Like many of you, The Shawshank Redemption is my favorite movie. In fact, it's arguably the greatest film ever to get completely snubbed by Oscar. I'm not usually a movie quote guy, but I think this flick has much career advice to offer. There are some spoilers below, so if you've never seen the movie (shame on you!) stop reading and go Netflix it!
"Get busy living or get busy dying" - Andy Dufresne
Andy utters these words to Red the day before he makes his triumphant escape from Shawshank. We'd never compare work to prison (nah!), but we do think it's a fair question to ask yourself on a regular basis. Are you 'dying' where you are working or 'living?' More...
"How often do you really look at a man's shoes." - Red
Sorry Red, more often than you might realize - especially at the office. While you might not be violating any dress code laws, your shoes ARE noticed by your colleagues (and not just the freaky fetish guy in I.T.). Paying attention to every detail of your wardrobe - including shoes - could send a powerful message about how you treat yourself AND your career.
"I see you two all the time, thick as thieves, you are!" - Warden Norton
Relationships are of paramount importance to career success, but aligning yourself too closely with any one individual is never a good idea. You are an individual who deserves to rise and fall on your own merit and actions, don't fall into the trap of aligning yourself too closely with anyone at work. If you do, you will be at the mercy of their actions.
"Been in here too long. I'm an institutional man now." - Red
You never want to have your way of life stripped away by a job. Let's have Red expand...
"These prison walls are funny. First you hate 'em, then you get used to 'em. Enough time passes, gets so you depend on them. That's institutionalized. They send you here for life, that's exactly what they take."
How do you make sure you don't become a full product of your work environment? Be sure you communicate with outisder, interview regularly, stay on top of the job market, etc.
"There's a small place inside of us they can never lock away, and that place is called hope." - Andy
Irrespective of your work environment, you have the ultimate say about how you feel, think and act.
"Watch ye therefore, for ye know not when the master of the house cometh." - Andy (Mark 13:35)
Think your boss isn't watching? Think again! Always be prepared for a 'drive-by,' even if it's never happened in 10 years.
"I have to remind myself that some birds weren't meant to be caged. Their feathers are just too bright. And when they fly away, the part of you that knew it was a sin to lock them up does rejoice. But your world is just that much colder and emptier when they're gone. I don't know... maybe I just miss my friend." - Red
Dealing with the loss of a co-worker. Don't be jealous that they have moved on. You're probably missing them for your own reasons. Take the positive approach and be happy for them. And be sure to follow the rules for the last two weeks of work.
"Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies." - Andy
This is one for the ages. Hold this one tight when the going gets tough. Your boss, the company, the routine: it can't touch you if you don't let it. You owe it to yourself to make work great. Keep the faith!
Do you have any favorite lines from Shawshank?