Tracy's blog

I’m Tracy Au and I have graduated from the Professional Writing program from university. I am an aspiring screenwriter, so this blog is used to promote my writing and attract people who will hire me to write for your TV show or movie. I write a lot about writing, TV, movies, jokes, and my daily life and opinions. I have another blog promoting my TV project at

Friday, May 6, 2016

"Memo to Brian Williams how to apologize"/ "What one dad would do differently if he could"

Sept. 7, 2015 "Memo to Brian Williams how to apologize": I cut out this article by Julian Barling in the Globe and Mail on Feb. 20, 2015.  I like this article because it's about damage control. It's also teaching people to be more sensitive and show empathy. 

This was in the business section, but I find that this could apply to other areas in your life.

Here's the whole article:

Yet again we have a public luminary, this time NBC’s Brian Williams, standing before us and ostensibly apologizing for “misremembering” critical details in a story that left him looking undeservedly heroic. True apologies have the power to restore the esteem in which we initially held the transgressor. Will Brian Williams’ apology be accepted? Only if it included the five dos and five don’ts that create an effective apology.

The five dos

Remorse. A true apology starts by saying “I am sorry.” All too often we hear executives lament that their apology was not accepted. In many cases they may have said they were sorry, but that was all. Saying you are sorry is simply the beginning of the apology, and should never be confused with the apology itself.

Take responsibility. Taking responsibility for our mistakes and failures is not easy; we much prefer owning up to whatever goes well. Now is the moment to unambiguously take responsibility for your actions and own up to the transgression. Is this not precisely what you want to hear from them when they make mistakes?

Empathy. Followers need to know that you realize how you have let them down; they want to hear you say “I know I hurt you when …” – and you cannot afford to get it wrong. If you are not sure exactly what it is that you did wrong, ask them. This is a great time to start a conversation and show your vulnerability.

Restoration. So what are you going to do to correct the situation? If you embarrassed or humiliated a follower in front of clients through intemperate remarks, tell the clients that you were in the wrong, perhaps in front of the wronged employee. If your mistake meant that employees had to work overtime and kept them from their families, a gesture such as a dinner voucher for the family may go a long way. But remember that the restoration must be in the same realm as the transgression: Dinner vouchers do nothing to undo humiliation.

Plan of action. End your apology by clearly laying out the practical steps you are going to take to try and make sure it never happens again. Then take them. Reinforce your humility by showing you know you are fallible.

The five don’ts

Don’t Ramble. The best apologies are delivered in 60 seconds or less; this really is an instance of less is more. Be absolutely clear what you are going to say before you start; plan the apology. Think what it is that you want them to remember. Roleplay the interaction beforehand. You only get one chance to apologize. You cannot expect to successfully apologize for your apology.

Don’t be conditional. How often do we hear apologies open with “If I have offended anyone….” What this really says is “I don’t think I did anything wrong, but if you were offended …”. Don’t imply that other people reacted unreasonably. You did offend. Own up to it.

Don’t explain. What do most good people want to do after transgressing? They want to explain how it occurred in the first place. But explanations following apologies, or worse, without apologies, are seen as excuses (for example Mr. Williams’ comment that he “conflated” events in his mind) and destroy any possibility that the apology will be effective. This is not to say that explanations are never appropriate, as they can provide opportunities for learning. But this is not the time to enhance their understanding; this is your chance to show them what you have learned.

Don’t ask for forgiveness. And what do really good people want to do after apologizing? They want to ask for forgiveness. Yet doing so will probably destroy any benefits from the apology. Why? Because an apology is all about addressing your followers’ feelings, and displaying the humility that characterizes high-quality leadership. In contrast, asking for their forgiveness makes your followers responsible for your feelings, and what could be more self-serving and egotistical? Don’t make it less likely that they will forgive you by asking for forgiveness.

