So you wanna be a boss. Netflix and
chill will yourself to get off the couch already. How to Be a Boss (According to Your Favorite Shows) is your excuse to binge all the TV you want. It’s career inspiration, right?
On the surface, the women of Monterey may prioritize wealth, status, and the winning side of posh public-school politics. But Madeline, Celeste, Bonnie, Jane, and Renata of Big Little Lies are a lot more complex than they initially seem—and proof of what can be accomplished by working collaboratively.
Whether it’s Celeste (Nicole Kidman) feeling reinvigorated as she dips back into law, or Madeline (Reese Witherspoon) feeding her ambitions to put on a puppet-fueled musical, it’s nearly impossible for anyone in this show to chase their dreams, survive hardships, or jump into a passion project without the support of good friends. Or, at the very least, people they’ve been forced to cross paths with regularly. These, as anyone in the workplace knows, can often be one in the same.
So, with that in mind, here are 19 tips to live by should you find yourself navigating the stormy seas of worklife like the oceanside upper class.
1. Pursue your passion projects. Feeling successful is essential to your well-being, so find something you care about and throw yourself into it. (Just watch out for unnecessary drama.)
2. Dazzle allies, rivals, and frenemies alike with raw talent they can only aspire to. (Then, well, drop the mic.)
3. Or put everyone to shame with your commitment to theme parties.
4. But you never know where loyalties may lie, so before deciding yours, meet and greet the power players in your social circle.
5. Check in with yourself when you start tending to your grudges like little pets.
6. Watch for those who make bold, brazen declarations. (Because nothing screams “power” like reminding everyone of how much you have.)
7. Keep loved ones close. Especially since they’ll keep you grounded amid the chaos they have nothing to do with and, frankly, may not even understand.
8. Team up to challenge those who’ve wronged you. (Pro tip: few things are as intimidating to rivals as the support of a best friend who knows how to legally navigate any and all situations.)
9. But remember that, sometimes, the greatest bond is between family. And taking time to relax with them outside the confines of the office can help you unplug from work or distance yourself from daily pressures—like the grind of all those micro-gigs.
10. That said, try to keep a safe distance from anyone who doesn’t have your best interest at heart.
11. Don’t be afraid to be vulnerable, or to accept the love of those who care about you. It doesn’t make you weak, and it doesn’t make you less of a boss.
12. Remember: familial matters aren’t the right situations to showcase your power. (So, ahem, using your kid’s birthday as a political game to out-maneuver your nemesis is a losing proposition.)
13. Avoid any professional or personal politics that don’t directly concern you. Particularly so you can build a life rich in what you love—or a life rich in observations and knowledge, should you ever need to insert yourself into a specific situation down the road.
14. Use your day-to-day routine as a way to stay present. Because, sometimes, without successfully preparing one’s fashion armor, it feels impossible to be prepared for battle.
15. Prioritize physical health—it can keep your mind sharp, your heart healthy, and most importantly, provide a way to spend quality time alongside those you know and trust most. After all, you never know when you might need one, or all, of ’em.
16. But also spend sufficient time planning for any upcoming confrontations and mapping out every potential outcome. Preparedness is key, even if it seems like an ideal scenario isn’t quite achievable—or even a possibility.
17. Which is to say, remember that you’re more powerful when someone’s got your back.
18. It also gets easier to cope with stress when you form close bonds with real friends who genuinely care about you.
19. Just be sure to make amends when they’re due. Because if Madeline’s taught us anything, it’s that friendships can be formed even after years of animosity.
Words by Anne T. Donahue
Feature image by Niall McClelland