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What You Can Learn from Politicians, or, How to Scheme and Connive Your Way into a Job

May 24th, 2008

can you smell the success?

I would never suggest that anyone look up to politicians as role models. They’re arrogant, power hungry, and have their own varying understandings of what the word “truth” means. But having said this, there are a few things you can learn from the way politicians run for office and stay there.

The following six points are the basic tenets of running for political office that can also be applied to getting a job or rising in a company. Use these tactics wisely. I would say use them for “good” too, but you’re only human.

1) Attraction. Make yourself appear as attractive as possible. Embellish everything you’ve ever done.

2) Distraction. Talk about what you have done in glowing terms and distract from what you haven’t done or what you don’t want others to know you’ve done.

3) Spin everything. Never talk negatively about yourself. The only time politicians are slightly self-deprecating is when they get caught in an affair with an intern or a graft scandal. They are never down on themselves in public. This type of negativity spreads like wildfire. Nobody likes someone with low confidence. If you are cornered and have to fess up to something, never blame it on yourself, blame it on that convenient scapegoat, your “actions,” as in, “My actions were completely immoral…” etc.

4) Relentlessly name drop. Anyone who has done anything positive and is held in a good light even if only tangentially related to you, claim this person.

5) Talk about yourself. This might be the most important point here. Politicians don’t ever shut their mouths. Most people are taught to be polite and not talk about themselves and their achievements. But the truth is the most obnoxious people get the most attention. If you don’t constantly tell people how great you are, how are they going to know? Attention is good. Really, really good. Get some.

6) Pose for photo ops. You may not be able to do this literally. But you can do this figuratively by casting your accomplishments and deeds in a positive light so that people see a positive picture of you. Whether it’s sepia-toned or black and white, create a positive image of yourself and put it out there. The first person who needs to believe in this image is you. Others will follow.