Don’t apologize if you can’t live up to the apology. If you do choose to apologize, you must accept that you are inviting greater scrutiny of all your actions. After apologizing for the safety issues in Toyota in 2010, CEO and president Akio Toyoda immediately left the press conference – in a black Audi. After an apology, you will be judged by your behaviour, not your words. The larger the gap between words and deeds, the more likely you are to find the word “hypocrite” enter the conversation.

Does following all these steps guarantee that the apology will be accepted? Or in this case, can it guarantee Brian Williams will retain his job? Sadly not; there are many factors that contribute to the decision to forgive, such as the quality of the relationship prior to the transgression. But a true apology, sincerely offered, reminds others of your courage and humility, and helps them be willing to forgive.

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"What one dad would do differently if he could": I cut out this article by Harvey Schachter in the Globe and Mail on Feb. 20, 2015.  This about work-life balance and parenting:
Over all, Ron Edmondson is happy with the way his kids turned out. But in that delicate balance of raising kids properly while pursuing a career, the senior pastor at Lexington, Ky.’s Immanuel Baptist Church has identified a number of things he wished he had done better.

When the avid blogger first posted his thoughts online, his two sons, aged 23 and 26, wrote to say that he was too self-critical and had done a fine parenting job. But he still feels that he – and others, including those he counsels on family issues – can learn from his mistakes. Indeed, he has added one more failing to the original five he identified.

It starts by wishing he had controlled his children more at an early age.
He feels we make a terrible mistake by giving them too much licence when they’re very young and then, often in desperation, trying to rein them in and control them as they get older. “We want to give children freedom and let them be free thinkers, which is wonderful. But sometimes we start too early. A three-year-old is not prepared to make wise decisions and needs the parent’s guidance,” he said in an interview.

Don’t think you allow inordinate freedom at such an early age? He sees it every Sunday in the congregation, when youngsters who could be benefiting from his church’s excellent programs for children are allowed to sit with their parents in the sanctuary, where they fidget and pay little attention to the service. Or think about restaurants, where you see parents allowing young children to eat inappropriate foods.

“You can make a three-year-old do what you want,” he said, stressing he knows that some people object to such rigour. “But it’s not cruelty. You are training the child for when they are older and they will have to do things.”

As your children get older, you want to control less and influence more. You hope that in their teenage years and later, they will have enough respect for your opinions – and will have inculcated the proper values – so they can be swayed in the right direction. But when parents fail to control at an early age, they fail to set the roots for influencing the youngsters later on, he believes.

“If you give them everything they want when they’re three, it’s hard to change that when they start liking cars and bigger toys. You need to instill early on that they can’t get everything they want,” he said.

This doesn’t mean imprisoning children. You need to pick your spots – the big stuff. If they prefer green beans over spinach, fine. But control the amount of time they watch television and whether they attend religious observations – shape their values.

If he could get a parenting do-over, he would limit outside interruptions so the family had more time together. Often those interruptions were meant to please the children, such as what those in his area call “travel ball,” in which the better athletes travel every weekend for high-end competition to develop their skills.

“We are so busy as a society, we need to carve out time just to be a family,” he said. More to the point, often these interruptions are shaping values – children learn from other families on those travel ball outings, rather than their own parents. His children countered after his blog post that they had lots of family time. “But we could have had more,” he noted.

He also wishes he had made more of his own time available to his children. “My personal time. My play time. And, my work time. I’m not saying that would be popular with my friends or even with my work – but I would be more concerned with my influence on my kids than what other people think,” he wrote.

He wishes he had planned their weeks around church. Given that he’s a pastor, he recognizes that sounds self-serving. But he counters that he has never met a family that was sorry they centred their lives around the church. The values the children will pick up are the ones you prefer. However, he stresses that if you feel the children should be involved in some activity of the church that discomfits them, usually there is an alternative within the church – so, on that score, give somewhat to keep them linked to your religious institution.

If he could replay his children’s lives, he would try to be less upset about minor annoyances. In the big scheme of things, squeezing the toothpaste from the middle or waiting to go to the bathroom at the most inopportune time is not worth the furor it sometimes caused. “If everything is a big deal, it’s hard for kids to discern what is a big deal,” he said. “It’s important to remember what is important.” Still, remind them to pick their clothes off the floor.

