Friday, 12 February 2010

When working hard goes too far.


Firstly, just a quick apology for disappearing – I was at work all weekend thanks to The Princess and the Frog and then went home to a house with no internet until today.

Trying to please.
The above image may be a bit hard to place unless you’ve watched it recently, but it’s Anne Hathaway as Andrea Sachs in The Devil Wears Prada. A quick refresher on the plot – Andy is the frumpy wanna-be journalist who takes a job at High Fashion magazine Runway (e.g. Vogue) as one of the assistants to the editor, Miranda Priestly (read as Anna Wintour), played by Meryl Streep. Andy quickly discovers that being an assistant is no easy feat and that the fashion world isn’t all about which belt goes best with which dress. Now the image above becomes clear – Andy is swamped with work as she tries to meet Miranda’s every whim, while keeping the job she desperately needs to further her career. One of the main situations in the film is based on this – Andy is working too hard to please Miranda and quickly begins to neglect her own life and relationships. This brings me to want to talk about today – when working hard for that degree or promotion goes a bit too far.

Beep beep beep.
It’s only natural to want to do the best you can in work or school or university to ensure than you get the best results as possible. It also rings true to want to do everything you can to please those around you and make their lives easier as well. People pleasing can become a problem though – as we saw in The Devil Wears Prada, Andy started to reject her own life. When your home life starts to suffer because of your job or school work then it’s time to take a step back and do some re-evaluation.

You’re not their third arm.
It is unlikely that you’re extremely high up in the office hierarchy at this stage of your life, but this doesn’t mean that you are simply just the tea boy or filing girl – you’re a valued member of the staff and should be treated as such. If you start to agree to do menial tasks which are not part of your job description (like picking up your bosses dry cleaning), then it would appear that you are being taken advantage of. It’s ok to refuse to do something – it might not seem like the best idea, but it shows that you are strong, assertive and most of all aware that they’re asking too much. That’s not to say that if your boss asks for a genuine favour that you should turn them down – quite the contrary. It’s when it becomes a regular occurrence that you need to put your foot down.

Textbooks aren’t the only books.
Sure, a good grade means a lot. But then so do social skills, life skills and good memories. If you start to turn down plans with your friends to go drastically above and beyond your required reading and work, then you have a little bit of a problem. It’s all about balance – agree to go out to every second invitation, or if your friends just want to spend some time together why not set up a study day with lots of healthy snacks and drinks; if you’re doing the same course you could bounce ideas off each other and maybe pick up a thing or two that you’ve  missed out on or had trouble with. Your teens and early twenties are the times for you to learn about academia and yourself – there might not be an exam for the latter, but it’s still important.

Work is only a part of your life.
And to sum it up: be strong, be balanced and you’ll get where you want to be.


PS: You can buy The Devil Wears Pradafor only £2.98 at Amazon right now!

1 comment:

  1. good advice! the film is better than the book too