Top Ten (Actually Helpful) Lessons from Fairytales
No. That is your phone alarm, and you are going to be late for work.
While our favorite fairytale ladies have it together in many ways–mad sewing skills, owning starter cottages, dating quality men–they would not necessarily be the best Career Girls. In addition to that somewhat obvious fact (because what princess needs a 401k), there are the ever-present Morals of the Stories. These are always unhelpfully vague and make such grand sweeping statements such as: Follow your heart! Dreams do come true! Love is magical! While those may be true, they are not exactly going to fill out your job apps for you. This is where I come in: gird your ball gowns ladies, here are my Top Ten (Actually Helpful) Lessons from Fairytales.
1. Never Lie on a Resume–Mulan
Now, in many ways, Mulan is a great, successful Career Girl: driven, passionate, and independent. However, she gets herself in a lot of trouble. No really, a lot, as in, a ridiculous amount ie she almost gets stabbed to death by a guy she totally thought was hot and sounded eerily like Donny Osmond in spite of the fact that he is Chinese (HMM). Think those problems are unavoidable? Then I can’t help you. For those who Mulan’s troubles are a little absurd–you can avoid them with one simple piece of advice: never lie on a resume. Although you may not be in a life or death situation like Mulan, you might feel like deserting the battlefield when your “fluent” Spanish/French/Pig Latin skills are called upon and you can’t deliver…ikes-yea.
2. Do Not Steal from the Fridge–Hansel and Gretel
Hansel and Gretel are who I like to refer to as “The Worst Heroes of a Fairytale.” Think about it; they are really inconvenient and annoying. They were kicked out of their house for eating everything, and, let’s face it, in the ye old days, it’s not like the stepmother could pop down to Trader Joe’s and replenish the family’s supplies. Instead of learning their lesson and surviving in the woods like normal medieval children, they find a house made of food and try to eat it. The old witch living in the house obviously wants to kill the kids and eat them because her groceries are busy HOLDING UP HER ROOF. Do you want your co-workers trying to murder you!?! If not, don’t be a Hansel or a Gretel, and do not eat any food in the office that does not belong to you. Just don’t. You never know what people are capable of when they’re “hangry” (angry + hungry).
3. Write It Down–Rumplestiltskin
Remember that one thing that you were supposed to do that you PROMISED you’d remember? Oh, you don’t? GIVE ME YOUR FIRST BORN CHILD. There are many issues in Rumplestitskin that can be great learning lessons. For example, if you plan on ever having a child, do not then use that potential child as a bartering tool for your own financial and romantic gain. THEN when it comes time to hand over the baby unless you remember the creepy potential father’s name, you better remember that name. It’s like, hey princess of this story, you have to remember ONE THING. Why not get your page boy to put it on the books, or, if that is too boring, weave it into a tapestry made of gold for all I care. Many stressful things can happen throughout the work day. Remove some of that stress by making a to-do list. That way you can avoid the awkward stares in the conference room as you walk in late, AND you can keep your first born child.
4. Don’t Be Afraid to Ask Questions (But make sure you really listen to the answers)–Little Red Riding Hood
So, for awhile, Little Red had it goin’ on–she had her finances and work ilfe together enough to be able to take some time off and bring her grandma some delicious treats. However, girlfriend didn’t realize that she was not doing enough critical questioning/critical listening when she was talking to the wolf later in the story. Granted, Little Red may not be the sharpest axe in the forest, but for starters, it should NOT have been hard to realize that her grandma does not actually look like a wolf dressed up as her grandma. That aside, she did the right thing by questioning the situation. If ever you need help at work, it is ALWAYS better to ask a question than to find out you made a big mistake later on. However, when you ask your CRITICAL questions (why are you so hairy? why haven’t I realized that you are clearly not a human?) make sure to really listen to the answer. While people are very helpful, most get annoyed (and rightly so) if you have to ask them more than once. So ask away and be sure to listen, so your boss doesn’t eat you alive. (Ah, puns)
5. Practice Your ‘Elevator Speech’–Cinderella
Cinderella was hardworking and charming, in spite of the fact that her boss, I mean stepmother, was a total jerk. However, she seemed to forget one thing–you are your own best advocate. While the Fairy Godmother (aka the sparkling reference or contact person) can get you to the ball, she can’t do the interview for you. This is where the ‘Elevator Speech’ comes in. You should be able to put your best glass-slippered foot forward and tell people what you are all about in a concise manner. If Cinderella had known all she wanted was true love and the political power bestowed upon a princess (HELLO, Kate Middleton anyone?), she should have said, “Oh, hey Prince Charming, I love you, but I have to go home. Here is my phone number. Call me!” Instead of leaving him a shoe which, let’s be frank, could have fit someone else, Cinderella could have left her prince with information that he could remember (even if he couldn’t remember, he could reference tip #3).
