How NOT to work, or what can you learn about your work from “Devil Wears Prada”?

February 18 2022

How NOT to work, or what can you learn about your work from “Devil Wears Prada”?

Probably most of us have seen the cult classic – “Devil Wears Prada”. You can watch it just as a comedy and not take it too seriously, but there are also lessons to be learned there. Lessons on how NOT to work. Both from the point of view of a boss and an employee. 

“Everyone wants such life. Everyone wants to be us.”

This entire story offers many moments like that (to be honest, the entire film is mostly such scenes), when the characters put their work above anything else. Leaving the table abruptly during a dinner with dad, missing your fiancées birthday party or showing up to the party with a bad cold – these are just a handful of examples. Add the rule that phone calls must be answered no later than three seconds after the phone starts ringing. Be at every beck and call, no mater the circumstances. 

It is probably a good idea to ask ourselves aren’t we sometimes like that? Probably not to the same extent as the characters, but forgoing rest, meals, relationships or sleep for work should be a warning sign for all of us. 

Remember – it’s all about the right balance. Your boss can appreciate you, even if you do not accept additional duties. Assertiveness and valuing your own time are in high demand! 

“Bore someone else with your questions.”

Such an answer can be surprising when coming from your boss. Of course, this is not the way to communicate and should never happen at the workplace  –  irrespective of any professional hierarchy. 

What lesson can be learned here? It is always better to ask, than to pretend we know and make mistakes. Even if you think that your question is the dumbest one in the history of dumb questions. If you work in a friendly work environment, such an attitude will not only be accepted, but actually encouraged! 

These might also interest you: Five Movies Realistically Depicting Office Work

“Find me the papers I had on me yesterday morning.”

In other words do the impossible. Circumstances may vary and sometimes it would probably be best just to overlook the absurdity of the request and try to show off, but it is important to set clear boundaries. Doing things that exceed your job description over and over again is probably not too good for you. 

“Flowers in spring? How original.”

Though this overly sarcastic comment is not the nicest, there is something to learn from it. The essence of what every boss expects from their employeescreativity. 

Creativity that is not just the ability to come up with a catchy slogan or a cool graphic, but also the creativity used to solve problems and predict challenges. This is something worth practicing. Various stress management exercises can be helpful here, because it is hard to think effectively when preoccupied. 

Read also: 5 rules of effective feedback 

“That is all.”

So in short… “good job”! Miranda was never overly verbose with praise. It is clearly shown in the scene where she goes through a clothes collection. A nod, a single tiny smile or a smirk. That’s all anyone needs to know her opinions. 

Do bear in mind that in real life communication is a very important thing. Criticism, feedback or praise can help people do their jobs better. At the same time, your assessment needs to focus on the job or behavior and not the person.

Still, there is a happy end to the story of the film. The main character understands what is most valuable in life and opts for a healthy balance. We should all follow her. Take care of our needs, set boundaries, while doing our job as best we can. 

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