Who knew that the silver screen can sub in for your trusted career counselor? Long a favorite trope of Hollywood, office-based comedies are not only hilarious and entertaining—if you pay close enough attention, you’ll find that they’re filled with incredibly insightful lessons about surviving and thriving in the workplace.
Below, we list down a few of our favorite office movies and the career truths we’ve learned from them. Let us know your favorite picks in the comments!
Synopsis: Fresh out of university, the young and naive Andy Sachs (Anne Hathaway) enters the fast-paced world of fashion magazines as an assistant to the high-powered Runway editor-in-chief Miranda Priestly (Meryl Streep). As she learns how to meet Miranda’s increasingly demanding standards, Andy is forced to confront just how far she’s willing to go and what she’s willing to sacrifice to climb the career ladder.
Takeaway: You are not your job.
Underneath the chic costumes and the hilariously bitchy quips, The Devil Wears Prada is at its core a film about work-life balance. In a world where we tend to get carried away in the hustle of the rat race, sometimes it’s good to remind yourself of your personal values and the things that truly matter. Remember: your job doesn’t define your worth.
Synopsis: Aspiring television producer Becky (Rachel McAdams) finally gets her big break as the head producer of DayBreak, a struggling morning talk show. Armed with guts and a fresh perspective, she soon breathes new life into the show with millennial-forward talking points and out-of-the-box viral segments.
Takeaway: Think outside the box.
Don’t be afraid to bring new ideas to the table! To achieve true success, sometimes you have to work beyond the limits of how things are done and explore how it can be done. Feeling stuck in a career slump? Try approaching your workload from a totally different point-of-view.
Synopsis: When ambitious secretary Tess (Melanie Griffith) finds out that her boss Katherine (Sigourney Weaver) has been stealing her ingenious business ideas, she decides to take matters into her own hands. With a new business-ready makeover, she sets out to impersonate the out-of-town Katherine and land a merger that could fast-track her career.
Takeaway: Take initiative.
You know what they say: a rolling stone gathers no moss. It won’t bode well for anyone to just sit back and wait for success to come to your feet—instead, actively find ways to achieve your career goals. Of course, breaking into your boss’ apartment and helping yourself to her closet of designer clothes is totally illegal, but you get our drift.
Synopsis: Fed up with the constant stream of abuse they’re forced to put up with, financial executive Nick (Jason Bateman), dental assistant Dale (Charlie Day), and account manager Kurt (Jason Sudeikis) hire a hitman to assassinate their bosses. Hilarious hijinks ensue.
Takeaway: Find a strong support system.
We’re obviously not suggesting you attempt to murder your misbehaving boss—felonies are always an absolute no-no. But when the going gets tough, it helps to have a few friends in the office to commiserate with. Surround yourself with positive-minded coworkers who support and uplift you. They’ll come in handy the next time you flunk a presentation or miss a deadline.
Synopsis: Feeling bored and restless during retirement, 70-year-old Ben (Robert de Niro) applies as a “senior” intern to Jules (Anne Hathaway), the 30-year-old CEO of a fast-growing e-commerce company. The two soon forge a strong friendship, bonding over how they both find themselves in unexpected positions of success career-wise.
Takeaway: Don’t limit yourself.
Think you’re too young to establish your own company, or too inexperienced to land your dream job? Think again. Remember: you’re only as good as you believe you are. Start taking more chances and open yourself to opportunities you never would have considered for yourself. Sometimes, the best career boost you can get is to start believing in yourself.
As we enter the fifth month of quarantine restrictions, it may seem like it gets harder and harder to work from home each day. Although the idea of it all may have been appealing back in the day (imagine filing reports and attending morning huddles in your pajamas!), the honeymoon has soured and the muddled distinction between work and home life may get particularly draining. After all, how do you focus on your work duties when your TV is right there begging you to go on a Netflix marathon?
Thankfully, we here at Brevo are learning to adjust to this newfangled setup. Along the way, we’ve picked up a few tips and tricks to best harness and maintain focus during work hours. Check out the productivity hacks our team members use to keep their work-from-home game on point!
“My morning routine is very important to me. If I fail to wake up at 6AM and I miss my morning run and meditation, I know my day will fall apart. I also make it a point to call my teammates at the start of the week so we can write out to-do lists together. Additionally, I’ll sometimes switch up my workstation for the day. It’s nice to have a change in scenery every now and then.”
- Imran, Director
“I make it a point to meditate first thing in the morning. In these uncertain times, taking ten minutes to stay still and breathe really makes a difference in managing my anxiety. I also start the day by writing an extensive to-do list, breaking down all my big tasks into bite-sized steps. Most importantly, I have a hard-and-fast rule about never working from my bed — I just know I’ll get way too comfortable and never get anything done.”
