[One of many responses to the How To Issue]
How To Guide: World Domination
Some people use the holidays to give gifts, bond with families and eat too much. These people will never control the globe.
Lots of people have a good string of days off this time of year when they are free of the mundane tasks required to make a living scraping by in a moderately successful job. Most will spend their time imbibing festive drinks and visiting other locales. The more ambitious, however, will put this freedom to better use by formulating a plan to dominate the world.
While reading Manisha Thakor’s piece on how women seldom ask for raises, instead hoping their hard work will be noticed and rewarded (it won’t), I was struck again by the failure of so many women to risk not being seen as nice. ‘Nice’ will not conquer worlds: look at Dick Cheney. I’m sure Alexander did not remember his co-worker’s birthdays. And if Stalin ever brought cookies to the office, they were probably poisoned. If you want to rule the world, keep a few of these things in mind:
It’s not essential, of course. Look at any number of talent-free celebrities. But it makes it a lot easier. For all the outrageous fashion choices and outlandish theatrics, the heart of the Lady Gaga empire is damn catchy music and a fabulous voice. Actual talent makes it easier to navigate through the inevitable bubbles of backlash that strike anyone who achieves an inordinate amount of success.
Have a brand
When you hear the words Stephen King or Oprah Winfrey you have a picture in your head, not to mention the sound of screaming, for somewhat different reasons (usually). Your mission must be clear: world domination on its own can be perceived as nakedly aggressive. Try to come up with some thing more friendly and beneficial. Ideally, your brand statement should fit within a tweet and look good in an appropriate font. Theme songs help, too. Defining your brand identity can help you clarify what your goals are and when you drift from them. Focus is key to success.
Have a plan
Most attempts at world domination fall down on the details. Conquerors tend to be people with vision rather than clerical skills. This can lead to problems if you try to expand your empire too quickly. Unless you’re the Russian mafia or Thomas Kinkade, you’ll probably benefit from staying on the right side of the law. Given that women and children make up the vast majority of those living in poverty, this cannot be emphasized enough. It’s no good dominating the world if you end up broke, jailed and despised (e.g. Thomas Kinkade).
Oh, sure—world domination may not be on your agenda, but a more focused and conscious approach to your career, whatever it may be, will give you benefits beyond the immediate future. Things are tough out there and we all need to be smarter about our paths and clear about our goals.
It’s better than stuffing your face with all those desserts anyway.
[Original version of this diatribe appeared at Bitch Buzz; forthcoming in The Triumph of the Carpet Beetle]