21 career lessons from the movie ‘Who’s the Boss’ (Part 1)


Who’s the Boss is a 2020 Nollywood movie which was recently released by Netflix. The story follows the life of Liah, a young, rising ad executive who starts her own side hustle after she encounters issues with her arrogant boss. When her startup agency wins a major advertising deal, she must find someone to act as the Creative Director. When Liah gets increasingly more successful, she must find a way to keep her own boss from finding out.

Set against the backdrop of the modern African millennial (woman), ‘Who’s the Boss’ explores the many nuances of the young African especially in the corporate and professional setting. It highlights several lessons on building a career, running a business, and juggling everything else in-between.

As a young professional, I had a lot of Aha! moments and could relate to a lot of the scenes when I was watching this movie. Especially for many young professionals, navigating the culture and “politics” of the corporate world can be overwhelming.

Here are some of the lessons I learnt:

  1. You will not always get what you deserve

After working as a Personal Assistant and Creative Executive for two years, Liah was expecting to be promoted to Creative Senior Executive because she had proven to be a valuable asset to the team but her boss thought “she wasn’t ready.” Truth is, life won’t give you what you deserve, you need to fight for it. Don’t be afraid to ask for what you want and prove that you deserve it.

  1. Beware of career saboteurs

Have you ever had to deal with a colleague or boss who badmouths you to others or robs you of certain opportunities? Why will a manager sabotage the career of a top performer? In most cases, they don’t want their subordinate to take “their ‘shine’’.

Nobody wants to feel threatened and some people will go at lengths to prevent the “inevitable” from happening. Hauwa had given 15 years of her life to Apex Communications. She knew how smart and intelligent Liah was. She wasn’t ready to give her that chance to do more and outshine her. So how do you handle such a situation?

  1. Everyone needs a friend like Jumoke and partners like Lekan

Surround yourself with friends or colleagues who will look out for you. The kind of people you have in your circle will determine how far you go in your career. Friends like Jumoke or Lekan will push you to be better and encourage you to take a chance on yourself even when you do not believe you can.

  1. People might not always agree with your ideas and that’s OK.

Having differing opinions doesn’t make your ideas less valuable. It may not necessarily align with the company or boss’s objectives or perhaps the timing might not be right. Nonetheless, do not be afraid to share that pitch with those who will listen. It might be the game changer.

  1. Stand up for yourself

In the course of your career, you will meet people who will find you useful just because you are beneficial to their objectives. Some people will maximize their earnings at your expense. People will use your ideas, fail to give you credit and undervalue you. It is important to read between the lines, stand up for yourself and believe in your worth.

  1. Sometimes you need to leave the nest

Most of the time we are afraid to leave our comfort zones because we are not sure what it looks like on the other side. Move on and explore new ventures or opportunities. Truth is, you might have overstayed your welcome in a particular firm and moving on to a new job or starting your own business might just be the redirection you needed to maximize your full potential.

  1. Stop seeking validation from others

We have been conditioned to wait on people and society’s acceptance before we actually believe in our capabilities. Career coach Dorianne St. Fluer states that the inability of someone else to recognize your value doesn’t change the fact that you are, indeed, valuable. We need to start believing in ourselves and the value we bring to the table even when others do not believe in us just yet.

  1. Don’t self-sabotage your career

Sometimes we may be our own enemies to our career progression. Fear of failure and other self-sabotaging behaviour such as perfectionism, procrastination and imposter syndrome can contribute to sabotaging your career. When we downplay our accomplishments and think we are not competent enough to do a particular job, get recommendations etc. even when we have proven beyond reasonable doubt to get the job done, we become our own enemies and shoot ourselves in the foot because we feel we are not ready, refuse to take risks or embrace new challenges.

  1. Never underestimate the power of visibility

Visibility has become very vital in career, business, social networks, among others. Businesses continue to invest efforts in advertising, branding, and digital marketing, in a singular bid to remain visible. In today’s world, being good at your job will not guarantee you career success. You need to network with key people to help you get ahead in your career. You may miss out on opportunities despite your hard work, skills or experiences if you fail to build relationships with the people who matter.

Most of us feel uncomfortable taking credit for our work or promoting ourselves. We prefer to stay “low key’’ or assume a more passive position at the workplace. These days, visibility can give you that big break you need and it is essential for us to leverage on that as professionals. So how can we become visible? We need to build strong connections, contribute to projects, participate in stakeholder engagements, and find ways to represent your company at events, conferences etc.

  1. Collaboration and partnerships

There’s an Akan proverb which literally translates to “It’s easy to break a single broomstick but not a bunch”. We cannot underestimate the power of collaboration. What you might not be able to achieve as an individual or even take longer to achieve, can be much easier when you work with a team. Recently, the company I work with organized an event and we were able to pull it off successfully because we worked as a team. Teamwork makes the dreamwork and if we understand the power of collaboration, there’s so much we can achieve in our career.

(to be continued)

>>>Connect with Nana Akua Frimpomaa Amofa via Instagram/Twitter: @missamofa, LinkedIn: Nana Akua Frimpomaa Amofa, Email: [email protected]

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