Oprah Winfrey is a talk-show legend who hosted her own successful show called “The Oprah Winfrey Show” from 1986-2011. Her goal on the show was to solve problems that affected people on a large scale. Since,
Oprah co-founded Oxygen, Harpo Productions, a film and video company, and launched OWN (The Oprah Winfrey Network).
With an accumulated fortune of over $3.5 billion, it must take a lot of organization and foresight to keep her businesses running smoothly.
Here are 10 strict rules that Oprah’s employees must follow in order to be part of her team.
1. Sign an airtight non-disclosure agreement.
Oprah likes to keep her private life private. The people who work for her are privy to details about the mega-tycoon’s life that the general public will never know.
To keep her closest secrets confidential, Oprah has one of the best publicity and legal teams in the business. Not surprisingly, while most NDAs are time-limited, their employees must sign lifetime contracts.
In 2000, Oprah defended the restrictive gag on employees, saying, “I have to operate in an environment where I feel I can trust my employees.”
2. Safety is the highest priority. Only the best applies.
Oprah takes the security of her studio seriously. He is well aware that anyone can become a victim of a criminal with bad intentions. Its security must be the best of the best.
For that reason, the media mogul has a highly qualified security team at his disposal. But you can’t just be someone from the street. Oprah once hired Michael Jai White to be on her security team before he became the first black actor to play a superhero in “Spawn.”
White is trained in Taekwondo, Kyokushin, Jujutsu and many other martial arts. He is well qualified to put the brakes on anyone who comes for Oprah.
3. Leave the gum at home.
In 2018, Reese Witherspoon revealed that she had been chewing gum in front of Oprah on the set of “A Wrinkle in Time,” infuriating her.
Oprah later confirmed during an interview with Steven Colbert that she can’t stand being around people who chew gum. If you work for Oprah, make sure you never get caught in a bite of Double Mint.
4. Don’t misbehave or it will come for you.
Oprah is big on taking responsibility when things go wrong. When she learned of the alleged abuse at the girls’ school she opened in Africa, she apologized and begged the parents of the abused children for forgiveness.
Not only did Oprah take responsibility, but the school superintendent, Tiny Virginia Makopo, was accused of trying to kiss and fondle girls at the school. Oprah supported the young ladies throughout the process with her former employee.
Ultimately, the woman was acquitted of the crimes, and Oprah released a statement saying, “I will forever be proud of the nine girls who testified with the courage and conviction to be heard.”
After former school principal Nomvuyo Mzamane was acquitted, she sued Winfrey for defamation for claims she failed to intervene against Makopo. This case was later settled out of court.
5. Be prepared to share.
Oprah is known for remembering the names of her employees and taking a genuine interest in their lives. Many have shared that when it comes to listening when people are talking, it is top notch.
She likes to know what’s going on in the lives of the people who work for her and does what she can to help in their personal lives.
6. You cannot accept gifts from Oprah fans.
As with any influencer, fans show up at Oprah’s studios with gifts or cards in hand, hoping to give them to her.
But Oprah has a strict policy against accepting donations from the audience. In an internal list of rules for her show, she made it crystal clear that accepting anything on her behalf was out of the question.
7. You must be able to handle controversy.
Oprah is no stranger to scandal. The MeToo movement has exposed several women who were victims of the famous producer Harvey Weinstein. Oprah was accused of “dressing down” the disgraced filmmaker, sparking a firestorm.
Despite her decision not to give him a platform to defend himself against the indefensible, Oprah has been unfairly accused of helping Weinstein abuse women. As an employee, you have to be able to survive a scandal here or there and remain loyal.
8. Be prepared to be part of a lawsuit.
When you’re a public figure as big as Oprah, you can expect people to sue you for legitimate reasons or grab some of your massive fortune.
Oprah is no stranger to lawsuits. From trademark infringement to battles over her infamous non-disclosure agreements, there were plenty of legal issues to deal with. As an employee, it is entirely possible that you will be called upon to testify.
9. You have to think outside the box.
There’s no doubt that we’ve talked a lot about Oprah’s philanthropic efforts, but her giving doesn’t stop there. Oprah requires her employees to develop a holistic view of the world and set aside any preconceived notions they may have.
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In 2013, Oprah was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by Barack Obama. Part of the reason was her commitment to diversity and inclusion. It encourages its employees to engage and interact with people from different backgrounds.
10. You have to put work before motherhood.
When Oprah launched the OWN Network, the first show she premiered was “Season 25: Oprah Behind the Scenes.” In this episode, she asked the women who worked for her to talk openly about their experiences.
A large portion of the women with children in the audience, made up of Oprah’s staff, talked about the sacrifices they made to make the show a success.
They talked about the challenges they faced as working mums, with one saying: “I had to be okay with making sacrifices for work. I hope to inspire this passion in my children.”
Oprah thanked them for working long hours and sacrificing their personal lives, but made it clear that it was necessary and par for the course. If you have kids, you’ll probably need a strong support system if Oprah decides to hire you.
NyRee Ausler is a writer from Seattle, Washington and the author of seven books. It covers lifestyle and entertainment and news, as well as navigating the workplace and social issues.