Career Success at What Cost? Essay
Career Success at What Cost?
This essay is about how a woman adjusts and sacrifices her life to be able to meet needs of the work life balance vs. the personal life balance. It is achieved by looking closely at the two main characters and how they constantly have to choose between personal and work life and to be able to maintain a balance or rather not. It is a good choice of movie to look into the theme of work life vs personal life, as this is a common existing problem in today’s work culture and it enlightens the choices and options one has to choose from.
This essay looks at two different women who work in a same field yet are worlds apart and end up having to choose either or . The essay then concludes about that choices needed or demanded to be made and sacrifices are made by every individual in the end whether they want to or not. We all hope to have a boss who guides and inspires us to fulfil our professional goals as we contribute to our organization’s success. However, recognizing how rare that kind of mentor is, many of us are satisified to work for someone who is unsuccessful, but pleasant to work with, someone who would guide us and be approachable without biting our heads off.
Such a person is, at least, more tolerable than a boss who makes every workday a living hell. The Devil Wears Prada brings to life that very terrifying scenario. Andrea Sachs (Anne Hathaway), a college graduate who won writing prizes as a student but is unable to secure a job in journalism, had to settle for a job that is related creatively to her choice of expertise. Andrea (Andy) is assigned as the assistant to Miranda Priestly (Meryl Streep), who is the editor in chief of Runway magazine based in the busy lives of Manhattan.
The tasks Miranda assigns her – range from finding and fetching only vaguely described pants to scoring the latest unpublished Harry Potter manuscript within a very limited time frame. All these have nothing in relation to Andy’s passion of journalism. This is the first evidence of sacrifice that is made by Andy. She chose to work in a place not familiar or relevant to her but she has to work in order to earn to be able to support herself. One problem Andy faces is her inability to fit in with Runway’s corporate culture.
Whereas her co-workers dress in perfectly put-together top-designer clothes, Andy wears a comfortable off-the-rack sweater and sensible shoes. She sees no reason to change herself for a job she is using only as a steppingstone for a job at a” real” magazine such as The New Yorker. (Frankel,pg42) This is the next choice Andy makes. She chooses to remain her own self and be in her comfort zone rather than trying to fit into an image which is not favoured by her. She ignores the taunts of her co-worker Emily (Emily Blunt), who puts down Andy’s uninspired outfits.
Andy, who sees fashion as useless and irrelevant, has no intention of becoming a part of the fashion industry. For her, this job is just a means to an end. Here she chooses her personal life style over the professional expected level. For Andy it is more convenient and easier to portray her as she identifies with her own choices of clothes rather than branded items that many choose otherwise. Andy eventually comes to recognize that Runway sells an image, and that her loyalty to this image is part of her job description.
Through her hard work and efficiency on being able to meet deadlines before time, she becomes a walking advertisement for Runway. As she concedes her previous image to one of style, grace, and elegance framed by the clothing of the designers she once found so disgraceful, she crosses a boundary. Her friends and boyfriend question her transformation. But Andy, striving to fit into her new role and please her boss, is too busy for introspection. (Bolen, Everywoman,pg 262). This again is another example of choice and sacrifice evident in the movie.
At first Andy was not willing to change her image but eventually she gives up her stand to be able to fit in with her company’s image. A pure example of sacrifice of own personal choices over the need to impress her co-workers and her demanding boss. Andy’s transformation increases her willingness to respond to Miranda’s unreasonable requests, which becomes irritating as they seem to come at any time of the day. From 6 a. m. until 2 a. m. , Andy can be found answering the phone, dropping whatever she is doing to attend to Miranda’s demands. (Bolen, Everywoman, pg 265).
When Andy skips out on friends and family, telling them – and herself – that she is working hard only in order to attain her ultimate goal of a position as a true journalist, her friends worry that she has been seduced by her current job responsibilities, which she has come to take seriously. In time, putting work first costs Andy her closest friendships, including her relationship with her boyfriend. As Andy’s job at Runway collides her nonworking life, she complains to Nigel, who has become her mentor and confidant, “My personal life is hanging by a thread.
” He explains, “That’s what happens when you start doing well at work. Tell me when your whole life goes up in smoke. That means it’s time for a promotion. ”(The Devil Wears Prada, 2006). The main theme of the movie of work life vs. personal life is utmost the most central at this point in time. Andy sacrifices her personal life; she risks her relationships in order to suit needs of her work life. She is constantly being put on spot to choose either way. Her work life has driven her much to the place where she time and again sacrifices her personal life and chooses her work life.
She ends up on a unbalanced sea saw where her work life is proving to be on the heavier scale compared to her personal choices and the relationships that existed way before she had a compelled full on work life. It is interesting to compare Andy’s sacrifices with Miranda’s efforts to separate her own personal and work lives. When Andy is required to deliver mock-ups of the magazine to Miranda’s home after ten o’clock each weeknight, she is banned from interacting with Miranda’s children or even going beyond the first floor.
Although Miranda does not have the time to be a caring mother, she thinks often of her children, whose daily schedules she coordinates and whose special occasions she celebrates. Miranda chooses to maintain a balance with her work and personal life but ends up losing a bit of both. Although she is able to make time to be there for important functions for her children, she is not able to shower them upon with lots of time and love from day to day as her work life demands and makes up most of her life’s space.
