How to Gain Status and Intimidate People
by Jeffrey Shaffer and Suzy Blackaby
Are you losing the race to keep up with the Joneses? Or worse, do you feel as if
it just isn't worth the effort anymore? Don't be discouraged. Confidence is the
key to success in any endeavor, but achieving just the right balance of competitive
desire and cool self- assurance can be tricky. So is projecting an image that will
awe your subordinates and mystify your rivals. It's especially difficult when your
personal budget demands that you exist on a diet of Little Juan burritos, ramen
noodles, and tap water.
We think we've solved the problem with a list of tips that will get your confidence
level back up to par, at minimum personal expense. Just remember that moxie can be
as important as money when it comes to looking good.
1. Carry a foreign-language newspaper in your briefcase. When sitting at a bar,
take out the paper and scan the pages with a serious expression. It's
important to pick a difficult language for the gambit, something other than
French, German or Spanish. Those could get you in trouble if some exchange
student calls your bluff.
2. Keep an old telephone in your car under the front seat. When driving, hold the
receiver up to your ear and act as if you were talking to someone on the
other end. if stopped at a busy intersection, roll down your window so
pedestrians can hear the conversation. Then, in a loud, demanding voice, say
things such as, "Tell Harris we need that building! Tell him to offer
50 million, straight cash, whatever it takes!"
3. Use expensive containers to dispose of household trash. When you visit a store
such as Neiman-Marcus (we buy all of our pencils there) pick up a couple of
extra shopping bags. Several times a month you should fill one with garbage
and place it on the curb with your other household rubbish. Make sure the
name of the store is clearly visible from the street.
4. Wear T-shirts commemorating fantastic events of physical endurance. Most towns
now have these stores where you can print messages on shirts. Simply order
one up with the inscription, "Snow Madness Run, Butte-Great Falls December
1981." When people ask why they've never heard about such a grueling race,
say, "Oh, we only ran it once, 12 of us got together and just went for it.
Never could get any sane group to sanction it."
5. Mount extra clocks on your office walls. Label each one with the name of an
international capital (Lima, Bonn, Canberra) and check them periodically when
talking with a client.
6. Keep mysterious items in the glove compartment of your car. Instead of the usual
mess of tissues, loose change and old sunglasses, you should have at least
two of the following articles: a slide rule, a map of the London subway
system, an English-Swahili dictionary, a small jar of litmus paper or a
prism. When a passenger discovers the items, shrug and say something like,
"Oh, just some things for this project I'm thinking about..." and then close
the compartment smartly, to show the conversation is not going any further.
7. Print your own wine labels. This is fairly risky and is a ploy that should only
be used when you really want to play hardball. ...Grab a few bottles of your
favorite generic vintage from the local Econo-Mart, soak the labels off and
paste on your own. Getting them designed shouldn't be difficult. Chances are
that you know of a graphic artist who's struggling to the same degree as
yourself. For a small fee or a large lasagna, he or she can come up with a
private reserve label just for you, from folksy wine cellar to expensive
foreign vineyards, to suit any occasion.