10 Job (And Life) Lessons We Learned From Miranda Priestly
It's been a decade since “The Devil Wears Prada” hit theaters and a bumbling Andy Sachs walked into the formidable Miranda Priestly's office at Runway Magazine.
When I first saw the movie, I was a high school senior with absolutely no idea what a career in media would actually look like. Like so many would-be writers, I took “Prada” at face value. That is, it scared the living daylights out of me. Meryl Streep's Miranda Priestly, all lavender eyeshadow and softly-barbed threats, haunted my nightmares.
If you believe pop culture mythology, Priestly's character is a loose fictionalization of frosty Vogue Editor-in-Chief Anna Wintour. The bobbed, sunglass-clad media mogul has been in charge of the magazine since 1988 — centuries, in fashion years.
But, honestly, Priestly could be a more chic version of any one of our bosses, in any industry. The thing I hadn't realized by the time “Prada” came out is that Andy's job was just like any other. Except, you know, zipping off to Paris isn't usually part of the package.
Oh, Priestly. Now that I'm firmly entrenched in the real work world, I have so much more respect for you. Here are 10 career (and life) lessons we can all take away from the fictional media mogul:
1. The number one job of a female executive? To train the women underneath her.
It's so feminist, I could die.
2. A softly-spoken leader is always way more effective than one who shrieks.
3. Stay. Calm. No. Matter. What.
Crying in front of your boss isn't going to improve her opinion of you.
4. It's a boss's job to help her team grow in confidence and talent.
If you can mentor them, all the better. Or, if you're Priestly, you can just icily stare them down until their intestines melt and they figure out what they did wrong.
5. Always say “yes” to a challenge.
Mental mind games and impossible achievements aren't what most bosses want, but if your boss gives you a seemingly impossible task, it means they want you to step up to the plate.
Your boss probably won't make you hunt down the new "Harry Potter" manuscript, but hurdle-like goals will definitely happen.
6. Never bore your boss with the details of your failures.
Step up to every project, and only deliver your successes. Honestly, Andy, quit whining for, like, one minute.
7. Everyone thinks they have the toughest job.
Exhibit A: Emily the perpetually dieting assistant. If you can remember that and treat them as if it's true, you'll go far.
8. More often than you'd like, a successful career might mean choosing between happy hour with your friends and stepping up the career ladder.
You just have to suck it up, especially in the early days of your career.
9. Your boss will probably text you at home.
And you will hate it.
10. Priestly (and all of the best bosses) never forget a face or an employee who crushed the job.
After all, the fashion queen bee recommends Andy for her new position.
A decade after the movie's release, we can all sit back and appreciate the media tyrant with a fresh pair of eyes. A tireless boss who helps you get promoted, brings you on trips around the world and champions you endlessly to others? Oh, sign me up.