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The 8 Best Career Movies of All Time

The 8 Best Career Movies of All Time

This was originally published on Brazen Life  http://blog.brazencareerist.com/2012/01/09/the-8-best-career-movies-of-all-time/

 

Ever watch a movie and think, “Oh my God, that is my LIFE?”

Yeah, that happens all the time. And especially when it comes to your career, sometimes the movies just so perfectly represent where you’re at.

In our (maybe not-so-humble) opinion, here are the eight best career movies and the crazy lessons they teach us:

1. The Devil Wears Prada

Plot: Girl gets everybody’s dream job at fashion magazine. Boss is bitch, takes over girl’s life with ridiculous demands. Girl becomes pretty, learns valuable career lesson.

Valuable career lesson: Sometimes from the outside it seems like we should take that amazing-sounding job or do that one little thing for our bosses that’s actually completely inappropriate – until one day we find out the job has completely taken over our lives. When it comes to drastic career moves, trust your gut on what feels right and what feels like too big a compromise.

2. The Pursuit of Happyness

Plot: Man who’s always struggled to make ends meet gets custody of his son, becomes homeless and manages to become a fancy pants stockbroker with a lot of determination and elbow grease.

Valuable career lesson: It’s never too late to change your career and “make something” of yourself. Also? Life is hard. Deal with it.

3. The Social Network

Plot: Facebook. ‘Nough said.

Valuable career lesson: Sell out your friends, be an asshole and you will be one of the most successful people on the planet. But that doesn’t mean you won’t Facebook-stalk your exes just like the rest of us.

4. Jerry Maguire

Plot: Sports agent has an epiphany about the future of his industry and gets fired because of it.

Valuable career lesson: It is, in fact, possible to love what you do, make a difference and have an “important” career without being a completely asshole in the process.

5. Office Space

Plot: Group of friends hate their jobs. Layoffs affect the office place. Group plants a virus to steal money from the company but it all goes horribly wrong! And by “wrong” we mean “oh-so-right.” (This is easily one of the best movies ever and so perfectly depicts what it’s like to be in a job you hate.)

Valuable career lesson: Co-workers are everything. The best thing about this movie is the cast and how the characters work together (and sometimes completely mess with each other). They teach us how you can stand even the worst job when there are awesome people involved. And also that if you don’t have awesome people, you may or may not “set the building on fire.”

6. Clerks

Plot: Classic Kevin Smith movie about two slightly obnoxious guys who work at a convenience store.

Valuable career lesson: Be nice to the people behind the counter. “Just because they serve you, doesn’t mean they like you.”

7. Up in the Air

Plot: Guy has a job that involves firing people. His home is essentially – wait for it – up in the air. He’s all lonely and empty and stuff.

Valuable career lesson: Even with a job as glamorous as constant travel, coming back to a proper home is worth more than you’d think. There’s something to be said for downtime and, as Americans, we rarely get that in the workplace. Which means home needs to be a place where you feel safe, relax and chilled out. We promise it will make you more productive and better at your job in the long run.

8. Wall Street

Plot: It’s called Wall Street, people, which means it’s even more relevant today than in 1987. Stockbroker is ambitious. Stockbroker makes a few dirty decisions.

Valuable career lesson: Don’t work on Wall Street. Greed is bad. Watch out for shady stockbroker mentors.

What awesome movies did we miss?

Marian Schembari is a blogger, traveler and all-around social media thug. She’s based in Auckland, New Zealand, hails from Connecticut and blogs at marianlibrarian.com.

Marian Schembari

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Marian is a blogger, traveler (hails from Connecticut and based in New Zealand by way of London) and social media strategist for a rad agency in Auckland. She also runs the site, marianlibrarian.com where she cuts through the BS on social media, travel, and growing up Gen Y. Marian has been featured in Real Simple magazine, TIME, Copyblogger and ABC News, as well as was named one of Writer’s Digest 101 Best Websites for Writers. You can connect with her on LinkedIn, Twitter or via her blog.

 

Brazen Life is a lifestyle and career blog for ambitious young professionals. Hosted by Brazen Careerist, we offer edgy and fun ideas for navigating the changing world of work — this isn’t your parents’ career-advice blog. Be Brazen.

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16 comments

  1. Great list! You must update and add Glen Gary Glen Ross. Could be the best of all. Very dark humor but loaded with A list actors and a great career movie.

    Thanks!
    G-saurus

  2. Marian, I live in Connecticut, spent 6 glorious weeks in New Zealand and have never been to London.

    I loved your “Valuable Career Lesson:” parts. Well done.

  3. Clerks = the last 6 years of my life in a nutshell…..always workin’ on my day off and that’s when things go downhill! XD

  4. Don’t forget “Swimming with Sharks”… I often repeat to myself “Shut up, listen, learn” and it makes perfect sense.

  5. I really enjoyed the pursuit of happyness : )
    Clerks had some insane moments….

  6. Great list. I would add “Working Girl” Melanie Griffith has to pretend to be her boss’ colleague rather than her secretary to be heard in the corporate world — something about being able to bend the rules plenty if you’re already there — a valuable lesson. Sometimes you have to reinvent yourself to succeed.

  7. You missed “Trading Places” – The Duke Brothers (Don Ameche and Ralph Bellamy)make a bet that they can turn a loser from the ghetto (Eddie Murphy) into a successful commodity trader and an ambitious, educated commodity trader (Dan Akroyd) and turn him into a criminal. How they get together and turn the tables on the Dukes and ruin their lives instead is hilarious – but there is quite an education in there about how the commodity markets work. You also missed Coming to America, the next Eddie Murphy flick of that time period (1983-ish) where an African prince comes to America to look for a wife, and works at a McDonalds’ type fast food place. Interesting view of the honest labor of the working class vs. the pampered, wasted lives of royalty. Two classics.

  8. I love Office pace! One of my all-time fave comedies.

  9. You missed Pirates of Silicon Valley, Working Girl, and the Legend of Ron Burgundy

  10. Just saw Horrible Bosses, very funny and very real, except for the plotting to kill their bosses, but the abuses do happen.

  11. Each one of the eight are epic in their own right. They all tell a different view of the job world. Thanks for sharing.

  12. While not a Devil Wears Prada fan, I would agree with the whole list. In tech and internet, The Social Network and Wall Street seem the most poignant.

  13. Off-topic:
    I get that same feeling [“Oh my God, that is my LIFE?”] when I watch Film Noir.

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