I first became interested in B.J. Novak from a recommendation for his audiobook of short stories, One More Thing. If you haven't read it or listened to it, you must. And if you're a calendar/diary person like me, here's a sneak peak that demonstrates just how darn clever he is.
In 2015, I finally caught up on the Office (hello, slow adopter) and could at last appreciate his genius and intellectual humor from multiple angles. Around the same time that the season 10 finale finally made it to my TV screen, Carolyn kept insisting that I listen to Tim Ferriss's 4 Hour Week podcast. She wouldn't let it go! Now, I understand why: they're really, really good.
But back to B.J.: she sold me when she teased me with: "He interviews B.J. Novak..." Okay, you win, Carolyn. In the interview were brilliant and practical tips on B.J.'s creative process, a new app he's launched, and lessons learned on the set of the Office, which I plan to use in the office, well, IRL.
When Tim asked B.J. what he wished his 30 year old self knew, here's how he responded:
"The whole time I was on the Office I thought: 'Well, this is my best shot at whatever I'd ever want to do, so I better not waste a second... I better do my big thing while I'm still on the Office.'
Now people ask me, 'What was it like!? Were you laughing all the time?'
Yeah... But I was so anxious, always trying to write some extra thing on the side that I never finished, never had time for, and I really didn't just enjoy this incredible once in a lifetime thing.
You know what? If you can do it, you can do it, and you're not really on someone else's schedule. Ever. Take as long as you want. If you're talented, you'll get their attention again.
I wish I had told myself back then:
'This is very, very special. Own it. Be in it. Enjoy it.'"