Donald Trump is running for president, and much like your drunkest uncle at a holiday dinner, he’s getting the festivities off to a start by insulting absolutely every person on the planet, one box on the census form at a time. His candidacy might inspire guffaws, but it’s no joke: as of last week, he was No. 2 in the polls, behind only Jeb Bush, in the race for the Republican nomination. Of course, there are no silver medals in politics, and second in 2015 isn’t first in 2016. Still, even if he never wins the nomination, he still has a lot to teach you about your career. Think of it as modeling by negative example.
(Photo Credit: “Donald Trump by Gage Skidmore 2” by Gage Skidmore. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons)
Watch Trump’s scorched-earth journey across the media landscape, and learn the following:
1. Don’t be racist.
Here is an actual thing that Donald Trump said during his announcement that he was running for president:
That’s right, Donald Trump kicked off his campaign by saying something that would get you fired, immediately, if you said it in your office.
This is an important thing to remember, career-wise. Ideally, of course, you wouldn’t be a racist, and then you wouldn’t have to police your speech so carefully, but regardless of what the inside of your head looks like, don’t let terrible words like these climb out of your mouth-hole. You will be fired, because you deserve to be.
That’s exactly what happened to Trump: as of this writing, he’s been dropped by NBCUniversal, which aired his reality TV show The Apprentice, and Univision, which booted the Miss USA pageant from its schedule. Macy’s also cancelled his clothing line.
2. Don’t double down on the terrible.
Most candidates, if they were caught saying something like that, would immediately scramble to put things right. Not The Donald. He released a statement to make sure that everyone would know that he meant what he said:
“I don’t see how there is any room for misunderstanding or misinterpretation of the statement I made on June 16th during my Presidential announcement speech. Here is what I said, and yet this statement is deliberately distorted by the media.”
Trump goes on to say pretty much the exact same thing he said before, with a few minor word changes. Unfortunately, none of those words were the ones that would get you a nice cardboard box for your desk toys, if you said them in the office.
So, again, most importantly, don’t be racist; secondarily, say you’re sorry when you mess up.
3. Know what you’re good at.
Donald Trump’s companies have declared bankruptcy four times, and he himself came close to declaring personal bankruptcy in 1990, after financing his casino, the Taj Mahal, through junk bonds. So even though he has a personal fortune of $4 billion today, and owns more than 100 companies, he might not be the guy to turn to, if you’re trying to figure out your personal finances (or even, some might say, those of a major world power).
On the other hand, he also has a star on the Walk of Fame, his own board game, partnership in a major beauty pageant, and a lot of big, shiny buildings. He’s as much media personality as mogul now, and you’d have to wonder why he’d ever give that up to attend to the minutiae of running the free world.
If and when he does drop out of the race, he can content himself with this: the most important thing in business or in life is to do what you’re good at. For Donald Trump, that’s making money and getting attention. For you, well, let’s hope, for your own sake, it’s a career that veers far, far away from becoming a living internet meme.
On the other hand, Grumpy Cat never says anything bad about anyone. So maybe it’s just a matter of choosing the right role model.
4. Sometimes, you need to step away from the social media.
Have you ever said something on Twitter or Facebook that you regret? Well, look at that. You now have something in common with Donald Trump. (Just kidding. Trump would never recognize when he was beaten.)
This is Trump fighting with a Modern Family writer, and getting his posterior handed to him:
That’s the SFW part, by the way, but the whole thing is worth your time.
Don’t start – or continue – fights with people online. Employers, hiring managers, and colleagues are watching, and once something hits those feeds, it lives forever. Don’t embarrass yourself and damage your personal brand.
5. Grooming matters.
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