Career Talk

/ 3 years ago /

 Article by April Roach

6 films that teach us something about the highs and lows of working life

This article was written by a member of the Debut Student Publisher Network. Sometimes we need to look onscreen for the best guidance. Debut writer April tell us what lessons we can learn from these inspirational career films.

Looking for a job or trying to ‘make it’ in your career, can be a challenging journey. There’s nothing like taking a break and seeing your struggles reflected back to you on the big screen. Whether it’s a ridiculous comedy or a heart-breaking true story, here’s a small selection of some of the many inspirational career films out there, that can teach us a lesson or two about the highs and low of working life.


The Devil Wears Prada

Inspiring career films

We’ve all been there. The job we didn’t necessarily want to take but we needed the money or the impossible, demanding boss who is impervious to the pain they inflict.

The Devil Wears Prada presents us with the ultimate difficult boss and determined worker dynamic. Andy Sachs, takes a job at Runway, a fashion magazine, as the famous Miranda Priestly’s assistant. It’s the job that ‘millions of girls would kill for’ but it’s not where Andy wants to be, as an aspiring journalist. Nevertheless, she shows us how to survive in a working environment where you have no knowledge of the industry.

How far are we willing to go for your career? Is it right to change everything about yourself for a job? How much choice goes into choosing the lumpy blue sweater you throw on in, in the morning? These are just a few of the pertinent questions the film throws at us.


The Intern

Inspiring career films

If you’ve ever done work experience or been an intern, you’ll know how difficult it can be entering a new workspace at the bottom of the heap.

The basic premise, of a retired business owner landing an internship at a fashion website run by a talented, career-driven woman is not entirely gripping. However, what makes The Intern worth watching is the relationship between widower Ben Whittaker and the CEO of the company Jules Ostin.

Whittaker, sits at his desk on his first day, over dressed, with little knowledge of how to work the Apple Mac laptop in front of him. Meanwhile, his boss who is set on ignoring him. Yet somehow, he turns his situation around. He gets a handle on the technology in the office, makes friends with everyone and eventually becomes an indispensable intern to Jules.


Erin Brokovich

Inspiring career films

This biographical film is the true story of Erin Brokovich. Ably played here by Julia Roberts, she fought against the energy corporation Pacific Gas and Electric Company while working in a small law company. There’s a lot of lessons we can learn from Erin. For example, she shows that sometimes being yourself is important than having fellow colleagues like you. Or, how to overcome personal issues at home, and financial pressures, to succeed in a highly demanding job.

And finally, how to be fierce and strong in the face of massive opposition. With the rest of her partners, Erin is relentless in her campaign against Pacific, determined to do all she can to gain compensation for those affected by Pacific’s poisonous water.


Horrible Bosses

Inspiring career films

If you’re feeling like a good laugh or require an example of exactly not what to do when dealing with a difficult employer, then Horrible Bosses is an essential watch. With a surprisingly good sequel, Horrible Bosses, manages to teach us one good lesson. It shows that sometimes when your bosses are that horrible, there’s always the option of quitting, starting your own business and becoming your own boss.


The Pursuit of Happyness

Inspiring career films

The Pursuit of Happyness is another intriguing biographical film. It tells the amazing rags-to-riches story of entrepreneur Chris Gardner. The heartwarming film shows the extraordinary strength of a man, who must overcome homelessness and look after his young son, keeping up appearances while competing against 20 interns for a paid position as a broker.


The Wolf of Wall Street

inspirational career films

Not quite comedy, not quite drama. The Wolf of Wall Street is the incredible story based on the real-life experiences of New York stockbroker, Jordan Belfort. It’s well worth watching because, well, you know – Leonardo DiCaprio. But if you need more reason than that, it’s important to hear the ambitious career stories that fail, as well as the ones that succeed.

For Jordan Belfort, it’s corruption, drug and alcohol abuse and a whole lot of other factors that warn against greed. Success is not just about how much our salary is, but it’s also about remaining humble and maintaining a sense of integrity in whatever you do.

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