4 simple tips for a successful career

This is it! Your first day of work. Soon, you’ll be the boss of this place. You’re a go-getter! You’re a jet-setter! There’s no one better!

Except, you’re none of those things. You’ve cheated your way through the job interview by simply quoting passages from Glengarry Glen Ross and Jerry Maguire. Your CV is just a printout of the first image that came up after you typed “Successful people CV how it looks need asap today lol” into Google.

Oh God, you’re a fraud! In a matter of days, they’ll uncover your clever ruse and find out that you don’t even know what a “Harvard” or a “university” is.

Don’t worry, I’m here to help. Following these simple tips for a successful career will help even a complete amateur like you climb the career ladder, one sham at time.

Successful career tip #1: Always wear a suit

It’s age-old wisdom that no person has built a successful career while being suit-less. From fictional characters like Frank Underwood to real people like Barney Stinson, every stellar career begins with a tailor-made suit.

Name a single person alive today who is both successful and ever seen in public without a suit on? Donald Trump wears suits, and he can afford to have live dancers performing at his political rallies. Mark Zuckerberg wears ugly jeans and T-shirts, and he’s achieved nothing. You probably haven’t even heard his name until just now.

Plus, there’s a law out there that says you can’t fire anyone wearing a suit. Probably.

So go out and buy yourself a couple of suits. When you show up to your first day of work as a Florida lifeguard in an impeccable Armani suit, your colleagues will instantly know you’re destined for greatness.

Successful career tip #2: Master the business lingo

What separates CEOs and other types of EOs from losers who think their work speaks for itself is the ability to sound important. For that, you only need a couple of phrases. The trick is to always use more and complexier words than you actually need.

Where a simpleton will say trite stuff like “How can we help our customers?” a true leader knows the value of saying, “What organizational capabilities can we leverage in our pursuit of customer-centric value creation via engagement with our core end-user segment?”

Here are a few must-know buzzwords and sentences to help you get started:

  • Synergies
  • Premium
  • “Let’s get the finance team to run the numbers on this proposal!”
  • EBITA margin
  • “What ROI can we expect?”
  • Computer
  • “Lunch, anyone?”

Successful career tip #3: Visible clutter is your friend

This is an incredibly easy-to-implement tip for a successful career.

Busy, important career people don’t have time to organize their things. That’s a luxury only the lazy can afford. If someone’s desk is neat and they can locate their keyboard in under five seconds, you know they’re paying more attention to keeping their work area clean than to getting any actual work done.

This is why your Outlook inbox should have no fewer than 374 unread emails at any given time. Do not use folders, unless you can make them sound important (e.g. “Holistic Prototyping: Phase 17 – for URGENT follow-up”).

Your Windows desktop should be a minefield of indecipherable icons and shortcuts. Ideally, it should look like a Picasso painting seen through a kaleidoscope. You don’t have to know what any of those folders and files are for.

Career: Fake important desktop


Successful career tip #4: Meetings, meetings, and more meetings

The best career folk have lots of meetings. As Warren Buffet once famously said, “Leave me alone, I’m late for a meeting.” The more meetings you have, the better your reputation in the company.

What few people realize is that literally anything can be turned into a meeting with sufficient practice. Did someone ask you to send them an Excel sheet? Book them for a meeting to map out key delivery milestones and discuss potential bottlenecks. Colleagues asked if you’d like to join them for a cup of coffee? Schedule an all-day meeting to debate the pros and cons of various brands of coffee beans. Colleagues stopped talking to you because of your shenanigans? Plan a three-day workshop to brainstorm on how you can develop a more social work culture.

The key is to always be running in and out of meetings. You should constantly be seen inside conference rooms pointing at charts and making vigorous gestures with your arms. Your Outlook calendar should be fully booked up for the coming decade.

Once you’ve mastered these four basic tips for a successful career, your reputation should skyrocket almost instantly.

Good luck out there!

17 thoughts on “4 simple tips for a successful career

  1. Not withstanding the satirical underpinnings of your composition, my entrepreneurial instincts recognise the helicopter, out-of-the-box perspective of your composition!
    Great stuff! And some truth there too.


  2. raeme67 says:

    Could you send me the link to the 7 habits of Successing in a Highly Successful Success? I need it. I could wear a suit, but I draw the line at a tie.


  3. You should write an ebook on this topic! You’ve made it really funny but I’m sure it’s great advice in some business cultures. Probably should preface it with… ‘only works for white males’.

    LOVED this: “Your CV is just a printout of the first image that came up after you typed “Successful people CV how it looks need asap today lol” into Google.” Bahahahahahahahaha!


  4. Too late for me… I’m on the cusp of retiring, I always HATED meetings and considered them a total waste of my time. Perhaps my bad attitude in meetings was the reason I never climbed the ladder into the board room… doesn’t matter really, I never really wanted to sit around all day an talk about work instead of actually doing work. Great advise for all the younger crowd starting out… well done Daniel.


    • Aaaah, but what you didn’t know is that if you spend enough time in meetings talking about stuff, you no longer even have to do any actual work. That’s the secret to success!


  5. Ahh, #3 must be the key to my husband’s success. Having a full inbox doesn’t ruffle his feathers in the slightest. Meanwhile, mine is so organized, groomed, and regularly emptied that its tidiness might signify a deeper meaning, one with pathological roots.


    • I’m with you on that one. I can’t stand the nagging, bold “unread” font. I always read me emails right away and then file them into a folder, potentially tagging them with a “follow up” flag.

      Which explains why I’m not a CEO.


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