Management Lessons is a weekly column that will highlight strategy tips from your favorite career women on television.
She was, for sure, the most organized of the Friends gang and was often dubbed the mother hen of the group, though it should be noted her organization bordered on the OCD level by the end of the show. But, in addition to being a great friend, the only woman who was really right for the enigma that is Chandler Bing and an aunt, she was also a career woman. Monica started off the series as a chef at an upscale restaurant. During the second season she was fired. For a few years she toiled around with the catering business (after that great stint as a roller-skating waitress at the Moondance Diner), even collaborating with her friend Phoebe for a bit, before landing a head chef position at another restaurant. Let’s take a look at what we can learn from our little Harmonica.
1) Do take a job your mother set up because you may get to meet Tom Selleck as a result: After Monica is fired she takes some gigs as a caterer, including one her mother set up with their old friend, Dr.Richard Burke. Of course, you won’t always get to meet someone as charming and handsome as Tom Selleck but the lesson here is don’t turn down opportunities just because your mom was involved.
2) Do be firm with people who need it: When Monica is working as a caterer she lands a few gigs for a series of funerals. One of the widows refuses to pay her and Monica feels too bad to demand money from someone who just lost her husband despite the fact that she is singing show tunes during the funeral reception. With a little help from Phoebe, Monica lays down the law with the widow and gets her money. And then in a really classy move, she distributes her cards to the rest of the funeral attendees. Always be networking!
3) Do show everyone who is boss, but not with your unemployed actor friend who needs money: When Monica gets a new job as head chef at a restaurant, she quickly realizes that all of her employees hate her and show no respect for her (they lock her in a closet at one point). To show them that she will actually fire one of them if they continue that behavior she fake hires Joey so she can fake fire him. However Joey, of course, becomes super popular and likes the money (seriously how did Joey afford to live? Did Chandler pay for everything?) so he begs her not to fire him but she ends up doing it.From that episode:
MONICA: What the hell happened?
JOEY: I am so-so-so sorry. I was gonna do it! Really! But I was standing there with 327 dollars in one hand and 238 dollars in the other hand, and I was thinking, “Wow! It’s been a long time since I had… 327 + 238 dollars!”
MONICA: Joey, we had a deal. That-that’s why you’re here! I’ve got to fire you!
JOEY: And I gotta pay rent! Look, how-how about this? You don’t fire me, instead I stay here, I gain their trust, and they’ll start listening to all the nice things I’ve been saying about you.
MONICA: What kinda things have you been saying?
JOEY: Well nothing yet, they really hate you and I want to fit in.
4) Embrace the fact that you are a crazy, obsessive neat-freak: One of my favorite episodes is the one where Rachel moves out of the apartment because Chandler is moving in with Monica. Rachel is reluctant to move and is completely not packed so she tricks Monica into thinking she did this on purpose as a final moving gift for Monica. Monica falls for it because she loves to organize and pack things and shouts boldly, “Alright! I’ll be coordinator!” To everyone else this seems funny, but this is what Monica does best and loves so she takes charge. Watch the hilarious clip here.
5) Marry Chandler Bing: Not really a career move, but he was always my favorite!