Career Lessons We Can Learn From James Bond

Career lessons we can learn from James Bond

Your career is a marathon – not a sprint. If you weren’t aware of this before, it’s time to get realistic and smell your fresh no-foam skinny latte…

While us Gen-Ys prefer to regard ourselves as the ambitious, energetic, go-getters that we are, it seems that while growing up to the soliloquys of Carrie Bradshaw, we have adopted a delusional perspective of the professional world. We didn’t bank on the real world being a lot less Sex and the City and a lot more Girls – awkward, disappointing and hard work.

Studies revealed in an article by Forbes Magazine titled “Millennial Women Are Burning Out At Work By 30,” that we enter the working world full of enthusiasm and integrity and after a few too many years of unexpected up-hill struggles, we start channeling the break-up “it’s not me, it’s you” vibe to the professional world. “You’re just not what I expected you to be. We have grown apart since college and it’s time we go our separate ways.”

According to McKinsey Research, today, a little over half of women reach their peak at entry-level jobs and later shy away from advancements up the corporate ladder – 53% of corporate entry-level jobs are held by women, a percentage that drops to 37% for mid-management roles and 26% for vice presidents and senior managers. Furthermore, it seems one of the main reasons for female career burn-out is that we totally disregard the steps that improve personal wellbeing at work. However, our opposing gender is more self-indulgent.Captivate Network reveals that Men are 25% more likely to take breaks throughout the day for personal activities, 7% more likely to take a walk, 5% more likely to go out to lunch, and 35% more likely to take breaks “just to relax”.

Instead of focusing on the negative associations of the Forbes Magazine’s recent theory, YCB Magazine has set their sights on the super-suave British secret agent who spanned a successful career over five decades. Granted the worlds most endearing character may be fictional, but twenty-three films later and taking the lead as the highest grossing series ever (generating over 5 billion dollars), we couldn’t help feeling inspired.

Here are the most crucial career lessons we have learned from the one and only Bond, James Bond.

1. Don’t go down without a fight

In Goldfinger, even as Bond approached his (seemingly) inevitable death by laser, Bond refused to believe that he would finally die. Bond’s renowned confidence was most famously demonstrated when Bond demanded, “Do you expect me to talk?”, to which Goldfinger replied “No Mr Bond, I expect you to die.”

The lesson: Take a cue from Bond and never doubt yourself, not even in a moment of (seemingly) inevitable weakness. Believe in your own self worth and fight for that project you’re dying to work on or defend your point of view in the conference room. You might feel a little dis-heartened, but your colleagues will respect that you stick to your guns.

2. Trust Your Instincts

In the opening scene of The Spy Who Loved Me, after a downhill ski-chase, Bond throws himself off a cliff in the Austrian Alps. As the Union Jack parachute opens to carry Bond to freedom, the theme tune diffuses the tension and we all know Bond will live to fight another day.

The lesson: When you make a decision, believe in it. The worst thing you can do is start second-guessing yourself. Even if it feels like you’re falling into the unknown, take a deep breath and go for it. There will be a beginning, middle and an end to the free fall. A catchy theme tune may also help reinforce confidence!

3. Be the solution – don’t fixate on the problem.

Picture the scene from Live and Let Die; Bond is abandoned in the middle of the crocodile-infested Louisiana backwaters, the world is closing in on him (again) but Bond rises to the occasion and turns his problem into a solution – Bond runs swiftly across the backs of the alligators to safety.

The lesson: Next time you hit a career roadblock, think about running over alligators by asking yourself – what’s the solution? Sometimes a seemingly insurmountable problem can actually be an opportunity in disguise. You don’t feel you are being recognized at work? Use your intuition as the incentive to start looking at other positions in your field or at other departments within your company. Soon you will discover a more fulfilling opportunity. Made a big mistake in an important pitch? Exude fearless resilience by showing your boss and your team just how well you learn from your mistakes.

4. When the going gets tough— dress to impress!

In Goldeneye, Bond drives a tank through the streets of St. Petersburg chasing evil Russian General Arkady Grigorovich Ourumov, which resembles a waltz of car crashes as Bond gets hit by a few Russian police cars. Of course, mid-chaos, Bond finds time to pause for a moment, look back — and straighten his tie.

The lesson: Next time there’s a crisis at work, channel your inner calm and your outer elegance. Firstly, power dressing is empowering. And secondly, holding face and looking great makes for a memorable impression.

5. Be a charismatic career-driven chameleon

Throughout the years, each and every James Bond brought something unique to the role – passion, individual strengths and charisma. Why not look at your career the same way – a series of highly adventurous, deceptively challenging yet ultimately rewarding episodes.

When you are no longer expanding your skill set and you want to keep off the rocks, have your career shaken, not stirred.