6 Career Lessons we can learn from The Devil Wears Prada

Image credit: 20th Century Fox.

Image credit: 20th Century Fox.

6 Career Lessons we can learn from The Devil Wears Prada.

It’s been 12 years since the release of The Devil Wears Prada, an iconic film that gave us all a look into the cut-throat world of fashion. Meryl Streep’s brilliant performance as Miranda Priestly gave us memes and sayings that are still used today - “Florals for Spring? Groundbreaking”, but the film is more than just a chick flick, in fact Anne Hathaway’s character, Andy Sachs, can teach us some valuable career lessons about the highs and lows of pursuing your career.


It's okay to change for your job, if you want to.

When Andy starts her new job she has very little interest, or knowledge in fashion, she doesn’t fit in with the ‘Runway girls’ and she seems to have little experience in actually being a PA. It doesn’t take long for her to start dressing the part, and her personality changes along with that. We see her become more confident and assured in herself and in turn become better at her job. While you shouldn’t have to change for a job sometimes you might want to, or it might happen without you even noticing, and that is totally ok, so long as you’re happy with the changes!

Surround yourself with loved ones who support you.

In the film we see Andy’s boyfriend and close friends regularly dismiss her new job, they don’t seem to appreciate that her career has become a priority at this point in her life, and they treat her badly for it. Surround yourself with loved ones who understand how important your career is to you, and don’t feel guilty for putting it first. However, you don’t want to lose people who mean a lot to you, so do your best to explain your situation and try to make time for them as well. Aim for a work-life balance, and decide what your priorities are.

You don't always have to be a nice boss, but don't be a bitch.

Nightmare boss Miranda Priestly can teach us some life lessons too. Being a boss or manager isn’t easy, and many people never manage to get the balance between getting stuff done and being a decent human being. Miranda definitely doesn’t have this balance, but she does remind us that sometimes it’s ok to pull-rank. You are the manager and that means you have a responsibility to make sure things get done and the people you manage do the work they’re paid to do. So, sometimes it’s ok to take a bit of inspiration from Miranda and remind people just who is boss.

Say yes to new opportunities.

Ok so Andy’s trip to Paris with Miranda came at the expense of colleague Emily’s career, but where possible we should make the most out of opportunities that come our way, so long as we’re not stabbing anyone in the back to get them! Whether it’s a work-trip, more responsibility, networking opportunities, or the chance to learn a new skill, the more opportunities we say yes to the more we benefit our future career.

Find yourself an ally.

When your boss is a nightmare, your workload is increasing and your finishing work later and later each night having an ally at work can be the savior you need to keep you from handing in your resignation. Art Director Nigel becomes a sounding-board for Andy, while also telling her to suck it up and get on with it if she wants to keep her job. Having someone who just gets it is so valuable. They understand how terrible your boss is, they know the workplace culture and they can keep you sane in your moments of stress.

Know when it's time to walk away.

Finally, know when you’re done. Yes it’s ok to change for your career, but don’t lose who you are, stick to your values and realise when it’s time to walk away. Your health and happiness should always be a priority, don’t let your career overtake that. There will always be other opportunities to pursue your career, and it’s ok to say you’re done, it is not a sign of failure. And if you have the chance to quit your job by throwing your phone into a fountain in Paris then go for it, because everyone deserves at least one bad-ass exit in their life!

While Andy’s career and Miranda’s poor management style can teach us some important lessons, we should also note that although Meryl Streep’s portrayal is highly characterised, and she would definitely be a nightmare boss, if she was a man would we have as many issues with her? And perhaps the reason Miranda has become so cut-throat is because she’s had no choice, she got to the top of her career, something many women struggle to do, and she’s held that position. Even in a more female dominated industry such as fashion, perhaps acting more like a man has got Miranda to where she is.