unless you’re Tracy Jordan. Turning on the charm on camera and causing problems backstage is all he knows and all he wanted to know. You can lead Tracy to common sense, but you can’t make him take off his suit made of money. If you’re not ready for more responsibility, just keep things at your base level of effort at work. You definitely won’t get that promotion, but who needs the hassle when there are dirty video games to be designed in your spare time?
“Thanks, Jack, for coming to this emergency meeting. I’m sorry I’m four hours late, but my alarm clock didn’t go off because it died in a cock fight last night.”
Tracy’s entire persona was built around “I am a Jedi!” outbursts and extravagant trips to strip clubs (and that one night at Benihana). All of this kept up a fair bit of mystique while distracting from the fact that he actually loved his family and wasn’t a bad guy. If you want to keep people off balance when it comes to your priorities and you don’t want to deny your urge to make it weird and say whatever silliness crosses your brain pan, take a page from Tracy and pepper your interactions with utter nonsense. Most people will let it go by for fear that they heard you wrong and the others will simply steer clear of you. Remember, no one ever calls on the office weirdo for help.
“I yelled ‘bababooey’ at Walter Cronkite’s funeral, so I actually have no idea of what’s rude or not.”
Now this one is particularly tricky to master. Too rude and you’ll risk the ire of Susan from HR (Which, honestly, should have been brought down on Tracy more often). However, bringing a little Essence Of You to the job will help you keep your mind free from the corporate drone monotony. Don’t be afraid to be you and present an authentic (albeit a little odd) image to your coworkers. Just remember that you probably don’t have an entourage, so you don’t have Grizz and Dot Com to hold you back from going so far that others plot against you. Like with poison, not mean email threads.
“I once saw a baby give another baby a tattoo!”
Last but not least, the true nature of who you are is often best explained by your origin story. If you’re going to pull back the drapes and let people see what your brain looks like when it dances like nobody is watching, you may as well stop pretending that you had a normal childhood that wasn’t filled with baby tats.