[Image from Wikipedia.com]
I recently watched the new comedy film The Intern with Anne Hathaway and Robert De Niro. It made me laugh…and cry. (Grabs a tissue.) But most significant to note, it sparked a few realizations about careers, life and everything that comes up somewhere in the middle. Here are a few reflections I had on the movie. I promise I will not try to spring any spoiler alerts on you. I’ll keep it vague enough to not give anything away but convincing enough to make you want to go out and see it.
I’ll give a quick summary (again…without all the details) to make this easier to follow. Robert De Niro’s character, Ben, is a retired widower who is getting a little bored with life as a retiree. He loves the grandkids and traveling but is looking for something a bit more stimulating to do day to day. He hears of an opening for a Senior Intern at Jules’ (Anne Hathaway’s character) e-commerce fashion company “About the Fit”. He applies, is granted an interview and presto…gets the internship. Then the rest is history. Okay, actually I’m trying to say that for the rest you need to go out and see the movie! 🙂
So on to my reflections…
Retirement is a real thing.
I mean like…for real. I think as I’ve become older I’ve become more afraid of it. Retirement might just be the adult equivalent to the boogie man when you were little. Or your mom making you go to the dentist. And note that this ending will not result in a new glittery toothbrush. I digress. We’ll get more into “The Big R” in a future post.
Ready or not, the time will come to retire and the timing of when that will happen depends on each person’s preparation. But regardless, you better be ready when the time comes. I love H&M and all but I’ll be darned if I’m 90 years old folding striped v-necks and dressing the mannequins for Fall’s hottest looks. Translation: I need to put my plan into over drive so I don’t end up working later than I’d like. I’m trying to channel Ben’s character…work (preferably volunteer) only if I’m trying to keep myself busy. Not to scrape for Post-Corporate America change.
Professionalism is contagious. Practice it in the workplace if you’d like to see more of it.
So Ben’s character is obviously more experienced than his millennial colleagues. He’s already had a corporate career and mastered the 9-5 routine. Throughout the movie he teaches a few of the young men in the office various lessons like how to dress professionally, dealing with love in the workplace and a few other lessons from the older but wiser.
It’s always nice to have more professional minded people in the workplace. The person that dresses appropriately, thinks before they speak, actually works the 8 hours they get paid for (side note…we’re all entitled to those 5 minute “brain breaks” when needed), etc. We all need to be reminded that the work place is exactly that – a place of work, a professional establishment. So coming in with your gym clothes on or rocking your bed hair probably isn’t the greatest look. Again, more on that in a future post. But for now, I’ll commend Ben’s character for serving as a gentle reminder.
Career growth may present conflicts with your personal life. Know what you are or are not willing to sacrifice and act accordingly.
With Ben’s wisdom comes the task of helping Jules through some very challenging career decisions which have a direct affect on her family life. Jules, like many career minded women, wants it all. Though she is reminded that her husband and young daughter at home may be feeling neglected as a result of her drive. Ben helps guide her through the balance of the two while she shares a few emotional moments with him.
I don’t have a family yet but I pray that I have a few things mastered in my career by then. I would hate to work overtime only to come home late to hear some little person’s stomach rumbling in the bed due to a lack of dinner. 🙁 Okay, so maybe I’m exaggerating a bit. But seriously, career choices can be more crucial once you have a family or any other significant external obligation for that matter. Being able to make those tough decisions for the interests of all those involved is key.
Owning your own business may not always be glamorous but the rewards could far outweigh the trials.
I think anyone that has seen the movie would agree, Jules was a real boss! (Like literally and figuratively that is.) She rode around the office on a snazzy bike (you have to see it to believe it) while sporting the trendiest office wear. Not to mention when she needed to go out and about on business a sporty Audi truck equipped with a driver would be outside waiting for her. Sounds amazing, right? Well they also showed scenes where she was working late at the office. Or had to turn down dinner dates with her husband and friends because she had work to catch up on. Being the boss is great but also means you have to put in more challenging work to hold the title.
I hope to one day be a certified boss just like Jules. But I realize that may mean having to work the weekends. Or excuse myself from the Thanksgiving dinner table to prep for a deadline or close a deal. Cue in the classic phrase “comes with the territory”. Though I imagine seeing the fruits of my labor will probably bring a priceless feeling of satisfaction. Much like that which Jules experienced as she saw her brand continue to grow and was able to hire amazing people like our buddy Ben.
Let me know if you’ve had a chance to see the movie and what your thoughts are. If you haven’t, I hope this post encourages you to go check it out.