House of Cards: Career advice from Frank Underwood

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

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In anticipation of the release of House Of Cards season three on Netflix this Friday, we look back on Frank Underwood's best lines, fourth wall-breaking asides, and general tips for getting ahead in the world - 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.

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“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.

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“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.

“Every kitten grows up to be a cat. They seem so harmless at first, small, quiet, lapping up their saucer of milk, but once their claws get long enough, they draw blood, sometimes from the hand that feeds them.”
Be nice to the intern.

“For those of us climbing to the top of the food chain, there can be no mercy. There is but one rule: hunt or be hunted.”
That last custard cream is yours for the taking.

"If we didn't do the things we shouldn't do, we'd never feel good about doing the things we should."
Don’t feel too bad about working through lunch. Again.

"I never make such big decisions so long after sunset and so far from dawn."
Work emails belong in the 9-5 hours.

“Shake with your right hand, but hold a rock in your left.”
Always stay one step ahead of the new guy.

“From the lion's den to a pack of wolves. When you're fresh meat: kill, and throw them something fresher.”
Don’t be afraid to volunteer yourself for the 3pm snack run.

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

House of Card season three is available on Netflix from 26 February

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