From time to time, I receive emails from random strangers. From enquiries on who my hair stylist is, to a sad confession of having a marriage of convenience, to another offer of a penis enlargement at the price of only $99, and questions about the Advertising industry. The frivolous, the sad, the spam and the professional. I do try reply all emails worthy of my time at some point.

Today, I replied an email about the Advertising industry. You may read the original thread here.

The email got me thinking – what if my future daughter is to show an interest in my industry too? What would I say to her?

Here’s what I’d tell her.

1. I will not open doors for you. She, who does not need to find her own job, does not deserve the job at all. The sense of appreciation for earning your own keep is a precious trait that will make you stand out against your self-entitled peers.

2. You may not use my name. My name is your responsibility, not your privilege. Live up to it and make it your own. When you’re older, you’d understand how tasteless it is to name drop like some award-winning creative director of whom name I shall not mention.

3. You start from the bottom as an intern. Your lecturer lied. You’re not special. You’re not a rockstar. He needs to tell you (and 5,000 students graduating at the same time) otherwise because his salary depends on it. Unless I’m making you pay rent, you’re starting as an intern.

4. Be comfortable who you are. Your mother is living proof you can be yourself, and make a living out of it.

5. Drop that fake accent. Unfortunately for you, you do have grand aunties who took over a decade each to cultivate a British and American accent respectively. Even if I do decide to send you to our family in London to study, four freaking years do not, an accent make. Your confidence should come from your work, not your fake accent.

6. Never leave the office without asking your immediate boss if there is anything you can help him or her with. Firstly, they’d probably say no anyway, and trust me on this, they will remember you.

7. Never promise a deadline you cannot deliver. Say no. Trust takes years to build, and only seconds to ruin.

8. Never say “I’m here to learn” because all your boss will be thinking about is “Bloody hell then shouldn’t you pay me instead?” whenever you screw up. And you will screw up, I promise.

9. Take time to fall. You’re a kid. Stop pretending to be an adult. It’s ok to make mistakes, just don’t make the same mistake twice.  Your mother was given the opportunity to fall for a good ten years with great bosses pulling her up before she started her company. You need time for that, like it or not.

10.  There is such a thing as a stupid question. Do not ask a question that you can Google. Do not ask a question that does not lead to potential insights. Your questions indirectly tell your audience how intelligent or retarded you are. Please do not ever be that air-hogger in a meeting I’ve killed so many times in my mind.

11. Never underestimate the power of hard work.

12. Never mistake burning late nights for excellence. Work smart.

13. The holy trinity of attitude, intelligence and diligence is the same reason why an Agency will pay top dollar for you.

14. You cannot eat your name card. Do not be swayed by a fancy title at the wrong salary range or age. No, you are not worthy of being a Principal Consultant at an age of 26. I am saving you from embarrassment by telling you so.

15. If you don’t want to be treated like a dog, stop waiting for orders. Always share your point of view and ask for feedback, than to sit around waiting for an order. You’d be surprised how many of your peers do the latter.

16. Keep your knees together. I’m perfectly fine if you find love in your workplace but please do not sleep your way to the top. It’s not strategic. A prostitute technically does earn more than you in a shorter period of time. And for the record, if that happens, you’re paying me back for your education. You don’t need a degree for sucking cock, do you?

17. I hate to repeat this, but if you want to be respected as a female in the industry, keep the fucking knees together. Also, it’s probably good to know that statistically speaking, a good 50% of your superiors are females with very strong values. They’re your mother’s friends.

18. Stay curious. Your downfall starts when you stop asking why.

19. Make your boss useless. You do not deserve a pay increment or a promotion until you do that. If he or she gets nervous when you go on leave, it’s time to make your move.

20. You did not invent a cure for cancer. Yes, take pride in your work, but shove that ego up your ass would you? You’re in Advertising, you’re not really saving lives as a doctor. What do you really want to do with the awards you’ve won? Put them in Smithsonian? Stay humble and you shall continue to learn. Be complacent and at some point you certainly will be fired.