After the first year of college, I realized that I desperately need a job. At that time, I was familiar with unpaid internships for credits, but I never had a paid job before. With my limited skill set, I wrote a short essay and applied to be a barista in the local café. There wasn’t any cover letter, resume, nor references – I just explained why Chai Tea Latte was my favorite.
Surprisingly, I was hired. I’m still glad that I don’t remember what I wrote. Otherwise, I would have buried myself in embarrassment by now.
The rest is easy to imagine. I would work a four or five-hour shift elbow-deep in Arabica and Robusta and left at around 10 PM. As I got home, all I wanted to do was to vegetate by watching something – especially one of these 9 aspiring movies about getting a job. Although it was supposed to be a way to relax without using my brain, these flicks made me feel like I was walking the right path.
Now that you have landed the gig, you should rejoice with some good career-inspired movies. Even if you are still in search, you can fantasize about working for a famous magazine, a fancy diner, or a successful startup to keep yourself motivated. They will give you some glimpses of the lives you might (eventually) want to live!
7 Movies About Getting A Job To Inspire Yourself
In my (maybe not-so-humble) opinion, here are the 7 best movies about getting a job in chronological order. Grab some popcorn, sit back, and relieve all of your stress for now. Let these stories encourage you to chase after your dream job and teach you valuable life lessons!
- Office Space (1999)
- Legally Blonde (2001)
- Good Night, And Good Luck (2005)
- The Pursuit Of Happiness (2006)
- The Devil Wears Prada (2006)
- The Social Network (2010)
- The Intern (2015)
Movies About Getting A Job – Office Space (1999)
If you are a 90s kid, you probably have heard of Office Space more than once. This cult classic follows Peter Gibbons (Ron Livingston) who is fed up with his job as a software engineer at Initech and his obnoxious boss, Bill Lumbergh (Gary Cole). With the help of two co-workers, Peter plants a virus in the company’s banking system that will embezzle a small amount of money on every transaction into his bank account.
Unfortunately, a glitch in the virus’ code causes the virus to skim a huge fortune of over 300,000 dollars. The trio must find out a way to solve the problem if they don’t want to end up in jail.
Office Space (1999) – Source: IFC Center
When Office Space premiered in 1999, it grossed a measly $10.8 million and was entitled one of director Mike Judge’s biggest flops. If you search for the movie on IMDb, you will see many users questioning its failure at the box office. This black comedy only became a phenomenon when it was discovered on DVD and cable. According to movie critic Michael Sragow, Office Space is “a hilarious knockdown of the corporate culture”.
The success of Office Space mostly comes from character development. Take Peter Gibbons for example. While he is a likable guy who many office workers can relate to, the more you get to know him, the more you realize how bitter and not-so-innocent he is. Being a smart guy, Peter can wake up with many ways to fix his miserable life instead of committing a criminal act. Most importantly, Peter understands that he is responsible for his own happiness or misery. Yet, he still chooses the worst way.
This character is the perfect example of lives not well-lived in the modern days. Through Peter Gibbons’ story, director Mike Judge reminds audiences that you only live once, and you really should consider spending your time carefully before it runs out.
Are you interested in other movies like Office Space? Check out all the seasons of The Office!
Movies About Getting A Job – Legally Blonde (2001)
The story of Legally Blonde unfolds when Elle Woods (Reese Witherspoon) is dumped by her boyfriend, Warner Huntington III (Matthew Davis). Never in her life did Elle think this would happen to her because she has everything: She is the president of her sorority, the richest girl in the school, and a natural blonde.
Warner is planning to go to Harvard Law School and become a successful politician. According to him, Elle is “not serious enough” for that kind of life. Triggered, Elle rallies all her resources and follows Warner to Harvard, attempting to win him back. While she is there, Elle realizes her dream career and proves to everyone that she is more than money and appearance.
Legally Blonde (2001) – Movies About Getting A Job. Source: Brianne Fleming
If you just look at the score of 6.3/10 on IMDb, you might underestimate Legally Blonde just like how Warner underestimates Elle. Sure, this comedy-drama didn’t get an Oscar nomination, but it can be every 2000s girls’ favorite. It depicts Elle Woods as a feminist hero ahead of her time.
Everything about Ellie is covered in bubblegum pink, from her outfits to the tiny purse dog Bruiser. However, unlike other movies from that time, Legally Blonde does not make fun of her interest in girly-code pursuits. When Elle is disheartened, she uses her frustration as motivation to study and succeed. Her GPA is 4.0 and she scored a 179/180 on her LSAT, making her a top candidate. Elle was also the president of her sorority and was active in extracurricular activities. The movie sends a strong message that every girl can chase dreams and fight for their own beliefs without having to give up on their feminine traits.
For those reasons, Legally Blonde can be considered the frontrunner of feminist movies in the 2000s. Since it has become iconic, there are many movies like Legally Blonde that have taken inspiration from this cult.
Good Night, And Good Luck (2005)
If you only see Robert Downey Jr. in the Iron Man’s armor, Good Night And Good Luck will reveal a different side of the man we all know and love.
