More From the Movies

Continuing a post from a few weeks ago, here is the next set of business related movie quotes that offer some great lessons applicable to our careers.

The list of quotes originally came from a article.

  1. Coming to America: “I started out mopping the floor just like you guys. But now…now I’m washing lettuce. Soon I’ll be on fries; then the grill. And pretty soon, I’ll make assistant manager, and that’s when the big bucks start rolling in.” — Maurice (Louie Anderson) says to Prince Akeem (Eddie Murphy) and Semmi (Arsenio Hall). I am not sure I would be that ecstatic about making my way “up” to the grill, but there is a solid reminder here.  Said philosophically you want to savor the journey and not just reaching the end. Put more practically, value each experience you have and realize that it is a process.  There are times when you may skip a step or two, but ultimately it is good not to move up the chain too fast in your career. There are certain experiences that you want to get in lower level positions before the stakes get too high (mistakes are forgiven less when you are in higher up positions).
  2. Big Night: “I am a businessman. I am anything I need to be at any time.” — said Pascal (Ian Holm), owner of a competing restaurant. This quote brings to mind the concept of work/life integration. The term “work/life balance” doesn’t really apply anymore. It seems that our jobs take over so much of our time and focus and even at odd times. This means that we need to be “on” and must be able to adapt at any given moment (no matter the day or time). We have to carry around multiple hats and find a way to shift between work and play instead of partitioning them as separate.
  3. Up in the Air: “There’s nothing cheap about loyalty.” — Ryan Bingham (George Clooney) says to his traveling companion Alex Goran (Vera Farmiga). As time goes by loyalty diminishes more and more. In sports there used to be players that would stay with one team their entire career. Now most will have played with at least 2-3 teams by the time they retire. The same thing happened at work where some of our parents worked at one company for 40 years. Now staying with one for 4 is a long time. Loyalty is analogous to reputation. It takes a long time to craft your brand and it often takes sacrifice and hard work to build it right (hence it not being “cheap”).
  4. Thank You for Smoking: Kid #3: “My Mommy says smoking kills.” Naylor: “Oh, is your Mommy a doctor?” Kid #3: “No.” Naylor: “A scientific researcher of some kind?” Kid #3: “No.” Naylor: “Well, then she’s hardly a credible expert, is she?” — Naylor (Aaron Eckhart) said to a middle-school student during a career-day speech. Bosses will challenge you and you need to be able to back your viewpoints and recommendations with evidence. When your “evidence” comes from your gut (based on previous experience or your intuition about a situation) you have to be able verbalize it and support it.
  5. Goodfellas: “And when the cops, when they assigned a whole army to stop Jimmy, what’d he do? He made ’em partners.” — Henry Hill (Ray Liotta) said narrating. Sometimes in our careers we need to make partners out of enemies. The best thing to do is make sure to answer the question on your enemy/partner’s mind- WIIFM (what’s in it for me?). To turn an enemy to a partner ask their advice on something and then implement what they recommended, thanking them later. Or give them something they want. If you focus on helping them, there is a higher likelihood they will help you.

Among other things, patience, work/life integration, reputation building, supporting evidence and winning over your enemies will give you a turbo boost to make your way from washing lettuce to the grill and if you don’t make it all the way there, at least you can move up to fries.




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About Young Professional's Edge (YP Edge)

Aaron McDaniel is a corporate manager, entrepreneur, author, public speaker and community leader. Aaron has held numerous management roles at a Fortune 500 company, being appointed Regional Vice President at the age of 27, and is the founder of multiple entrepreneurial ventures. He is also the author of the book, The Young Professional's Guide to the Working World ( Aaron instructed a highly rated student-led course on leadership at UC Berkeley’s Haas Undergraduate School of Business and has a book, The Young Professional's Guide to the Working World: Savvy Strategies to Get In, Get Ahead, and Rise to the Top, due to be out later this year. Aaron offers advice that helps young professionals build the foundation for a successful career. Visit his blog, to learn more.

Posted on March 8, 2012, in Commentary and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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