The Devil Wears Prada was a popular movie starring Anne Hathaway. She was a tad meek and a bit boorish looking. She had a back stabbing colleague and a cantankerous boss. I think the character and elements of the film are relatable to people in similar situations. Everyone has had that job where they were basically peons. Who can forget that first job at a greasy fast food joint? The hungry and crabby customers and screaming children were encountered everyday. The pimply and gawky teenaged supervisor blamed and ridiculed. After work would be spent scrubbing off the maldorous smell of spoiled meat and soured ice cream. The first job is where dues were paid. So you thought.
Fast forward some years and countless crappy jobs. Degrees have been awarded and now you are in the bigger (slightly higher) leagues. I have a friend named Lilly who is amazing. She is creative, compassionate, organized and smart. Lilly tried to do all the right things to get noticed. She was passed up for a promotion for God knows what reason. She wasn’t boorish or meek. She had experience, a degree, ambition and drive. She had the misfortune to work under a tyrant. She is now fielding other job offers as I write this.
Just because a person has a degree doesn’t mean the sky opens and the dream job rains down from the heavens above. This reality kicks in after six months of looking for a higher paying job and not having any luck. What people want is for someone to provide guidance, understanding and last of all respect.
I recently started to network. I have had wonderful connections ask me about my writing and invite me for coffee. I even inspired a blog post! It seems people really feel for the novice. They understand the daunting journey of getting recognized and trying to get a foot in the door. That said, sometimes there is a bad networking connection. I accidentally sent a request to network with someone that I didn’t know. Understandably she asked how I knew her. That should have been the end. Nope, she proceeded to critique my profile and offer unsolicited suggestions. While I’m open to suggestions, this one seemed a bit mean spirited. She didn’t even look at my profile closely to see her suggestions were there. That alone was disrespectful. She then trivialized personal writing as “my struggles.” Ouch.
The point is all colleagues and especially supervisors should treat employees with respect and acknowledge them. You never know when the copy boy might become CEO of a large corporation or that secretary becomes the next Barbara Walters. You lived a mile in their shoes. Show future leaders how to climb the success ladder. Don’t yank the ladder from under them.