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House of Cards: Career advice from Frank Underwood

House of Cards' manipulative antihero on how to get ahead at work

House of Cards: Career advice from Frank Underwood

If there was one thing we learnt from representative Francis Underwood (Kevin Spacey) over the course of the first season of House of Cards, it was to have someone to confide your Machiavellian plots to. That could be your long-suffering wife, a long-suffering PA or an unseen audience huddled around their tablets.

But if you paid attention, there were other pearls of wisdom. With his clambering up the greasy pole of Washington politics, and his helpful fourth wall-breaking asides, Frank gave us the viewers a hint at how to get ahead at work.

Here, we read between the lines — his lines — and decipher how you can use his advice to best effect in your office environment. 

“There are two kinds of pain. The sort of pain that makes you strong, or useless pain. The sort of pain that's only suffering. I have no patience for useless things.”
Kicking the fourth-floor printer won’t help.

“Such a waste of talent. He chose money over power. In this town, a mistake nearly everyone makes. Money is the McMansion in Sarasota that starts falling apart after 10 years. Power is the old stone building that stands for centuries. I cannot respect someone who doesn't see the difference.”
Don’t expect a pay raise.

“What a martyr craves more than anything is a sword to fall on, so you sharpen the blade, hold it at just the right angle, and then 3-2-1…”
When it comes to avoiding your turn in the tea round, it’s a case of playing the waiting game.

“Power is a lot like real estate. It's all about location, location, location. The closer you are to the source the higher your property value.”
Ask for the desk next to the plug sockets.

“From this moment on you are a rock. You absorb nothing, you say nothing, and nothing breaks you.”
Sometimes it just feels that way. Especially in Monday morning meetings.

“That's how you devour a whale. One bite at a time.”
Stick to Pret maybe, yeah?

“You don't want to work anywhere you're not willing to get fired from. Treading water is the same as drowning.”
There’s always a job at the local swimming pool.

“It's so refreshing to work with someone who'll throw a saddle on a gift horse rather than look it in the mouth.”
How to gain the trust of your colleagues: load up the Buckaroo! game you got in the office secret Santa.

“Never slap a man while he's chewing tobacco.”
Point taken.

House of Card season two is available on Netflix from 14 February