Another film that holds fantastic real life lessons is The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. Ben Stiller directs the film and also stars in the main role. Mitty (Stiller) is a man who realizes he is just wandering through life without any real drive or inspiration. However, over the course of the movie he sets out on a journey to find purpose and explore the unknown.
Breaking Out of Your Comfort Zone
The Secret Life of Walter Mitty is adapted from James Thurber’s short story. However, Stiller’s adaptation differs from the short story and the previous film adaption. It offers an interesting look into a man who has been working at the same company for a number of years. He enjoys his work, but constantly daydreams of grander adventures. Mitty works for Life Magazine, which is being downsized by corporate. This means finding an image for the cover of their last issue, which is missing. Mitty takes it upon himself to discover what happened to the picture negative, and embarks on a journey to find it.
Throughout the film, there are multiple take-aways. The most obvious and in your face lesson is that sometimes you have to take a leap of faith. Moving outside of your comfort zone in your career can be terrifying. Despite this, it can also open new doors to you and expand your horizon, or salary. Not being fearful of new responsibilities and meeting them with a headstrong attitude is important. It’s what gives Mitty the resolve to carry on, and it will help you too. Walter learns to live outside his comfort zone, and thrives there.
Don’t Let Downsizing Get You Down
Ted Hendricks, played by Adam Scott, is the face of the corporate shutdown. As ‘Corporate Transition Manager’ he continually chastises Walter, and is in stark contrast with his passion for the magazine. Don’t let a bad boss get you down. If an employee truly has a passion for their job, they will thrive, despite surrounding negativity. Also, in the face of job loss, don’t be afraid. There is always a new and better opportunity just around the corner. If you find yourself in this situation, check out our blog on explaining being let go in an interview here.
Walter and Ted don’t always agree in the film. More often than not, they find themselves on different ends of issues. While many employees worry about disagreeing with their boss, it’s not worth fretting about. Offering an opposing view can be helpful, as long as it’s presented right. If nobody asked how things could be done differently, our society would be in a very different place.
The Value of Coworkers
Finally, the last lesson from the film is to never underestimate the value of your coworkers. Mitty has a good friend in the photography department who makes his day fun. Injecting a little fun and positive energy into a workday will benefit the quality of everything you do. While Mitty’s friend in photography is a good force, it’s the Life photographer Sean O’Connell who encourages Mitty to come out of his shell and realize his self importance. Walter’s realization wouldn’t have occurred if he hadn’t been inspired by a coworker. Throughout your career, realize the positive work connections you have. Those connections can not only improve your day, but act as a crucial reference in the future when you may be applying for the job you’ve always wanted.
We hope you’ve learned something from the shy daydreamer Walter Mitty. In work and life, sometimes it’s okay to take a leap of faith. We’ll be back in another week with more Career Advice from the Silver Screen.