The movie takes you back to the early 1950s when Edward R. Murrow (David Strathairn) is being honored for his contribution to television. Instead of expressing gratitude, his speech is one of dire urgency, a plea that television should be used as a tool for education instead of a mere form of entertainment.
From there, the movie chronicles the real-life struggle between Edward – a television journalist, and Senator Joseph McCarthy, along with his Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations. With a devotion to bringing the truth to light, Edward and his loyal staff – led by his producer Fred Friendly (George Clooney) and Joe Weshba (Robert Downey Jr.) in the CBS newsroom – withstand corporate and sponsorship pressures to investigate McCarthy’s fraud and scaremongering tactics during his communist “witch hunts”.
Good Night And Good Luck – Movies About Getting A Job. Source: Little White Lies
“Good Night And Good Luck” is not the first movie about Joseph McCarthy. The story about the rise and fall of this infamous political figure has been a great inspiration of countless directors ever since the 1950s. However, George Clooney’s sophisticated piece of art does not focus much on McCarthyism. Instead, it centers around the plan Edward and his comrade made to take down McCarthy. It enlightens audiences on a journalist’s code of ethics and morals.
The cinematography is another factor that makes this movie stand out. In the era of color movies, George Clooney insisted on making “Good Night And Good Luck” in classic black and white. Considering the overall mood, I think it is a smart decision. The film is exclusively, almost claustrophobically, about politics and the press industry and is based on a true story. Shooting in black and white gives Good Night And Good Luck a sense of authenticity and a matter-of-factness.
Furthermore, the lack of music maintains a solemn atmosphere and an emphasis on the characters’ feelings. As an audience, I felt immersed in each scene, even without music. The film helped me understand the tense atmosphere more than any words could.
The Pursuit Of Happiness (2006)
In The Pursuit Of Happiness, life is an endless battle for single father Chris Gardner (Will Smith). After being expelled from their apartment, he and his young son wander around without any place to go. Although Chris has secured an intern position at a prestigious brokerage business, the position is unpaid. Chris refuses to give up, though: He keeps fighting to get a better life for himself and his son, even though they must live in shelters and face numerous challenges.
The Pursuit Of Happiness (2006) – Official Trailer 1
Inspired by a true story, as they like to say in Hollywood, the movie is real, heavy, inspirational, but not at all cheesy. We see money matters in The Pursuit Of Happiness just as much as it does in real life, and more than other movies about the low-class people would depict.
That’s because Chris’ pursuit of happiness is actually the pursuit of wealth. What he wants is not just a better and more stable life for himself and his child. He chases after a life of luxury, with stadium box seats and sports cars like the one he saw in one scene. We all know that happiness is not all about abundance, but it is to see your child happy, your life secured, and your future bright, and you can’t achieve all of those without money. The Pursuit Of Happiness does not sugarcoat the fact of living in a materialistic society.
Beyond that harsh truth, though, The Pursuit Of Happiness delivers a bigger message: Everyone has the right to chase after their dream. People can discourage you just because they’ve failed themselves. Don’t let others make you a victim of their disappointment and misery; don’t let them crush your dream by spreading their pessimism to you. As long as you reach your limit and do everything you can, you will get what you deserve.
Just like Chris said, “The future was uncertain, absolutely, and there were many hurdles, twists and turns to come, but as long as I kept moving forward, one foot in front of the other, the voices of fear and shame, the messages from those who wanted to believe that I wasn’t good enough, would be stilled”.
The Devil Wears Prada (2006)
If you are tired of your boss, it might help to know that there are bosses worse than yours still exist somewhere.
Set in the hustle and bustle city of New York, The Devil Wears Prada follows the simple and innocent journalism fresher Andrea Sachs (Anne Hathaway). She just earned herself a position as the second assistant of Miranda Priestly, the mighty and flamboyant executive of the Runway fashion magazine.
It turns out that the job that every girl would kill for isn’t as ideal as Andy imagined. Andy, with zero sense of fashion, embarks on a fish-out-of-water adventure as she is thrust into a fast-paced environment of three-inch-minimum-heel-height, diet Coke, and coffee addiction.
To make things worst, the first assistant Emily doesn’t lie about the nasty behavior of their boss. Andy works her butt off to meet Miranda’s endless unimaginable demands. Eventually, she becomes trendy and classy, but her relationship with other people is greatly damaged.
The Devil Wears Prada (2006) – Trailer 1
I wasn’t surprised at all when the movie became a box office smash in 2006. “The Devil Wears Prada is the perfect movie for recent grads navigating their first jobs”, says USA Today’s Jaleesa M. Jones, and that’s pretty much everything that makes this comedy valuable. It helps freshers prepare for all kinds of hardship they will face, from humility to the struggle to balance between career and personal life.