Although it may seem like Miranda is able to juggle both, it is evident in the movie that she cannot always have what she wants and ends up losing one or the other. For example, when the weather turns horrific, she is unable to attend her children’s recital. On the other hand, to be able to meet with Miranda needs and get her across the state, Andy ends up sacrificing her time with her father to be able to find a suitable flight for Miranada. In this scenario both are on the losing end.
Miranda ends up not being able to reach the function as she could not put her work to hold and Andy ahs to sacrifice her personal life (time with her father/family) to be able to please her boss. The question that raises here is “Can people at the upper level of a corporation afford to have meaningful personal lives? Not necessarily” (Betts, 2003). According to The Devil Wears Prada, by the time someone makes it to a top spot, it may be too late. Certainly Miranda is not immune to work’s erosion of her personal life. Already twice-divorced, she learns that her third husband d wants out.
Apparently, one cannot hold a highly well paid, demanding, and prestigious job and also maintain a fulfilling personal life at the same time. Miranda’s life is based around this. Her sacrifice is her personal life. She chooses her career and her work over her personal time with the family. Due to this she has experienced fall outs from her ex partners and also has a very disconnected relationship with her twin daughters. As mentioned before, although she is able to make it to important family functions at times, she is not fully present as Miranda a mother or wife.
She is there as Miranda Priestly, the chief in editor of the Runway magazine. Her image is more important to her and she ends up sacrificing her personal life over and over again. The supporting characters repeatedly tell Andy that she has a choice – that she can decide to leave her job. She has to decide whether to surrender her personal life for the advantages that working for Miranda Priestly confers. She makes her choice. Work over personal life. As Emily observes she says to Andy, “You sold your soul to the devil when you put on your first pair of Jimmy Choos.
”(The Devil wears Prada, 2006). Whether or not the job is worth Andy’s personal and social life, this becomes the driving point of the film. As work consumes almost all of her time, she cancels dinner dates, loses sleep, and misses her boyfriend’s birthday party. Her single and resounding excuse is that she has work and that she has no choice in the matter, to which everyone responds with that she does have a choice — and that choice is to quit. Andy refuses, claiming that she is not the kind of person that quits.
Yet again Andy chooses work over personal life, another sacrifice of her personal life. When Andy accepts Miranda’s invitation to accompany her to Paris for fashion week, she knows full well that she is taking Emily’s place. In Paris, Andy sees Miranda backstab a dear friend in order to keep her job. Andy tells Miranda that she could never backstab a friend. Miranda reminds her that she has already betrayed Emily. MIRANDA: You chose to get ahead. If you want this life, those choices are necessary. ANDY: But what if this isn’t what I want?
What if I don’t want to live the way you live? MIRANDA: Oh, don’t be ridiculous, Andrea! Everybody wants this. Everybody wants to be us. (The Devil wears Prada, 2006) The job is Andy’s choice, and she has chosen to live life this way. Andy then has a revelation about what she seems important in her life. In a negative gesture, she flings her company-issued cell phone into a nearby fountain. Here she sacrifices her fame and image and chooses herself. The image with which she identifies with and the way she used to live before entering these prestigious and demanding work lives.
After leaving Runway, Andy applies for a job at a newspaper. With a positive, although brief, reference from Miranda, she gets the job. The film ends happily enough, as we are left to infer that Miranda, despite her cold behaviour and exploitation of Andy, she is satisfied with the choice Andy has made for her. Through her journey of ridiculous errands, stressful assignments, and overworked life, Andy has developed a deeper understanding of the role work plays in her life. She may live for the job, but that does not mean that it is all she lives for.
(The Devil wears Prada, 2006) Conclusion This scenario is quite common in today’s work life ethics. Success, image and good earning jobs are becoming so demanding in today’s work life cycle that most people end up choosing their wok life over the personal aspects. The movie depicts a lot of uprising newbie’s in the workplace especially woman who have the need to be able to create a self image and respect in the society and to be independent, compared to the past where women were limited to nursing and nurturing duties in the boundaries of their homes.
The need for strive is increasing rapidly at the cost of having to sacrifice time and again. In the movie, on many occasions the characters were compelled to making a choice between work and personal life. It was more like sacrificing one to meet the needs of the other. The characters, Andy and Miranda consistently chose work over every other aspect present and part of their life. Andy ruins her personal relationships with her loved ones and Miranda is seen having difficulties in playing for the caring and loving motherly role.
In the end they both make sacrifices. Both are not entirely happy neither are they fully sad. The fact remains that we can’t have the best of both worlds without having to make adjustments and sacrifices now and then. It is also evident that people always end up making a choice and have to lose one or the other. Andy chose to restore her normal way of life over the high class flashy life that she got used to. She ended up giving her demanding work life which offered her being in the limelight often.
Yet she was happy to be back in a place where she was more comfortable with and with which she could easily identify herself with. Miranda ends up choosing her work life again over the personal life and is shown to still have the power and success and keep her personal life shaky and unstable as they way it started off with. In life everyone has to make choices and sacrifices, at some point in time. The question remains, which way do we go because naturally you have to give up something in order to get the other.
Subject: Personal life,
University/College: University of California
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
Date: 25 November 2016
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