I am wondering what "If I had anything to do with it" means in the following sentences:

‘Er – no,’ Hannah says. And then, quickly, ‘But as I say, we’re so out of the loop we wouldn’t know anywhere, even if it’s the place to go.’

She’s kind, Hannah. That is one of the things I know about her. It sort of . . . spills out of her. I remember meeting Hannah for the first time and thinking: oh, that’s who Charlie wants. Someone nice. Someone soft, and warm. I’m too much for him. I’m too angry, too driven. He would never have picked me.

I’m not envious of Hannah any more, I remind myself. Charlie might once have been the sailing club hottie but he’s softened now, a paunch where that flat brown stomach used to be. And he’s settled in his career, too. If I had anything to do with it he’d be gunning for a deputy head position. There’s nothing less sexy than a lack of ambition, is there?

  • Lucy Foley, The Guest List, Chapter 14

This is a thriller novel published in 2020 in the United Kingdom. One hundred and fifty guests would be gathering at some remote and deserted fictional islet called Inis an Amplóra off the coast of the island of Ireland to celebrate the wedding between Jules (a self-made woman running an online magazine called The Download) and Will (a celebrity appearing in a TV show program called Survive the Night). The day before the actual wedding day, during the rehearsal dinner, Jules sees Hannah, who is Charlie's wife. Jules once had a crush on Charlie when she was sixteen, and was secretly envious of Hannah for having married to Charlie, who once worked as a sailing instructor and is now working as a geography teacher for fifteen-year-old students. (The narrator here is Jules.)

In this part, I am wondering what "If I had anything to do with it" means here.

Would it perhaps mean that "If I [Jules] were in the position of being able to control/affect Charlie's career"...? (This is just my wild guess.)

In short, I am wondering what "it" indicates, and what "have anything to do with" means in this context.

1 Answer 1


"It" is Charlie's career. To 'have anything to do with (something)' means 'to be involved or connected with (something)' It can be used to discuss a hypothetical or possible situation where someone is involved with something.

In this case, the narrator ("I") is saying that if she were (hypothetically) Charlie's wife (instead of Hannah) then she would be pushing Charlie to seek promotion to a higher grade teaching job ('Deputy Head'). She says that nothing is 'less sexy' than lack of ambition (that Charlie lacks ambition). Thus she is revealed to the reader to be 'pushy'. The adjective 'sexy' does not necessarily mean 'erotic' here; it can be used to mean 'exciting' or 'attractive' in a general sense.

We can also say what would happen in a possible future situation in this way: Will the meal tonight be burned? Not if I have anything to do with it!

be to do with
chiefly British

2: to relate to or involve (someone)
That's your problem: It's nothing to do with me!

Merriam-Webster Dictionary

  • Dear Michael Harvey, thank you very much for the explanation! So Jules is saying that if she were Charlie's wife, she would have pushed Charlie to seek a higher position than merely remaining at his current position as a geography teacher. I sincerely appreciate your help. :) Commented Apr 19, 2021 at 9:40

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