I have an office Gremlin

Creativity, Entrepreneur Life




I have an office Gremlin

Her name is Fifinella and she’s basically my own personal Jiminy Cricket.

You’re thinking I’m off my rocker, but hear me out.

Fifinella and I have been together since 2005, but she’s only recently revealed herself to me, in the past couple years.

Fifi, for short, is not a figment of my imagination but rather, a physical presence that guides me.

Now you’re thinking I’ve REALLY lost it.

If you’ve seen the movie Gremlins, you’re probably wondering how this could ever be a good thing.

She doesn’t wreak havoc or make noise in the night. She sits on my desk and stares at me, with her hands on her hips like the sass queen she is.

Some days I sit at my desk and have no idea where to start. I had one of those days almost everyday last week. I know I have to do something, but I was overwhelmed and on the verge of closing my computer altogether.

That’s when I made eye contact with Fifi. It was like she reminded me of the day we met, and it suddenly clicked. I know exactly what I’m doing today, tomorrow, next week, you get the point.

Let’s time travel, shall we?

(A favorite hobby of mine)

The year is 2005. The day is Tuesday. (Let’s pretend)

Fifth grade Kate is sitting at her desk in her bedroom “playing” on an old clunky desktop with a not-so-great DSL connection. Most kids her age would be playing a game on a CD-ROM or be outside (Heaven forbid) but not Kate.

There she was Googling “1940s vintage advertisements.”


This is 100% factual. I once took a Buzzfeed quiz that said my soul is 100+ years old.

I was googling vintage ads FOR FUN.

Notable favorites: Coty cosmetics. Ponds cold cream. Coca-Cola. War Bonds ads. Lyon Whitewall tires.

Back to Fifi.

My favorite ad I found that day: 1943 Gremlin Chasers. The small Disney characters were attempting to outrun Lifesaver candy. It was cute, it was colorful, it was creative.

Those three adjectives were just about the only commonality I shared with other fifth grader’s playtime activities.

And like most 11 year olds, I spent the rest of that day PRINTING these vintage ads and decoupaging them onto a breakfast (or work-from-bed) tray I still use to this day.

Fifi is prominently displayed as one of the gremlins that seems to have escaped the Lifesaver gone rogue.

This tray and all of the ads that I printed but didn’t make the cut, have been to 2 childhood homes, 3 college living situations, and my current residence. All in the very same folder from 2005.

Fifi in the flesh

Okay, plush. She’s a stuffed gremlin.

I was in Pennsylvania, in 1943-ish. I was dressed in someone’s grandmother’s authentic vintage day dress. The gals and I were done up head to toe selling our pinup calendars at a very cold January WWII reenacting event.

Side note: Where do you think my red lipstick, classic woman muse stemmed from?  Those 40s ads I googled in 2005.

When it was my turn to shop the memorabilia, I made a beeline for Fifinella.

I was that grown woman purchasing a stuffed Gremlin from a 1943 ad.

“It’s her!” I’m pretty sure I even said it out loud. I hadn’t seen her since the last time I did my college homework on my work-from-bed tray.

What Fifi has taught me

She’s taught me that growing up doesn’t mean growing out of things you once loved.

What do you find yourself doing when you should be doing other things?

What are your passions/interests/hobbies/things you have LOVED your entire life?

Do you really think I just stumbled upon marketing and advertising and thought “I guess I could like this alright.” No. This has been an interest of mine since 2005. When other kids were playing outside or whatever they did, I was developing what would later become such an integral part of my personal brand–and even later– my own business.

Sitting on my desk, Fifi reminds me that my passions are in alignment with what I’m doing. She reminds me that even when other “gremlins” get in my way, I still have the drive to keep going.

She reminds me to stay as curious as fifth grade Kate. Learn new things. Develop strong brands. Craft your career around what makes you happy and you’ll truly never work a day in your life.

What’s your office gremlin?

kate pannell
brand & biz coach, marketing strategist, rockstar's wife & manx cat mom.

How would it feel to know you never needed a backup plan? How much happier would you be knowing you could take a guilt-free Target run whenever you wanted, or buy your friends and family "just because" gifts? Imagine turning your talents into consistent paychecks and a fulfilling, sustainable, life-long career.

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Color Me Kate is not your mother's marketing + creative co. My 1:1 coaching program is built to prepare your brand for scalability & sustainability. I've combined the power of personal brand development, color-curated marketing strategy, and business organization to make your biz fail-proof.

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