I have a friend who likes to say that “we are all frauds”. Not quite as catchy as “I have a dream“, or “only you can prevent forest fires“, maybe.. but true just the same.
At least it is for me, anyway.
You see, not too long ago, I found the idea of wearing a suit and talking about serious things all day to be downright depressing. I was a smart-assed youngest child who was prone to saying awkward and inappropriate things all the time- who was ever going to take me seriously? Plus, why would I want to sit around talking about mergers all day when I could be watching cat videos instead?
Good question. I still haven’t figured that one out yet.. but what I have figured out, is that sometimes it’s not actually about being something- it’s about playing the part. Simply put: you gotta fake it till you make it.
I’ve spent about two years now drinking the corporate kool-aid, and in that time, I’ve learned that it’s easy to trick people into taking you seriously.. you just have to follow these 5 simple steps:
1. Wear a blazer. It doesn’t matter what you have on underneath, or even what you’re doing while in it- it’s a scientific fact that anyone wearing a blazer is immediately perceived as being serious and responsible. Don’t believe me? Check out these examples:
2. Speak in Nothing but corporate buzzwords.
E.g. “Let’s circle-up later”…. “Why don’t you run that issue up the flagpole?” “I’ve got a few things coming down the pipeline“.
Barraging others with endless figurative phrases will not only make you sound clever, it will also just confuse people so much that they’ll think you’re so important, you’ve invented your own language.
3. Talk about stocks and/or the stock market: Here’s the beauty of this one: you don’t actually have to know things. You just have to repeat them. Simply peruse Bloomberg, MorningStar, or the WallStreet journal online for a few minutes, and then drop things you’ve read into conversations at random intervals. Start throwing terms like “basis points”, “Yield” and “NAV” around, and I guarantee everyone around you will be like:
You can also keep it simple by just talking about the stock markets in general. Luckily, since the markets are always changing, this can be achieved through the use of various ambiguous terms and phrases. For example: “Man, the markets are funny today!”… or: “Isn’t that TSX something!” Once you’ve mastered this, its best to talk about the markets at all times, even when it’s completely irrelevant. Ex:
Coworker: “hey BreezyK, how’s it going?”
Breezyk: “How’s it going? How’s it going is that the markets are SHIT today. That’s how its going”.
Sometimes I even just walk down the halls yelling “buy sell!! buy sell!” at random intervals. aaand thats why everyone I work with hates me.
4. Keep a messy office. Nothing says “I’m busy and important” like a desk littered with Venti Starbucks cups, piles of paper and empty take-out containers. Come to think of it, though, it probably also says “hey, I hate the environment!” .. so if you work for Al Gore and/or David Suzuki.. maybe sit this one out.
5. Obsessively check your blackberry at all times.. especially during meetings. Everyone else might be able to put their phones away and pay attention for an hour-long meeting, but not you. You, my friend, are special. Not only special- but important. Too important to let even one minute go by without investigating the source of that blinking red light. And that’s ok – last time I checked, being considerate didn’t pay the bills. Or at least it didn’t get you one of those $5 million Goldman Sachs bonuses, anyway. BONUS: setting your phone to “vibrate” rather than “silent”, or rushing out in the middle of a meeting declaring “… Sorry, I just gotta take this”.
So there you have it, folks! Follow these tips and I guarantee you’ll be making partner before your ass can say “class-action.” And if not… well then, all the more time for cat videos.
Question of the Day: What are your tips for succeeding in business?
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