October 8, 2014

Live with Integrity: The Devil Wears Prada (2006)

I have had some pretty awful jobs in my life, but few have forced me to fundamentally compromise who I am as a person. As I have mentioned in the past on this blog, I recently worked for a company that deals directly with students. Now, I have heard of some pretty awful jobs from family and friends over the years, but every time we would engage in a comparison of who had the worst job, I would always win....hands down. Why did I win? Well, I was cursed out by complete strangers almost on a daily basis for simply relaying information for a company that was incredibly shady and to add insult to injury, my co-workers never told the customers the right information so when I had to correct that information, I was made to look like a liar even though I was telling the truth. This is of course on top of the fact that my immediate supervisors were never really helpful in solving problems and often repeated policy when asked for help.

In spite of all of this, I stayed with this particular job, well because I was able to work from home. I thought I would be able to handle being cursed out by strangers and being thrown to the wolves by my co-workers and supervisors, but as it turns out, I couldn't. Dealing with the customers and the company challenged everything about what I believe in fundamentally and although no company is without it's faults, I finally allowed myself to permanently walk away from a terrible situation that had no silver lining whatsoever. This is why I enjoyed the movie The Devil Wears Prada (2006), because the main character Andrea "Andy" Sachs (Anne Hathaway) seemed to exemplify what its like to compromise your beliefs all for a paycheck, only to learn that giving up your integrity gets you absolutely nowhere.
In The Devil Wears Prada (2006), Andy starts out with a clear vision of who she is and what she wants. She believed in her relationship with her boyfriend Nate Cooper (Adrian Grenier), had good friends in Lily (Tracy Thoms) and Doug (Rich Sommer) and knew that she wanted to become a serious journalist; that is, after all, why she declined her acceptance into law school. However, upon landing a job as a second assistant for the notorious Runway Magazine Editor-in-Chief Miranda Priestly (Meryl Streep), she slowly began to change not only exterior aspects of herself like her sense of fashion in an effort to adapt to her new job, but she also made fundamental changes to who she was as a person. She lost her sense of integrity which culminated in Miranda's annual trip to Paris for Fashion Week when Andy agreed to accompany Miranda on the trip,despite knowing how important the trip was for the first assistant Emily Charlton (Emily Blunt).

By the end of the movie, Andy had finally begun to see just how much she had changed, and not for the better. She had abandoned the relationships that were near and dear to her before the job with Miranda, she had taken an opportunity away from someone who really wanted it and she was having trysts in Paris with a famous writer, to no end. She was on a path down a road that would ultimately not lead her to where she wanted to be and that was happy, writing about issues that she cared about. Although there was some collateral damage, in the end, Andy did what was best for herself and quit her job as Miranda's assistant and ultimately got back on track to being the person that she wanted to be. At the end of the day, isn't that what integrity is all about; doing what is fundamentally best for you? I know I haven't been happier since leaving my own version of Miranda and I bet you can say the same thing too.


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