“It was pretty easy for me to adjust to working from home, since all I need to do my job is fast Internet and a computer. It was harder though to separate my work life from my home life. So, when I wake up I try to create some time just for myself. I often go to our garden before clocking in to breathe and mentally prepare for the day. I’ve also designated a specific workstation outside my bedroom. I think it has helped me set clear boundaries and maintain a healthy work-life balance.”
Trisha, Community Manager
“The biggest challenge was tuning out all unnecessary distractions, especially when all my video game consoles are right there. I’ve started to wake up a few hours earlier than usual so I can mentally prepare for the day and list down all of my tasks. I also moved my workstation to our living room, where my brothers are also busy working. I found that being surrounded by busy people simulates an office environment, which helps me focus and keeps me from getting distracted throughout the day.”
- Rafa, Account Executive
“I found it hard to focus at first because my mind is wired to feel at my most comfortable at home. One thing that always helps is coffee, so I make sure that I have it in the morning. I also started working by the window, a place that was both comfortable and conducive to my productivity. I don’t like spending a long amount of time staring at my screen, so I like being able to look out the window and let my eyes rest for a bit. Taking short breaks also helps in avoiding burnouts and regaining my focus. I try to stand up, walk around the house, or play with my dog for a bit every now and then.”
Carissa, Graphic Designer
Admittedly, the work-from-home isn’t perfect and can cause a lot of annoying inefficiencies. (Ever been on a Zoom call with a coworker with poor signal?) But by writing thorough to-do lists, delineating specific workstations around the house, and taking time for yourself before clocking in, you can keep a high level of productivity even from the comfort of your home.
How do you improve your focus and productivity while working from home? Sound off in the comments below!
As far as I can remember, I’ve always wanted to write. In my cringey pubescent years I filled countless journals with hastily scribbled fan fiction and angst-ridden recollections of the day. In the confusing turbulence of adolescence, there was one thing I was certain of: I loved telling stories.
This love for storytelling stuck when it came to picking a career path in university. Seduced by the sexy fast-paced world of Mad Men (then one of primetime TV’s hottest shows), I decided to enter advertising as a copywriter. I was enthralled by the way Don Draper would write a tight pitch, command a boardroom, and make a bunch of macho executives wimper with a tagline so filled with pathos and emotion — even if it was just to sell a line of disposable cameras. In my mind, I was confident that my destiny was to follow in Don’s footsteps.
That is, until I took my first university copywriting class. Now I never scored a bad grade in any of the class requirements, but I didn’t exactly excel either. When my works would merit a few appreciative nods and constructive criticism from my professor, he would shower others with heaps of praise and proclamations of their genius. Seeds of doubt began to take root in my head — maybe I was pursuing something I just wasn’t very good at?
So I settled for the next best thing. As an obnoxious stickler for organization, I decided I wanted to stay in advertising and become an accounts man. After all, I was notorious for planning over-detailed itineraries for family vacations. I convinced myself it was a perfect fit — pretty soon, as a student I landed an accounts internship at a big multinational ad agency. A year later, just two weeks after graduating I accepted a job offer as a junior accounts executive at another rising local ad agency.
Four months in, I knew something was off. On the surface, I had a great job: the office culture was warm and inviting, and my pay grade was more than sufficient for a fresh grad. Still, for some reason I found myself dreading coming into work every morning. I slowly began to realize that the accounts realm of client coordination and filing endless amounts of paperwork was maybe not for me.
Even then, there was one aspect of that job that I loved. On days before a client presentation, the team would reconvene and creatives would share their concepts with us accounts people. Watching them present incredibly ingenious ideas, I was spellbound — it was like seeing Don Draper work his magic in the flesh. More importantly, seeds of hope began to bloom inside me. Maybe, just maybe, I also had what it takes to become a creative?
A month later, I took a leap of faith and chose fulfillment over certainty. I quit my accounts job and found a gig as an editorial assistant for an online lifestyle publication. A year later, equipped with the publishing industry’s rigorous writing standards, I got a job at Brevo as a copywriter.
As cheesy as it sounds, often when it comes to major career decisions it pays to listen to your heart. Over the years I’ve learned that it is crucial to heed the call where you are needed, and where you feel needed. And hey, carpe diem — we only have one life to live, might as well do it happily!
This isn’t to say that upon getting the job of my dreams, I lived happily ever after. You know that saying that goes if you find a job you’ll love, you’ll never work a day in your life? Huge crock of rubbish. As with any other discipline, there was a steep learning curve that I worked hard to overcome. The big difference is now, when I come home after a long tiring day at work, I always feel proud of myself and each day’s little victories.
Landing the job of my dreams wasn’t a walk in the park, but it is where I feel truly fulfilled. I have no regrets. Through this journey, I learned the two most valuable lessons of my career to trust in your instincts, and to never let fear govern you.