Fresh graduates who have just entered the workforce should probably consider watching (or re-watching) The Devil Wears Prada during their first free weekend. The comedy drama perfectly captures the firsthand experience of working in an esteemed company with a demanding job description. Anne Hathaway (Love & Other Drugs) portrayed the role of Andrea “Andy” Sachs, a fresh college graduate, who just landed a job as a junior personal assistant to the powerful and intimidating fashion editor-in-chief, Miranda Priestly, portrayed by Meryl Streep (The Iron Lady), of the prestigious Runway magazine. The impact of the film is still felt decades after its premiere. It was effective in making us question our career choices, and ponder if climbing the steep corporate ladder is indeed worth it in the long run. Here are five things we can learn about career decisions from The Devil Wears Prada:
5. No one is indispensable
It’s humbling to think that everybody, including the best in their job, can be replaced. This may be a difficult concept to grasp, but is real in many ways. This was also seen in the film when Andy quickly replaced her more experienced colleague, Emily, portrayed by Emily Blunt (A Quiet Place), after she got into an accident. Being aware of this harsh reality puts a lot of things in perspective. It is perfectly okay to prioritize your job and career growth, but it should not reach a point where it takes control over your life. Risking your mental and physical health for a higher paycheck or job promotion is never worth it in the end.
4. Grit will get you through the bad days
When Andy landed her high-profile job, she did not realize that it entailed a long list of qualifications. She had to wear so many different hats, and juggle a lot of tasks at the same time. It was overwhelming for a fresh graduate to say the least. The film showed how skills are honed through time, and perseverance can go a long way. Experience was an effective teacher, and Andy learned the ropes of the industry in no time. She also gained the approval of her colleagues, who were also gracious enough to give her a crash course on the cutthroat fashion world. Having the courage to face challenges, and the grit to succeed are the perfect tools you’ll need to get you through even the toughest of situations.
3. Don’t change yourself just to fit in
It is so easy to fall prey to stereotypes and labels. Fitting in seems less complicated than standing out. At the beginning, Andy was like a sore thumb that stuck out in the fashionable office of Runway magazine. She knew nothing about the do’s and don’ts of fashion, and frankly, she just did not really care. Andy was just there to do her job and fulfill her duties as a junior personal assistant. This attitude proved to be beneficial for Andy, as it served as a compass that led her back to her true self after she went astray and fell under Miranda’s heavy influence. Andy was able to snap back to reality before she totally lost herself to the overbearing world that Miranda lived in. Pretending to be somebody you’re not is like living a lie. Staying true to yourself is one of the best forms of self-love.
2. Always set boundaries
People will take advantage of you only if you allow them to. Sticking to your core beliefs and setting clear boundaries from the get-go are good ways to protect yourself. Initially, Andy relished the fact that Miranda was starting to notice her capabilities and entrust her with big responsibilities. This continued on until she felt that the values she upheld were starting to get compromised, and the important people in her life were starting to feel neglected. Miranda was a demanding boss who needed things pronto. She also valued staying on top of her career over everything else in her life, and this did not sit well with Andy over time. Boundaries help people distinguish the things that matter. Having this as a guide will help you keep yourself in check, and know when enough is enough.
1. Don’t allow your job to undermine your personal happiness
It does not matter if you have the most coveted job in the world. If it does bring happiness or a sense of joy and fulfillment into your life, then it is not worth it. Andy started out as clueless fresh graduate who was suddenly thrown into the world of high fashion. It was all exciting at first until she learned about the nasty things that people in the industry to do keep their jobs and maintain power. Andy knew that working under Miranda would totally change her in time, while also realizing that she did not like the person she was becoming. This eye-opener served as a warning, and Andy was sane enough to heed its call. Sacrificing your principles and your happiness for a glamorous job will only make you unhappy and dissatisfied at the end. Andy was brave enough to acknowledge this, and followed her heart by pursuing a less glamorous career path that she was passionate about instead.