If you are looking for an intellectual excuse for watching six straight episodes of Grey’s Anatomy, Tanner Stransky, an editorial assistant at Entertainment Weekly, has taken lessons from TV shows and written a guide that can transform your TV addiction into a productive career building session.
In his book Find Your Inner Ugly Betty, Stransky shows how Betty from Ugly Betty makes herself a boss’ dream and how Michael Scott is the antithesis of a professional boss. Each chapter discusses potential workplace problems, with examples from TV shows, a real-life testimony (aka “Real-Life Betty”), and a To Do list of solutions. So next time your mom yells at you to “turn off the TV and find a job,” just calmly explain that you’ll never be employable until you’ve studied up on pop culture’s best (and worst) workers.
Below, we've outlined some of the most helpful tips from each of the five sections of the book. But for the full experience, be sure to pick up Find Your Inner Ugly Betty at any local bookstore—and don't be ashamed to throw in those Office DVDs while you're at it!
Polishing Your Image
Embrace your own fashion style with shoes and accessories, but stay appropriate for an office vibe.
Know when to speak up and try to stay positive. Even if you don’t know a ton about the industry, study up and leverage on what you do know (a la Betty being quizzed on Page Six gossip.)
Always exude confidence rather than arrogance (more like Betty, less like Michael Scott.) Superiors want to see that you are comfortable with yourself.
Mind your boss. Learn to merge your working style with his or hers. Lou Grant, the boss on The Mary Tyler Moore Show, put it best: “Tell you what: I will try you out for a couple weeks, see if it works. If I don’t like you, I’ll fire you. If you don’t like me, I’ll fire you.”
Make friends to get through the job together (like on Grey’s Anatomy), but don’t become too close.
Be wary of office romance. It usually turns out negative (again, think Grey’s). If you are sure it is worth it, stay professional and avoid P.D.A.
Don’t be afraid to go the extra mile. Like Christina Young (Grey's) who squealed, “No, I cant! Because that would make me a brownnoser, and everyone hates brownnosers. I cannot be a brownnoser,” you can stand out by working hard rather than kissing up.
Be creative and find a niche (like Betty, who came up with new ideas for Mode magazine).
Be tech savvy. This will separate you from the bunch.
Going Beyond Office Hours
Make a life for yourself beyond the office! It will make you more productive at work. Marc on Ugly Betty treats himself to old movies on weekends.
Learn to say “no” so you can find a work-life balance.
Advance Your Career
Embrace networking. This is how 75% of people find jobs.
Post your professional profile online.