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Develop a Positive Brand
Rule #1: Develop a Positive Brand TV scenario: “I don’t want to be, like, a guy here, you know? Like Stanley is the ‘Crossword Puzzle Guy’ and Angela has cats. I don’t want to have a thing here.” – Ryan Howard, The Office. Real Life Lesson: The distinctive habits you develop affect how you’re perceived. Decide what your best strength is and play to it.
Kobal/CBS-TV/The Kobal Collection
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Pursue a hobby
Rule #2: Pursue a hobby TV Scenario: “Hey Rhoda, would you do me a favor? Please don’t start treating me like I’m in show business. I mean, I’m still working in the newsroom, huh? This is just something I’m doing for fun, OK?” – Mary Richards, telling her friend Rhoda about the new play in which she’s been cast in on The Mary Tyler Moore Show Real Life Lesson: Extracurricular interests will help you blow off steam while propelling you forward professionally. Spend time networking outside of your industry.
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Rule #3: Be Flexible TV Scenario: Ted Mosby, the architect on CBS sitcom How I Met Your Mother, often finds himself sneaking back into the office for late-night work sessions. Real Life Lesson: Overtime can take you to the next level, or at least score you some perks. Check your firm’s official policy about comp time or flex time. Some companies offer additional vacation days for overtime.
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Beware of Office Love
Rule #4: Beware of Office Love TV Scenario: “Did you let me scrub in for this operation because I slept with you?”—Meredith Grey, questioning how her relationship with Dr. Derek Shepard may be dubiously benefiting her at work on Grey’s Anatomy Real Life Lesson: Bad idea. Avoid romantic entanglements at work. If you must, nix public displays of affection and keep non-business related communication to a minimum. If necessary, disclose the romance to a superior.
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Rule #5: Keep Learning TV Scenario: “This class is phase one of my career: I write, I get published, I work my way to editor, and then I can run a magazine.” –Ugly Betty’s Betty Suarez, on a writing class she’s taking at lunch Real Life Lesson: Furthering your professional education is always a shrewd move if you’re looking to advance your career. Carefully assess what skills you still need to acquire before jumping into costly continued education courses. And find out whether your firm will reimburse you for the effort.
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