Some people just have it don’t they? They are able to anticipate problems before they occur and if problems ever do occur they always have a solution. In the unlikely event that they don’t have a solution the problem will inadvertently become somebody else’s fault.
Such individuals are few and far between which means the majority of us have to rely on alternative ways to climb the ladder of success that do not entail being good at our jobs.
We have put together a guide to having a successful career without requiring any aptitude for the job you do or any recognisable talent of any kind.
Hopefully when you become the Chief Executive of your organisation one day, you’ll spare a thought for the people below you who are just as bad at doing their jobs as you are.
1. Tell people that you go to night school
This will make you appear intelligent to the people that you work with. It also helps if you occasionally turn down the odd invitation to go for a drink after work for extra effect as somebody who goes home instead of to the pub on most nights of the week appears more responsible. Just make sure you don’t tell anyone that ‘night school’ really means drinking in a different pub on your own!
2. Speak with confidence and clarity
The way a person speaks is one of the key identifiers of how intelligent they are so it’s important to speak with confidence and clarity. If you can, try to put on a posh accent as this will also help you to sound more educated. The key things to beware of are involuntarily slipping out of your adopted accent and sticking to generally accepted facts when sharing knowledge. The last thing you want is to be found out as a result of saying something that only a complete idiot would believe is true.
3. Try to avoid arguments
If you are unfortunate enough to find yourself engaged in an argument with someone at work that knows what they’re talking about, the best thing to do is fire back a completely irrelevant question at the person that has challenged you and start polishing your spectacles as they attempt to answer. If you don’t have any glasses, you can try humming under your breath whilst glancing at your watch.
4. Try and hang out with people that are important
This will help to convince others that you too have got something about you. If you find that important people don’t want to talk to you, a good way to counter this is by hanging around near them at social events to look as if you might be part of their group and laughing loudly at various intervals to imply that you’re part of the conversation. Try if possible to laugh when everyone else does and not too loudly or you’ll soon get rumbled.
5. Try to be a yes man / woman
There’s no point trying to impress people with views of your own because you don’t actually have any. Your best bet is therefore to try and find out other people’s views before you speak to them and advocate them strongly, or simply agree with everything that the person you’re talking to says.
6. Deal effectively with questions from subordinates
The best way to achieve this is by responding with an incredulous look and paraphrasing whatever question they have just asked you. This will help you avoid having to admit that you don’t have a clue what they are talking about.
7. Acquire a competent yes man / woman
No great leader that doesn’t actually do anything of value got anywhere without having somebody to do all the work for them. You need a talented individual on side to provide all the solutions to your problems, but who is kept as much in the background as possible. Their job is to make you look good, not the other way around!
8. Always pretend you have experience even if you haven’t
That’s what your yes man / woman is for.
9. Offer to deal with problems as and when they occur
This will enforce the idea that you are a safe pair of hands that can be relied upon to manage an adverse situation. It doesn’t matter that you may ending up making the problem infinitely worse, the main thing is that you stepped up to the plate when everybody avoided getting involved.
10. Never say thank you
This will create the façade that you are inherently superior to your equals.
11. Always walk about the office in a brisk manner
This will imply that you are busy and constantly on the way to an important meeting. If anybody tries to stop you to ask you a question, carry on walking whilst you answer it. For added effect you may also want to keep your office door closed as much as possible and only interact with colleagues via emails that end with the phrase ‘effective immediately.’
12. Make sure you constantly have a notepad in your hand
This will also work for ring bound files or lever arch files. Empty hands are one of the first things that suggest you might not be as senior as you’d like everybody to think you are.