- Don’t shag your boss. It seems obvious but it isn’t when the only time he pays you attention is if you wear your fitted pencil skirt and stockings with seams snaking up the back of your calves. He certainly notices you then. But don’t fall for it – remember what happened at the last place – you’re aiming for promotion not constructive dismissal.
- Disagree with your boss, but just enough. He needs to know you have the balls for business but you don’t want him to think you’ll nag him like his wife at the wrong time of the month. A ratio of 80:20 agreement to disagreement should suffice.
- Flatter your boss. Not too much, he’ll think you want to shag him (see point 1.); not too little, he needs to feel impressive.
- Never cry at work. It doesn’t matter whether your aunty died, your ovary is falling out, or you just can’t face another spreadsheet. Your tears in the office will be chalked up as a sign of weakness.
NB: If you can make male colleagues cry (just a bit), your chances improve considerably.
- Think outside the box – not too far outside, it frightens them – but every now and again come up with something radical or innovative. If you can link it to a new business guide with an analogy to moving cheese or penguins and icebergs, you’ll nail it. Double points if it involves a flowchart or infographic.
- Make yourself indispensable. Take on a niche role so when you’re on leave everybody notices because no one else can do what you usually do (Suggestion: something more technical than tea-making). NB: Do not take leave too frequently, your boss will think you’re slacking.
- Give it five years. Be patient. If your talents still haven’t been noticed, shag your boss. Agree with everything he says. Flatter him. Cry a little because you’re just so moved by his talents. Forget about the box – chuck it in the recycling. Tell him he doesn’t need a new infographic – his business model is already second to none. Make him tea. Do it wearing your tight pencil skirt and stockings with seams snaking up the backs of your calves. Wear heels. Always wear heels.
- Do whatever it takes. Work through your leave, sell your soul, undo an extra button, bribe the board.
- When you make it – which you will, by one method or another – let the shards rain down. Don’t concern yourself with the mess; grind some into the carpet with your stiletto. Or leave it, sharp and dangerous, sprinkled over his desk.
- Burn the pencil skirt, the stockings, the heels. Wear wide-legged trousers (you’ll need space for your balls), wear brogues, wear what you like. Ignore your ex-boss – you’re done with him. Shag his wife if you like. But don’t forget to look down occasionally, perhaps throw your sisters a ladder. Or at least give them this guide, so they can find their own way up.
Nicola Ashbrook has been writing for a year or two, having been busy before that with a career in the NHS and two small boys. Her flash fiction can be found in a variety of online and print anthologies, including with Reflex, Emerge, Lunate, Bandit and Truffle mag. She is querying her first novel.
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