Worker Shares The 11 ‘Problematic’ Things She Did To Get Ahead In Her Career That Have Nothing To Do With Actual Work

Literally, fake it 'til you make it.

woman at desk Andrea Piacquadio / Pexels 

The corporate world can be a competitive environment, where everyone is trying to make an impact and find success. While it might seem difficult to make a lasting impression with so many people vying for space, influencer and marketing professional Courtney Johnson revealed tips and tricks she used to build herself up and find just that.

“Cancel me, call me fake, whatever, I don’t care,” Johnson said. “These are the most unhinged things I’ve done to get ahead in my career.”




The content creator shared 11 ‘problematic’ things she did to get ahead in her job that had nothing to do with work.

1. Filled her calendar with fake meetings.

She filled her calendar with fake work meetings, explaining, “I want people to think I’m busy but I also don’t want people to schedule time with me.”


In faking her schedule, Johnson sent out the message that she was busy and that her time was valuable. She essentially curated her workplace persona to be someone who was always in demand.

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2. Wore fake glasses.

“I wear fake glasses because they make me look smarter,” she shared.

Worker Shares The 11 Problematic Things She Did To Get Ahead In Her Career Photo: Andrea Piacquadio / Pexels 


Johnson played on the stereotype that people who wear glasses are more intelligent, using subliminal messaging in her favor.

3. Branded herself as a thought leader.

“Very early on in my career, I branded myself as ‘a thought leader’ and built a personal brand around being a thought leader, even though I had no business doing so,” Johnson explained. 

She took the adage “Fake it ‘til you make it” and did exactly that. She took the knowledge that she had and packaged it in a way to stand out from the crowd as an individual, someone whose opinion is worth knowing. 

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4. Made up one interesting fact about herself.

Johnson gave her hot take on a key interview technique: Make up something interesting about yourself to tell people in interviews. She explained that she made up an “absurd” fact about herself so people would remember her.

“I would be like, ‘I grew up on a farm, or I used to be a clown.’ None of that’s true,” she said.

Worker Shares The 11 Problematic Things She Did To Get Ahead In Her Career Photo: Karolina Grabowska / Pexels 


5. Used Google to find answers to easy questions.

“If you can Google it, absolutely do not ask it,” she advised. “You’re gonna look dumb. Google it and pretend that you know it.”

This tactic is another example of faking it till she makes it, quite literally.

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6. Remembered kids and pets’ names.

Johnson also advised remembering the names of people’s kids and pets and asking for them by name. 

“It’s going to make everybody like you,” she said. 

Worker Shares The 11 Problematic Things She Did To Get Ahead In Her Career Photo: Ono Kosuki / Pexels 


7. Used friends as referrals. 

“If you didn’t like your boss at your previous job, or if they didn’t like you, just tell people that one of your friends was your boss, and have them call to do the whole referral thing,” she said.

8. Job hopped.

You need to job hop,” she said. “Job hop when you have nothing left to learn at the company or when there’s no way you’re gonna make more money.”



While this advice seems counterintuitive to traditional guidance most of us have been given on finding and keeping work, there’s inherent value to what she said. If a job no longer serves you or your purpose, moving on to your next position isn’t such a bad thing.


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9. Worked at small companies to get titles faster.

Johnson explained that employees can get titles faster when working at smaller companies, sharing, “I was a director of an entire department because I started at companies with like, 10 people.”

10. Acted like a peer to people above her.

In another example of faking it until she made it, Johnson projected her confidence and sense of self-worth outwards, taking up space in places where she might have been denied access or agency.

“You need to act like a peer to those above you,” she said. “Yes, you should give people respect, but like, not really. Act like you’re on their level and you’ll get to their level a lot easier.”




11. Overcame imposter syndrome.

“The only way to actually overcome imposter syndrome is by finding people dumber than you that are more successful,” she said. “If you look at people and you’re like, ‘Well, they’re kinda dumb, I could do that, yeah. Facts.’”

The truth is, her advice isn't all that 'problematic.'

While Johnson frames her actions as being “problematic,” a lot of what she advises workers to do comes down to believing in themselves and their own capabilities.

By taking up space and twisting the system to work in her favor, she disrupted the established balance of power so she could get ahead. 


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Alexandra Blogier is a writer on YourTango's news and entertainment team. She covers social issues, pop culture analysis and all things to do with the entertainment industry.