6. Take Care of Yourself–Sleeping Beauty
Yes, Sleeping Beauty fell under a spell and blah blah blah couldn’t wake without true love’s kiss. I’m SURE SB. Yeah I totally believe that you weren’t just in the woods raging every night with your animal friends. I can see those dark circles a mile away. How much do you think she had to drink in order to be asleep/hungover for like twenty years?? Don’t be like SB. You’re better than that. You owe it to yourself and your coworkers to be well-rested and well-fed (but only your own food, see #2). If you need some help staying healthy and energized during the work day, check out the following MCG articles here and here.
7. Pack Your Lunch–Snow White
We have already covered the dangers of food stealing, but now for another important bit of advice from my girl Snow White–pack your lunch. While I understand that the food court near your work could be calling your name like a handsome prince and your stomach is growling like seven dwarfs (Grumpy to be exact), you must resist (I’m sorry, the jokes in this section are a bit much). Fast food and eating out in general is a big problem for many reasons–it’s unhealthy, it’s expensive, and it’s an extra trip that takes time out of your break. Not to mention, like Snow White, someone could literally give you the Number 4 Meal with a side of POISON APPLE FROM A CREEPY WITCH. So better safe than sorry and better eating yummy homemade food than mystery snacks.
8. Learn How to Say No–Pocahontas
Pocahontas has a subtler fatal flaw. She knows what a wolf is, gathers her own food, and gets great advice from a tree–So what could possibly go wrong? Girlfriend does not know how to say “no” in an appriopriate manner. Does she want to marry the guy her dad picked out? No. Does she want there to be war between her tribe and the settlers? No. Does she want her father to kill John Smith? OBVIOUSLY NOT. However, instead of saying, ‘No thanks dad, I’ll find my own hubby…By the way most of the settlers are cool, but that froo froo captain guy with the annoying dog is a total jerk and needs to go,’ she says nothing until the situation becomes so heated that she must literally throw herself over the body of her bf to stop his being killed. In work situations, it is always better to be honest and upfront with your coworkers instead of taking on WAY too much, and ultimately disappointing them. Need more help saying ‘no’? Check out this article here.
9. Don’t Be So Sensative to Criticism–Princess and the Pea
Even if you follow my perfect, sparkling advice exactly as it is laid out, you may still mess up and have to face the criticism of your coworkers or your boss. I’m here to tell you–that’s OK. Everyone makes mistakes, and as long as you didn’t accidentally run someone over with the company rental car, those mistakes can be fixed. However, there is a way to take criticism and a way not to take criticism. Take for example, the Princess in The Princess and the Pea. Girlfriend needs HELP in that department. For goodness sake, she is in danger of being impaled at a salad bar. I personally believe she is making a scene in order to please the Queen-in-Law, but STILL. Don’t be THAT girl. Most of the time, people offer up criticism in order to help you, not simply to be mean. Listen to the criticism with grace, and take some time to really think about what the person said. If, AFTER thinking about it, you find that it is an unfair assessment, consider talking to the person calmly, and illustrating ways in which you feel they have misjudged you.
10. Sing As Much As Possible–Every Princess Ever
Why talk when you can SING?? Why work when you can SING?? WHY DO ANYTHING ELSE BUT SING?!!? While that was a bit much, it is important to take one tip from the fairytale club: cut loose, relax, and let yourself have a little fun once upon a time.