4 Invaluable Career Lessons from Severus Snape

Last week, the world lost a phenomenal actor. Alan Rickman had a long career that spanned both film and stage. Known primarily for his portrayal of villainous characters, for many, Rickman will be remembered simply as Severus Snape from the Harry Potter series.

Harry Potter fans everywhere have left tribute to Rickman’s Snape, leaving flowers at the 9 ¾ platform at London’s King Cross Station, and “raising their wands” on Twitter. At Simply Hired, we mourn the loss of Rickman and his Snape, by taking a look at some of his most invaluable career advice.

You must love what you do.

Snape: “I don’t expect many of you to appreciate the subtle science and exact art that is potion-making. However for those select few… I can teach you to bewitch the mind and ensnare the senses. I can tell you how to bottle fame, brew glory, and even put a stopper in death.”

This scene is iconic. Harry Potter is about to have his first run-in with his new Potions Master, Severus Snape. Snape enters the classroom with pomp and flare and delivers a truly hypnotizing speech about potion-making. It is apparent from the first moment he appears on screen, that although Defense Against The Dark Arts might have been his first choice in subject matter, Snape truly has a passion for potions. We all can use this as a guide for our own approach to work, even if our current job is not our dream job.

Always stand by your word

Snape: “Has it ever crossed your brilliant mind that I don’t want to do this anymore?”

Dumbledore: “Whether it has or it hasn’t is irrelevant; you gave me your word.”

Snape has agreed to kill the man who has become his mentor and friend. It is for the betterment of the wizarding world, but as would anyone, Snape does not want to have to complete such a horrific task. However he has given Dumbledore his word. He must follow it through, and he does. At work you are only as good as your word. People can only respect someone whom they trust, so do all in your power to stand by your own word.

Sometimes you have to do things that you don’t want to

Beatrix Lestrange: “Will you, Severus Snape, watch over Draco Malfoy, as he attempts to fulfill the Dark Lord’s wishes?”

Severus Snape: “I will.”

Beatrix Lestrange: “And will you, to the best of your ability, protect him from harm?”

Severus Snape: “I will.”

Beatrix Lestrange: “And if Draco should fail, will you yourself carry out the deed the Dark Lord has ordered Draco to perform?”

Severus Snape: “I will.”Draco Malfoy is still young and has been given the near impossible task of killing Albus Dumbledore, his former headmaster at school in order to help save the Wizarding World. Snape agrees to step in and protect Malfoy from any backlash that could come his way if unable to accomplish his horrible goal. Snape does not want to kill Dumbledore, but he knows that he must accomplish this task despite his own feelings. Now, if your job requires that you actually kill someone, then it’s probably time to reevaluate your priorities. However, for us Muggles, there will be plenty of times that you are called upon to do something at work that you don’t want to, whether it be something boring or something you just don’t enjoy. Take a cue from Snape and soldier through.

Always approach work with confidence

Snape: “That is the second time you have spoken out of turn, Miss Granger. Tell me, are you incapable of restraining yourself, or do you take pride in being an insufferable know-it-all?”

In this classroom interaction with Hogwarts’ resident genius Hermione Granger, Snape rather rudely puts her in her place. We don’t recommend treating people with such blatant contempt or malice in the office, however there is a benefit to approaching your work with confidence. Snape knew that he was in charge of the room and that he must maintain control and order. You must go into work every day and confidently approach your work to deliver your best product or service.

If you are a Harry Potter fan, you know that there are many characters to admire throughout JK Rowling’s epic tale. Severus Snape may have been one of the more mysterious, but he was nonetheless a role model in his own right. Rest in peace, Snape and Alan Rickman.