Nicole Lapin knows a thing or two about being a bitch. As the author of the New York Times bestseller Rich Bitch: A Simple 12-Step Plan for Getting Your Financial Life Together…Finally, Lapin has made a career for herself by turning the derogatory label into an empowering badge of honour—and not apologizing for it. Being a “bitch,” according to Lapin, isn’t about petty drama or stepping over others to get ahead; it’s about knowing what you want in life and fiercely going after it.
In her latest book, Boss Bitch: A Simple 12-Step Plan to Take Charge of Your Career (Crown Business, $36), the 33-year-old news anchor and financial expert teaches women how to take control of their career path. Whether you want to improve your day-to-day office morale, land your dream job or start your own business, Boss Bitch is an easy-to-read guide on how to have a killer career.
Here’s seven takeaways from the book that will help you channel your inner boss.
Having a personal brand isn’t just about curating a chic AF Instagram feed; it’s about knowing who you are and what you want to be known for. Maybe you’re a journalist who breaks political stories, or a marketing manager who creates envelope-pushing social media campaigns. Whatever you do, you’ve got to figure out what makes you different and make it your brand.
Branding yourself also means having the following on hand at all times: an elevator pitch of who you are, professionally; a recent head shot; an updated resume; and a legit email address (sorry, firstname.lastname@example.org ain’t going to cut it).
Turn your frenemies into friends
There’s going to be people in your life that you just don’t like—and that’s fine. You don’t need to be BFFs with your colleagues, but you do need to be friendly with them. Have beef with a co-worker? Instead of criticizing them behind their back, compliment them behind their back. Yes, you read that right: compliment them. This tactic works because a) saying nice things to their face may come off as phony, and b) the kind words will likely get back to them, causing them to have warmer feelings towards you. It’s a win-win.
Don’t talk about yourself too much in interviews
Okay, so you need to talk a bit about yourself, but you should see interviews as an opportunity to talk about how you will benefit this specific company, and not just brag about your accomplishments in general. Use your answers to convey the ways your skill set aligns with the organization’s need, and provide relevant examples. For instance, if you’re interviewing for a social media manager position, you can discuss how you’re a total foodie—and how your Instagram prowess snapping your fancy brunches led to you being recruited for an influencer program. Know that the company is expanding into the European market? Discuss how your interning in Sweden helped you acclimate to the Scandi way of doing business. This way, you can share your passions and how they fed into your career—and can for them, too.
Master the art of e-mails
Since the majority of communication is done online these days, it’s vital to know how to send a kick-ass e-mail. You’re probably thinking, “Duh! I know how to e-mail,” but are you sure you’re carefully crafting each message? People are busy, so when you’re reaching out to them—especially if you’re asking for something—make sure your e-mails are short and to the point. There should be no more than three sentences per paragraph, and you should state what you want clearly—but nicely. Here’s an example:
Nice meeting you at the 2017 GRAMMY Awards this past February. You really know how to put on a show!
As per our conversation about collaborating on a new album, are you able to meet this Thursday at 4 p.m. to discuss the project? Justin Timberlake is available then, too.
Also, limit exclamation points to one per email—even if you’re talking to Adele.
Don’t say sorry
Women apologize—a lot. Females tend to say sorry more times a day than men for things they shouldn’t, like walking into an elevator first or raising a question in a meeting (for a horrifying mind-blow during your next meeting, just count the number of times women precede smart, reasonable queries with “This is a dumb question, but…”). Not only is over-apologizing unnecessary, it shows a lack of self-esteem. “When you might be inclined to say: ‘I’m sorry, I’m just going to reach by you to get to that,'” Lapin writes, “What you should say instead: ‘Do you mind handing that to me?'” See the difference? Even when you’re late to a meeting, don’t apologize; thank the person waiting for their patience. Save your sorrys for when you really mess up.
Learn to control what people say about you
“The most important decisions of your career are made when you aren’t in the room,” Lapin writes. She has a point: a decision to hire someone doesn’t happen in their presence (typically), and the decision to promote or fire someone doesn’t happen in front of them, either. Since people will talk about you when you’re not around, you need to control what they say. How do you do that without being a wizard you may ask? It’s simple: control your actions. If you want your boss to say you’re hardworking and friendly, don’t spend your days at your desk sporting your sourest resting bitch face and texting your friends when you should be filing that report. Instead, make sure you show up to work on time, stay late during crunch time, and bring a positive attitude. Your day-to-day behaviour—even when you think no one is looking—has a long-term impact.
When you get to the “top”—keep going
There’s no such thing as getting comfortable as a Boss Bitch. When you achieve the goal you set out to accomplish, it’s time to make a new one. Landing your dream job or getting your business off the ground is not the time to kick back and reap the rewards. In order to really thrive—and not just survive—you need to always find ways to get better at what you do. A hard work ethic is contagious.
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