4 Career Lessons You Can Learn From James Bond
It’s been 50 years since James Bond was introduced to the world with the 1962 film Dr. No. Since then, we’ve all come to know James Bond as the most chiseled, most car- (or boat- or rickshaw- or tank-) chase-loving, most freakishly ageless spy the world has ever known.
But turns out, he’s more than just a glitzy tuxedo sipping a shaken vodka martini—there’s actually much to learn from this international man of mystery and playboy. (And no, not those kinds of things).
In honor of his half century of cinematic fame this month, we’ve rounded up some important career lessons you can learn from 007.
1. Don’t Go Down Without a Fight
Even as he approached seemingly inevitable death by laser in Goldfinger, Bond refused to believe that he would actually, finally, die. Because James Bond never dies. (Or ages. Or meets women with normal names.)
The point is: Take a cue from Bond and stand up for what you believe in. Fight for that project you’re dying to work on or defend your point of view in a big meeting, even if it’s unpopular. You won’t always get your way, but people will respect that you stick to your guns.
2. People Are Not Always Who They Seem
James Bond learned this important lesson the hard way in Thunderball—when he follows the grieving widow of evil French agent Jacques Botier, then discovers the widow is actually Botier in disguise. An epic fist fight ensues (shocking), and Bond escapes with the help of a jet-powered backpack. But the lesson remains: You can’t take everyone you meet at face value.
Your seemingly cold cubicle mate? Feel her out—she could just be deeply shy. That co-worker who loves to “collaborate” and “brainstorm” with you? Make sure she’s not taking your best ideas straight to the boss. Don’t always assume your first impressions are correct, and make it a point to get to know your colleagues’ true natures.
3. When Life Hands You Lemons, Use Them as a Stepping Stone
When Bond is left in the middle of a crocodile-infested lagoon in the Louisiana backwaters in Live and Let Die, he’s able to escape (again, shocking) by running along the animals’ backs to get to safety. Not only is this a pretty kick-ass thing to do, but it’s also beautifully simple: He turns his problem into a solution.
Next time you hit a career roadblock, keep this in mind. Sometimes a seemingly insurmountable problem can actually be an opportunity in disguise. Didn’t get the promotion you wanted? Maybe you’ll kick off a new job search and find a more fulfilling opportunity. Messed up a huge project at work? It’s a chance to show your boss your resilience and how well you learn from mistakes.
4. Look Impeccable, Even in the Midst of Chaos
In Goldeneye, Bond drives a tank through the streets of St. Petersburg chasing evil Russian General Arkady Grigorovich Ourumov and gets rear-ended by a few Russian police cars. Bond looks back and pauses for a moment—to straighten his tie.
Next time there’s a crisis at work, channel your inner calm and your outer elegance. Because, let’s face it, looking great makes a memorable impression. And whether you’re Bond or a cubicle-dweller, looking put-together—not frazzled—when chaos breaks out will make you seem level-headed and cool to everyone in your path. (I guess driving a tank doesn’t hurt, either.)
Photo courtesy of TRF_Mr_Hyde.
Anusha Deshpande, a native of Atlanta, is a first year student at Harvard Business School. She spends most of her spare time listening to Bruce Springsteen, watching Red Sox games and staying up to watch late night comedy TV so you don't have to.More from this Author