Finally, he believes that in an age of social media, it’s important when you’re home to be home – together. Take a disciplined approach to unplugging from devices, having family discussions rather than sitting in the same room with everyone on a different electronic device.

None of that is earth-shattering. But bringing up kids requires a delicate balance, and how he would replay his time may give you some thoughts for the story you are shaping.

Feb. 20, 2016 My opinion: This is to add to the apology article.  I was at a Meetup and here's a joke.  Guy #2 is an office worker for an oil company.

Guy: So how much is oil now?  $5 a barrel?
Guy #2: That is not even funny.

I would never make a joke about oil.  I have been reading the business section of the newspapers of the Edmonton Journal and the Globe and Mail.  It is sad that Alberta is in a recession.

Also I learned that one of my friends who is an office worker, he got laid off a couple of months ago because his big clients were oil companies.  At least he's getting EI.

May. 2, 2016 Virtual friendships: Most of my friendships are virtual.  It's often on the internet.  I don't and most of my friends don't have time to see me.  I'm sure all of you can relate.

I added a couple of Facebook friends on last week.  A co-worker, and a friend of a friend who I met a few times.

Apr. 25, 2016 Joke:  I wished Vlad a happy birthday.  Then I saw a picture of Vlad with his shirt off and his back to the camera.

Tracy: I like this pic. You should put this on your online dating profile if you have one.
Vlad:Haha for sure I will keep that in mind

Apr. 26, 2016:

Tracy: This should be titled "Sexyback."
Vlad "liked" it.

May. 2, 2016 Resume: Last weekend I printed out my resume for my co-workers at my first restaurant job to look at.  They gave me some good tips like for my administrative assistant resume.  Two of them told me to remove the sales associate and cashier position from my resume because it's not relevant.

I will only put those jobs if it's for my customer service representative resume.

They told me I should have other versions of resumes for other jobs.  I have lots of resumes for different positions.  

Today I finally turned on my old 2004 computer to edit my resumes.  I usually use the new computer I got a couple of yrs ago, but it doesn't have Microsoft Word.  I feel kind of energized now that I got some resume help.

May. 5, 2016 Sick: Yesterday and today I stayed at home from work at my 2nd restaurant job because I was sick.  I didn't drink any coffee yesterday and today so I can rest easier.  The 2nd restaurant job isn't busy.

I have to prepare for the Mother's Day weekend at my 1st restaurant job because it's so busy.

I remember back in Dec. 2014, I was sick.  I missed 1 day of work, and then I went in the next day.  Then I missed another day of work.  That's why I decided to have 2 days off to make sure I am mostly well.

Red If you want to help the people at Fort McMurray, donate to and the government will match it.

50 Cent charity news: I found this through Facebook:

"I want to turn this misunderstanding into an understanding," he said in a statement sent to Billboard on Thursday (May 5). "There are people that are ignored, mistreated and neglected with disabilities that need our support. Today, I have made a donation of $100,000 to this worthy cause through Autism Speaks." In the Instagram clip that has since been deleted, the MC (real name Curtis Jackson) suggests that the airport employee, Andrew Farrell -- who suffers from autism, Asperger's Syndrome and severe hearing loss -- is "high."

May 6, 2016: I have been emailing one of my friends and she has said she's not really interested in those job articles.  I have a feeling none of you would be interested in reading what it's like to be a big data analyst and a SEO specialist or internet marketer.  I'm sure some of you guys are like: "Yeah, that doesn't sound interesting."

TV: I will go to work today because I have improved my health.  Also I'm kind of bored being at home.  I mentioned this before with The Simpsons where Homer breaks his leg and then opens his own daycare:

Homer: What do you expect me to do?  Sit on my ass and watch TV all day?  That ain't my style!

I have also been reading the newspaper and rereading my teen magazines before I donate them.


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