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10th October 2018

Lean In: a satire

Buckle up: the girl you love to hate spills her secrets on how to have it all.
Lean In: a satire
Photo:Karen [email protected]

People so often ask me, “Meryl, you’re so hardworking and successful, all at the same time as having a thriving social life, a satisfying sex life and being incredibly beautiful… it’s so impressive, how do you do it?” I usually don’t have the time to answer all these people, instead having to utter a humble little laugh and an air kiss before rushing off to a meeting, so I’d like to direct all my admirers to this article. 

As I’m in my final year at university, I’ve got my eyes firmly fixed on the prize of a top grad job for when I’ve finished my degree. This will be followed by being Director-General of the BBC by the age of 35 and retirement at 55 to pursue philanthropic endeavours (I’ve pencilled in age 65 for my gap year). So, sit tight, whip your MacBook Pro out, and get some notes down because this #girlboss is about to drop more pearls of wisdom than your professor in the first lecture you’ve turned up to in 10 weeks.

  1. Get yourself a beta boyfriend. Naturally, we all love an alpha — the handsome, muscular rugby boy who’s always the life and soul of any party and shows you who’s boss — but you must resist. If you’re not the boss in your personal life, how on earth are you going to practice being the boss in the boardroom? Seek out the quieter, sensitive boy in your seminar or the friend of a friend at pre-drinks who gives you lingering, shy looks from across the room. These are the kind of boys who will not make great demands for your time and attention. If you want comforting affection without the commitment and the perfect blank canvas to practise your management strategies on, then he’s your man.
  2. Dress to impress. This is one of my most cunning techniques. If you’re trying to impress your seminar leader, you need to be in your finest smart casual: we’re talking paper bag trousers, sparkling white Stan Smiths, and a boyfriend blazer. On the flip side, you do not have enough time for socialising if you want to bag yourself that top grad job. This means you need to make it appear as though you’re a popular cool-girl, without having to put the time in on Saturday nights or puffing away on a perfectly rolled cigarette outside the library come exam time. You know the drill: get searching away on Depop for those vintage sports brands like your first class degree depends on it.
  3. Spread yourself thin. When you’re earning a £30k salary within two years of graduating, you aren’t going to care about a couple of years of sleep deprivation and a £500 stationery-induced overdraft. However, having Lacrosse Captain of the 1st team, 1st Cello of Symphony Orchestra, and Diversity Officer of English Literature Society on your Curriculum Vitae is most certainly going to matter. So, sign up to as much as you can as possible. If you’re a first year, get in there now — if you’re a second year, sharpen your elbows and push those twelve-year-olds out of the way when it comes to applying for committee positions.
  4. Get on the lecturers’ good sides. You need to be the person speaking the absolute most in every seminar. If there’s an awkward silence while your fellow course-mates frantically google a question, you want to be at the level where your seminar leader turns to you with a devoted look and thanks you. You, once again, have saved the day. Make sure you have them calling out your name as much as possible in lectures, seminars — whenever.
  5. Get your endorphin fix. Somehow, you need to be getting a healthy dose of hormones without wasting time on any unhealthy, unproductive habits. Whether it’s with your beta boyfriend or on the treadmill, make sure you have a trusty, reliable source where you can pound out the stress and reap the rewards. Two times a week should keep said treadmill, and you, happy.

So there you have it. I’ve been surprisingly generous — but don’t worry, I’m not afraid of the competition.

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