What Four of Your Favorite Movie Characters Can Teach You About Starting a New Job
Few things are more nerve-racking than starting a new job. You desperately want to prove yourself, yet you have no idea what you’re doing. You want to seem capable and autonomous, but you have to ask questions about everything from the company’s quarterly goals to the location of the bathroom key (seriously, what are quarterly goals?). All workplace dynamics are still a mystery to you; you don’t know who can be trusted or who the office gossip is.
Fortunately, movies can be a great resource for strategies on dealing with the stresses of your first job. Here are four famous movie leads and what they can teach you about surviving your first few weeks on the job.
Don’t be afraid to look a little silly. – Bridget Jones, Bridget Jones’s Diary
As the new guy or gal, you’re going to make mistakes. Things won’t go smoothly at first, and you may even look a little silly as you fumble your way through the first couple weeks at the office. Hopefully not crash-your-butt-into-the-camera-on-live-TV silly, but even if you do find yourself partially exposed as you slide down a fireman’s pole, do as Bridget did: straighten your suit and crush that next assignment. A mistake can be embarrassing, but it’s also an opportunity to show your manager that you’re resilient and have the capacity to grow and learn.
Sometimes a lack of resources is the best inspiration. – Billy Beane, Moneyball
You were so sure you were going to slay this new gig, but now you’re looking at your budget and thinking they should have hired a magician. Billy Beane felt the same way, but then he ate a few Twinkies, crunched some numbers and revolutionized the MLB scouting process. The A’s ultimately lost in the postseason, but not before winning 20 consecutive games. The point? Limitations often lead to history-making innovation. Use a lack of resources, tech issues or a short staff to demonstrate to your boss just how creative and resourceful you are.
Get a lay of the land before busting out the big ideas. – Tess McGill, Working Girl
Tess marched into that Manhattan office with big hair and even bigger aspirations. She’d done her research and was ready to make her mark, but she spoke up before knowing who she could trust. That wormy Katherine Parker STOLE Tess’s big idea after telling her it wouldn’t fly with the higher-ups. It all worked out in the end (cue the Carly Simon power ballad), but Tess might have had an easier (albeit less entertaining) time if she’d hung back and observed office politics before unveiling her winning proposal. The takeaway? Come to the table with a fresh perspective, but get a lay of the land before introducing a big idea or new concept.
Remember that you were hired for a reason. – Andy Sachs, The Devil Wears Prada
In one particularly excruciating scene, Miranda told Andy that she hired her because she was the “smart, fat girl.” Ouch. What we’d like to think Miranda was trying to say was that she worked with enough cookie cutter fashion plates with perfect hair and designer shoes. Andy had spunk and intelligence, which made her a great addition to the Runway team. Just like Andy, you were chosen by the hiring manager for a reason. (Let’s just hope your boss has better communication skills.) If you catch yourself feeling out of place or like a clueless rookie, remember that were hired for your unique talents and deserve your spot on the payroll.
Jenessa Connor is a Brooklyn-based freelance writer and young adult author. If you don’t find her in front of her computer, check the local movie theaters and restaurants, Prospect Park or the gym at CrossFit 718.