What I find wisest is that the movie reminds us about one thing: Your boss is under pressure, too. Miranda is mocked by everyone, from her coworkers to Page Six, but she’s still the best at what she does. Her expertise results from years spent in an industry that can replace her with a younger, cheaper model faster than throwing away an untrendy shirt. When you combine the stress of constantly having to be on your toes with the parenting responsibility, Miranda’s ruthlessness is reasonable.
By creating this character, The Devil Wears Prada tells us that bosses are also humans, with fears and failures, aspirations and burdens. It is easy to overlook, but having some sympathy with them can positively change things.
The Social Network (2010)
Nominated for eight Academy Awards, The Social Network won three – Best adapted screenplay, best original score, and best editing. Just like Redditor Britneyfan456 wrote, David Fincher’s masterpiece has truly defined this decade.
Based on the book “The Accidental Billionaires“, the story of “The Social Network” starts in 2003 when Mark Zuckerberg (Jesse Eisenberg), a Harvard freshman and computer whiz, founded a revolutionary project that will eventually become the global phenomenon known as Facebook.
Six years later, Zuckerberg is now one of the world’s youngest billionaires. However, his remarkable success brings both personal and legal issues in two lawsuits involving a former acquaintance.
The Social Network (2010) – Movies About Getting A Job. Official Trailer
When The Social Network premiered on October 1, 2010, it was greeted with countless criticisms about whether or not it was too harsh with the real-life Mark Zukerberg. David Kirkpatrick from Fortune, the same person to have penned a flattering assessment of Facebook’s early years, described the movie as “horrifically unfair”. Lawrence Lessig from the New Republic didn’t think screenwriter Aaron Sorkin understood or even cared about the internet. He added, “This is like a film about the atomic bomb which never even introduces the idea that an explosion produced through atomic fission is importantly different from an explosion produced by dynamite”.
Years later, when Facebook’s impact is immense, and the founder faces more and more disputes, we see that The Social Network has emerged with Mark Zukerberg’s original story. After dominating the business world, Zuckerberg eventually became one of the most wealthy and influential people. Years later, though, it appeared that his only remaining obstacle was to reclaim his past.
Still, I prefer to enjoy this movie in a simpler way instead of viewing it as a lecture about social media. We can see ourselves in the story of two young men whose friendship is cruelly shattered by ambition, ego, and hurt feelings. That’s something all of us have to go through in our journey of growing up.
Movies About Getting A Job – The Intern (2015)
Finding a new job, especially when you are already retired, is never easy. Getting bored of staying home, 70-year-old widower Ben Whittaker (Robert De Niro) jumps at the chance to work as a senior intern at an online fashion brand., Ben is well-loved by his colleagues in a short time, notably the brand’s founder Jules Ostin (Anne Hathaway). Ben’s charisma, experience, and fun-loving personality help him form a special connection with Jules.
The Intern (2015) – Movies About Getting A Job. Official Trailer
At first, I expected a mediocre comedy, with most of it centered on the humor of an older man working under a young and ambitious boss in a technologically advanced company. I was right in some ways: Jokes about Ben getting riddled with things like computers were used here and there, but they weren’t abused. Instead, director Nancy Meyers limited them to a few scenes, just enough to make the movie amusing.
The more I got into it, the more I realized that The Intern is not just any comedy. They could have depicted De Niro’s character as the stereotypical grumpy old man just for laughs, but they didn’t. Ben is a lovely, compassionate, and committed man with a teddy-bear like personality. De Niro did an excellent job portraying his role, and whenever he was on screen, he spread positivity and made the movie pleasurable to watch.
As I finished the movie, I was glad The Intern didn’t make fun of Ben. The movie proves that experience, though sometimes is underestimated by young and dynamic workers, will never get old. For instance, Ben demonstrated what it meant to “dress to impress” and proved to his colleagues that dressing nicely would always make them feel more confident and ready to work.
Still, life is an ever-changing process, so as Ben points out, it is never too late to keep moving forward and acquire new knowledge. Yes, you may hear that a thousand times, but it’s a fact. You are never too old to learn new things, and anyone is capable of teaching you a precious lesson.
The movie received a rating of 7.1/10 on IMDb and a 73% audience score on Rotten Tomatoes. It could have been higher if Hathaway’s character didn’t spend so much time seeking male approval, which makes The Intern kind of sexist. Still, this movie started a new wave of career-inspired films. Movies like The Intern include How To Be Single, Love The Coopers, and The Fundamentals Of Caring.
“When Things Get Tough, Relax”
Relax And Have Fun, You Deserve It! – Movies About Getting A Job. Source: Blogrope
On the last day of his internship, Chris Gardner (The Pursuit Of Happiness) has absolutely no idea of what the future would bring him. Can you guess what he does? He decides to go to the beach and sleep in a hotel.
Whether you are searching for a job or just start your first out of college, things can be challenging. Sometimes you might even feel like you couldn’t do anything right. As you are home, though, you can leave everything behind and enjoy one of these heart-warming movies about getting a job. Perhaps you don’t know where life will take you, but you deserve to take a break and treat yourself to something nice. After all your hard work and diligence, you have earned it.
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