5 Career Lessons from “Scandal”


If you haven’t started watching ABC’s new hit show “Scandal,” you’re late.

Scandal features Kerry Washington’s Olivia Pope – a hot, brilliant, do-gooder lawyer – who uses her leverage to help her clients manage the crises they’re in.  Written and produced by Shonda Rhimes – the creator of Grey’s Anatomy and Private Practice, it’s become one of the best shows on TV – and it’s not going away any time soon.  Rhimes just got afforded a full season order for fall 2012 thanks to some great ratings from viewers 18-49.  Best of all, Pope is based on real-life Judy Smith – a crisis management queen and former Deputy Press Secretary, based in D.C. who’s worked with everyone from George H. W. Bush to Michael Vick.

Here are five tips from Scandal that will help you go further in your career:

1. Image matters.  It’s no secret that Olivia is hot – and no one cares why she is.  Not only does her appearance add to her put together persona,  it helps her maneuver herself in the man’s world.

2. Go with your gut. Olivia’s gut is never wrong. Before you think too much, what’s that small voice in your ear saying to you?

3. Secrets will come back to haunt you & the consequences are real. All of her clients (and even the team themselves) are haunted by actions they took many years ago.  When a promotion is on their doorstep, it’s often threatened by old news that (unfortunately for them) would make good news.

4. You need leverage. Olivia’s relationship with the president is a lot of the reason why she can get away with what she does.  When her relationship with the president “ends,” everyone’s left wondering how she’s going to do her job. Then it’s revealed that she has another spade – the mystery committee. If you can gain some leverage, get it – without sleeping with the President.

5. Say thank you. Pope’s relationship with Rosen (US Prosecutor) is mutual.  She utilizes him but he needs her.  No matter how hard she is with him, she never forgets to say thank you for putting up with her trouble.

*Bonus tip:  Always deliver.  Olivia always makes good on her promise.

Check out “Scandal” this season.  You won’t like it, you’ll love it.

Have you watched Scandal?

Adrienne Johnson is a freelance writer and editor in Indianapolis, Indiana.  A graduate of DePauw University and a self-proclaimed “nerdette,” she can’t get enough of witty shows like Community and New Girl while discussing articles from her favorite blogs with friends. She laughs loudly, sings constantly, and will always have a place in her heart for the cello. Get in touch.

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