Watching your favorite television show is a great way to unwind from a long day. Many of you may think of this as mindlessly sitting around, but your favorite shows can actually teach some of the most important professional lessons.
I frequently find myself fangirling over Olivia Pope and her team of Gladiators from ABC’s Scandal. Aside from the unethical practices commonly seen on this show, there is a lot that can be learned and applied to your career. So now you may ask, “How can I become a PR Gladiator?”
#1 Be a Problem Fixer
Whether you end up working for an agency or corporation, your crisis communication skills will come into play at some point. This is essentially the whole theme of Scandal and the reason Olivia refers to herself as a “problem fixer”. Although you most likely won’t see the same action that Olivia and her “Gladiators” do, it is important to always be ready, whether it’s something as small as a misspelled tweet or as large as an E. Coli breakout *cough* Chipotle *cough*. As a PRo, it is your duty to remain calm and solve the problem as efficiently as possible because your client is depending on it. Olivia is undeniably recognized as the best problem solver in the D.C. area and that is truly something you can strive for too.
#2 You don’t run, you fight
Every single one of us faces various low points throughout life. During these times, you can either run or fight because, as the overly cliche phrase goes, “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”. Olivia faced financial struggles, relationship problems (with her family and love life) and simply not knowing what to do, but you never see her completely give up. During these times she pushed forward and had the undying help of her friends. We all face hardships, so support those around you and have faith in yourself.
#3 Trust your gut
Human intuition is not a force to be reckoned with. Our minds have an amazing way of telling between right and wrong, determining whether someone is trustworthy or not, and alerting us of potential danger. This ability is apart of our human instincts and is also one of the defining characteristics of Olivia Pope. Although the ability may occasionally have it’s flaws, don’t be afraid to let your moral compass help to guide you.
#4 Ethics Matter
Although I briefly mentioned this earlier, it is beyond important to reiterate. Despite being seen on Scandal, you can’t just kill someone or seduce them to simply get your way. Not only do we have laws, but also moral standards. If what you are publishing for the world to see can hurt someone’s character or career, is it actually worth it? To some degree, this is where the topic of political correctness comes into play. There is a fine line between saying what you feel and being plain offensive. Remember everyone: just because B6-13 did it, doesn’t mean you can!
#5 Dress for Success
As the phrase goes, “you can never be over-dressed or overeducated”. The way in which you present yourself gives outsiders an idea of your character and personal brand. By looking your best, you have the ability to radiate self confidence and have fun doing so. Olivia Pope has the best business casual style that I have ever seen. Instead of spending an hour on Pinterest looking for outfit ideas, just watch an episode of Scandal! Wanna know a bonus? Almost all of her clothes can be bought in store at a fairly reasonable price. But on a serious note, this is such an easy way to portray confidence and readiness to tackle the day.
Brigitte Meisse is a freshman majoring in Communication Studies and minoring in Journalism with a Social Media Certificate. She hopes to one day pursue a career in Tourism PR because of her passion for travel. Follow her on Twitter @meisse2spicy