Warning: this blog post contain spoilers from season 3 of House of Cards. If you haven’t seen the entire season run, consider yourself warned.
In season 3 of House of Cards, we find First Lady Claire Underwood seeking the UN ambassadorship to the United States. Upon announcing her nomination, she experiences extreme pushback based on lack of experience and appearance of nepotism among other issues. The Senate does not confirm her nomination, but she’s appointed by the President during a Senate recess (yes, this has happened). Things don’t go exactly as planned and she’s forced to resign.
This particular story arc leads to this question: Why would Claire go after a job she’s not qualified for? I don’t think there’s a simple answer to this. It’s been said that she wasn’t satisfied with “just being a First Lady”. While we don’t have much of a back story into why she wanted the UN ambassadorship, we do know that Claire is very ambitious and knows that as long as she has that and a brain, she can do whatever the heck she wants.
I’m not suggesting that we all go after jobs we’re not qualified for. However I wonder if Claire is on to something. When it comes to our own career development, just how far are we willing to go to get that desired position? For the Underwoods, it may take lying, manipulation and (spoiler alert) murder. For association professionals, it may raising your profile through conference presentations or shifting from a specialist role to a management role. Whatever it is for you, there’s an important lesson to be learned from the Claire debacle: wanting a particular position and actually having the ability to do said position are two different things. Know which side of the fence you’re on.