Going to the movies is fantastic because it provides a very strong sense of escapism. Sitting down and existing outside of the real world for an hour or two can be nice. However, if you’re looking for a movie that can do that and also motivate you in your career, we’ve got a list for you! These movies all center around the protagonists career, and how they deal with various trials and tribulations throughout. Many of them teach great career and job search lessons, so check out the full list below!
1. The Pursuit of Happyness
The Pursuit of Happyness (2006) is centered around the true story of Chris Gardner, played by Will Smith. Gardner is a man who is down on his luck. He has invested most of his life savings in a product he is having trouble selling, and it has begun to affect his marriage and quality of life. After meeting a stockbroker, he sets his sights on becoming one to provide for his son. It’s an amazing story of how Gardner was able to beat almost insurmountable odds. If you’ve ever felt like everything is working against you, this movie shows how to push back. We all have obstacles in our careers, but compared to Gardner’s, yours may seem slightly more manageable!
2. Up In The Air
Up In The Air (2009) is a very unique movie in that it captures a very specific time in the workforce. It captures the early 2000s where many companies were downsizing and laying off employees. Ryan Bingham, the protagonist of the film, works for an HR consulting firm, and flies from place to place, firing people for managers who can’t do it themselves. All the while, Bingham preaches his ‘backpack’ philosophy, about how people and relationships drag us down. However, as he spends more time with his young and energetic coworker Natalie Keener, (expertly played by Anna Kendrick) he begins to doubt his own philosophy. The film catalogs the journey of a man who throws himself completely into his work, and comes out unsatisfied. It’s a testament to the importance of a healthy balance of both work and life.
3. The Intern
Not to be confused with 2013’s The Internship, The Intern (2015) is an incredibly entertaining movie that illustrates the clash between the new and old philosophies of work. 70 year old Ben Whittaker (Robert De Niro) is bored in retirement, and decides to apply for a senior internship. He lands the position, and begins working at a trendy fashion startup, very different from his previous job. The young and casually dressed male workers at the company are shocked to find out that Whittaker shaves every morning, and wears a suit every day. This clash of work mentality is great fun, and it’s interesting to see the dynamic unfold. It all goes to show, even if you’re not sure you’ll fit in at a company, being different can be a huge benefit. The on screen dynamic between him and the young CEO (Anne Hathaway) is great as well!
4. The Devil Wears Prada
It seems Anne Hathaway has made it onto the list twice, but I couldn’t go without including The Devil Wears Prada (2006) on this list. Hathaway stars as Andy, a young aspiring journalist who recently graduated from Northwestern University. Although she is a far cry from fashionista, she lands a job working for Miranda Priestly (Meryl Streep), the Editor in Chief of the fashion magazine ‘Runway’. Streep’s Priestly is likely a parallel of Vogue’s Anna Wintour, and she is incredibly tough to work for. Her specificity tests the patience of Andy, but she persists. If you thought your boss was hard to work for- think again. It’s a great story of perseverance and sticking true to your core beliefs- even when you feel pressure to sacrifice them in your career.
5. Jerry Maguire
Jerry Maguire (1996) stars Tom Cruise in the titular role, as a successful sports agent who has a crisis of conscious. One late night he realizes that the industry has moved towards dishonesty and volume instead of being genuine and giving the athletes individual attention. He pens out a new mission statement which he brings to work, and is subsequently fired. He is only able to convince one coworker, and a wide receiver to work with him after his departure. His relationship with the wide receiver (Cuba Gooding Jr.) is tenuous at times, but eventually they discover that they make a great pair. The film highlights the importance of not getting fixated on money and profit- as you lose sight of the people involved, the value of what you provide deteriorates.
That’s it for our 5 movie picks to motivate you in your career! Movies can be a great escape, but they can also provide valuable lessons and motivation. Do you have any other suggestions that were left off the list? Let us know in the comments!