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What can celebrities teach us about work?

Victoria Beckham, Image source: http://www.fanpix.netFamous people aren’t necessarily the best role models  – whether they’re drinking too much, spending too much or breaking the law, they make as many if not more mistakes than as us non-famous types.  One thing’s for sure, though: most of them have toiled pretty hard to get where they are today, whether it be at the top of their acting game or the top of the charts. They’re not getting money for nothing, no matter what Mark Knopfler says – even though work ethic might be the only ethic they have.

So even if you don’t want to end up with your name in lights, you’d do well to take a leaf or two out of the autobiographies of these sizzling celebs when it comes to working effectively. What can Posh Spice, Robert De Niro, Katherine Heigl and chums teach us about getting ahead in our careers?

Victoria Beckham – teaches us not to fear change
When Geri left the Spice Girls, it could’ve sounded a death knell for Victoria’s career – but by using her resources, contacts and her talent for designing, she’s gone from strength to strength in the fashion industry. Don’t see the negative in a situation, see the positive– what have you learned? And what are your strengths going forward? John Macmillan, a Resourcing Business Partner at RBS Insurance, says change isn’t to be feared because it opens doors: “Change means opportunity, excitement and variety. For us, it means the chance of providing insurance jobs at a time when insurance is making a massive difference to people’s lives.”

Robert De Niro – teaches us to research the role
One of the most famous actors to use the ‘method’ school of acting, De Niro gets into character by fully immersing himself in their world. When you’re applying for a job, do your research thoroughly – not just a superficial search online. Find out what social networks the company’s on, what the latest developments are in their sector and who the big guns are in the industry. Try to get inside information: what’s the hierarchy like, and what do people wear to work? Act like you’re already part of the company and you might just get the role.

Lady Gaga – teaches us to stand out from the crowd
Turning up to work in 12” heels might not be your style – but there’s nothing wrong with being different. Understand that you’re unique and that your individuality is valuable to your company; try to bring a bit of your personality to the role and be proactive about finding innovative new ways of doing things.

‘Brangelina’ – teaches us the importance of work/life balance
Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie: acting superstars, charity ambassadors and parents to six children. How do they juggle interviews, jobs, babies and their own interests? Well, an army of staff and nannies probably helps – but it’s also down to great planning and a commitment to their family. They factor everything into their schedule, not just work – learn from them by making sure you’ve got regular ‘me time’ pencilled into your diary. And remember, the right employer won’t just tolerate your out-of-work interests: they’ll support you; whether you’re running a marathon for charity or learning a new language.

Katherine Heigl – teaches us to play to our strengths (but not to be afraid of stepping outside of our comfort zone)
She might not be the most versatile actress out there but Heigl knows what she’s good at – playing a smart, career-driven lady who needs to find love to let loose her softer side (27 Dresses, Knocked Up, The Ugly Truth, Life as We Know It…etc). While she might never win an Oscar, she’ll certainly never be out of work; the lesson is that being aware of your appeal, worth and skills is great, but if you want to really make the grade you need to push yourself.

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  1. Andy | Nov 18, 2011 | Reply

    I think that is very unfair on Heigl. She is a very versatile actress and has already won an Emmy and had two Golden Globe noms for her dramatic work. Providing she doesn’t keep doing rom-coms she is perfectly capable of winning an Oscar. She is also a producer.

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