After the wild success of the book version of The Devil Wears Prada, it was only a matter of time before it hit the big screen. The film stars Anne Hathaway as Andy Sachs, a young upstart journalist who winds up getting a job at the extremely popular fashion magazine Runway. She works for Miranda, the so called ‘ice-queen’ who is editor in chief at the company. The two clash, and Andy learns a lot about herself as she struggles through the new position. It’s a great career start movie, and offers some great advice for working in a hostile environment.
Dealing with a Hostile Work Environment
From the very start of Andy’s new job, it’s clear that she’s not going to get along with everyone. Her boss, Miranda, is extremely critical of her fashion sense, and constantly tests her. Her coworker Emily also is constantly harassing her. This brings about the first lesson. Persevering in the face of a hostile work environment can pay off.
This isn’t to say that you should put up with harassment and not report it to HR. However, if you have a few coworkers who don’t like you, stand up for yourself and do your best. This will always pay off, if not professionally, at least personally. Even if you don’t see a shift at work, it is valuable to get experience dealing with disagreeable people, since you will likely be encountering them throughout your life. Being someone who can work with difficult people is a good skill to have, and it also makes you a sought after team member.
If You Play With Fire…
This next thought is also a follow up to the previous: never burn bridges at work. This is something we’ve mentioned on our social media job tips, because it’s incredibly important. You never know if that person could one day be your boss, or work with you elsewhere. Whether networking or working, don’t go out of your way to sour any relationships for a petty reason. This is showcased in the film from Emily and Miranda. Andy treats Emily well despite all of her hostility. She also does her best to please Miranda despite ridiculous requests. This pays off at the end when Miranda gives her a recommendation despite Andy not leaving on the best of terms.
Despite the impact the scene had in the film, we also don’t recommend the dramatic quit like Andy made in the movie. Although it is empowering to see on screen, it doesn’t play out quite as well in real life. You also likely won’t get a positive recommendation from your previous boss, like in the film. Being out of a job without a reference from your last position can leave you dead in the water as a job seeker for a long time, and the empowerment from the dramatic exit will fade quickly.
The Importance of a Good Support Structure
The last piece of advice from the film is to try and surround yourself with people who will support you. Andy’s friends, and Andy herself both laugh at the fashionistas at first. Andy eventually does her best to fit in, and is scorned by her friends for it. Find friends who will champion you on in your decisions, especially if you are trying to advance your career. While there certainly is a case to be made that Andy changed for the job, this advice still rings true. The same can be said for coworkers. In the film, Stanley Tucci’s Nigel can come across as a bit harsh to Andy. However, he always had the best of intentions and knew a little tough love might be necessary for her to become the great employee he knew she could be.
The Devil Wears Prada is a great motivator for anyone recently on the job market. As a recent graduate, Andy knows it will be an uphill battle before she gets her dream job, and she goes in smiling. The film offers some great career advice. We hope our summary made you either further appreciate the film, or seek out a viewing. Thanks for reading and we’ll be back tomorrow with our weekly link roundup!