House of Cards and the Business of Business

I’ll freely admit to being a House of Cards addict. I’m one of the flock, simultaneously fascinated and horrified by the Underwoods and their compatriots episode after episode (oh, has it been 6 hours? Oops). The writing is beautiful, the plots viciously delicious, and the wardrobes fantastic. Thanks to Claire, I almost wish I had a job that required pencil skirts and blouses … almost.

But aside from making me wish I could afford a good tailor, I think House of Cards has a thing or two to teach us, too. Because really, it’s all about business. The business of politics, in this case, but business nonetheless. So, here is what I’ve learned from Frank Underwood and co.:

1. Know your goals, and be patient about reaching them.
I’m only 24, so it isn’t exactly like I have my entire life’s purpose figured out. But I know where I want to go next, and sometimes the next step is all you need – just enough to keep moving forward. Knowing what you want is more powerful than you think, and having the guts to go after it is even better. Just don’t expect the world to fall at your feet because you uttered the words. Like Frank, we all have to pay our dues, and sometimes there will be bumps in the road. It’s whether you treat them like misfortunes or new opportunities that makes the difference.

2. Maintain Control
We’ve all been in situations at work that have made us want to scream and cry and stamp our feet. The key is: Don’t. Frank was pretty heavily screwed over more than once, but he didn’t let it ruffle his feathers, at least not outwardly. Respect is earned in the professional world, not freely given, and the best way to earn respect is to behave as though you deserve it. Maintaining control and an even keel is crucial, even if you don’t “feel” like it. And, frankly, it just makes the workplace a more pleasant place.

3. Watch Yourself
Odds are, you aren’t involved in any catastrophic scandal. Probably. But watching yourself and your actions is always a good idea. Feeling the urge to shoot off that snarky email? Don’t do it. Feeling the need to gossip to one coworker about another? Ah ah ah. Keep your hands clean, as they say, and you’ll never have a reason to hide them. Just think of all the stress Frank adds to his life with everything he needs to keep covered up – and that’s with the added help of henchmen.

4. Dress for Success
Because Frank’s suits are fantastic, and Claire’s dresses are impeccable. You know what they say – dress for the job you want. 

5. Every so often, look directly at someone and provide clever, pithy narration for the situation in which you’re currently entangled.

…. No? Don’t do that? It’s weird? Oh, okay. That explains a lot of looks people have been giving me lately.

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