Careers and Movies

Career counselling advice doesn’t have to come from the usual sources, but can be found in film if you know where to look. Films are full of career development observations, which can assist us in developing more satisfying careers. Indeed I wonder given the plethora of careers advice in film whether all those script writers and movie directors are not really seeking a more glamorous life as Career Development specialists. Here are just a few examples of what I am talking about.
If you are concerned that you are getting nowhere with your executive coaching, then Woody Allen’s insight in Annie Hall, “I’ve been going to my therapist for 15 years and just whined” may resonate with you. Clearly here Allen is rueing the unethical practice of stringing out clients in endless sessions that benefit the coaches hip-pocket more than you.
Job hunters have a rich array of films to choose from if they need inspiration or advice. I always start my job hunters off with the keen observations made in that career development classic, The Wizard of Oz. Readers will be no doubt familiar with Munchkin Land which of course is a thinly disguised commentary on the occasional practice of some employers to gild the lily in describing their workplaces. This is a land where everything is larger or smaller than life and everything is depicted in lurid bright colours. Indeed it reminds me a lot of some of those job advertisements from one-eyed employers who think they are offering you a truly magical experience. Of course when you arrive at work you realise like Dorothy “that this isn’t Kansas”! Indeed the tag line from the 1939 movie could even serve as a modern employers enticement “Gaiety! Glory! Glamour!”
If you are looking for a riposte on your way out of an interview where your CV has been questioned, you could do no better than the tag from Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid “”Not that it matters, but most of it is true.
If of course your fate is to be a politician dealing with malcontent backbenchers, perhaps you would identify with the tag “Unspeakable Horrors From Outer Space Paralyze the Living and Resurrect The Dead!” from that unspeakable shocker from the 1950s… no the other one…”Planet 9 from outer space”
While we are on the subject, the tag lines from the movie The Wild Bunch seem to have been exceptionally prescient advice for our former government. The tag lines to that movie were: “Unchanged men in a changing land. Out of step, out of place and desperately out of time” and “Nine men who came too late and stayed too long…” If only the former federal ministers had spent more time at the National Film and Sound Archive, their own career development issues might be less pressing today.
Graduates can sometimes be pampered by keen employers, and perhaps inevitably a whole film was devoted to their career development, and I am not talking about Slackers but the movie with the tag line “This is Benjamin. He’s a little worried about his future”, indeed the whole film, The Graduate by Mike Nichols is worth a look.
Proud parents with lofty expectations for their offspring, might find inspiration from the tagline “From the day he is born, Patrick Smash baffles his family and teachers alike with his special gift” from the art house movie Pantalon de tomberre aka Thunderpants!
There is also help for career coaches to be found in films, and I have certainly seen clients who fit the tag from Five Easy Pieces “He Rode The Fast Lane On The Road To Nowhere.” Plus there are plenty of occupations that have been well-captured in movies. For instance, how about “Lie. Cheat. Steal. All In A Day’s Work.” from Glengarry Glen Ross which might prove to be a useful movie experience for ICAC executives. Surely all second-hand car sales people will relate to “Everything is suspect…everyone is for sale…and nothing is what it seems.” From L.A. Confidential.
Finally, movie critics also have transferable skills in career development. Is it just me, or can you see that there is a glorious future for Margaret Pomerantz and David Stratton from the ABC’s At the movies beckoning in Executive coaching? I can see them now sitting on an interview panel, giving your performance ratings out of 5.