Boy-meets-girl, both meet career expectations.

This is not another review about how La La Land is a nostalgic escape from the political turmoil of the day. Nor is it about how the film is a saccharine example of why the world is so polarised. The movie is both of those things. This article is about La La Land as a different genre: a feature-length infotainment production about career progression in a competitive job market.

If you don’t want spoilers…

What you should know: It’s a pleasant movie with a secondary storyline about romance. It’s not about romance. That doesn’t mean that it’s not romantic, but it has more than one definition of romance. Now, stop reading because the spoilers are coming.

If you’ve already seen it, or you don’t care about spoilers, read on…

This is a playful movie about how to be good at networking. Read this version of the synopsis and tell me I’m wrong:

La La Land is about two people in the same industry trying to rise up the career ladder. Promotions elude them because of their poor attitudes, which causes friction within their networks. The girl learns to focus on positive-thinking and skill development. The boy learns about grief management techniques and goal setting. Both are able to achieve their professional goals, but the audience is able to see that if they had not been so negative during their networking activities, they would have reached their career goals faster and experienced smoother personal lives as well.

Lessons from La La Land

The main theme of the movie is networking. Whatever your goals are, if your interactions with others are positive, your life will move in the direction you want it to move. When Mia and her friends sing “Someone In The Crowd”, they may have well all been recruitment consultants. The message (somewhat lost in their desperation) was about nurturing positive relationships. Even outside of the entertainment industry, this is a good lesson. Actually, La La Land has a lot of good lessons.

Lesson 1: It’s not just what you know, it’s who you know and how you treat them

Have you ever had a job that you didn’t care about? You did the minimum amount of work, maybe you turned up late a lot. You didn’t put in much effort because you knew you wouldn’t be staying there for long. So what happened when you were ready to leave? You didn’t have a good referee because nobody wanted to vouch for you. You didn’t care about their job, why would they care about yours now that you’re leaving? But it’s not just your relationships with known connections that could be affected. You never know who is going to be a useful connection, so don’t burn your bridges.

Lesson 2: Sacrifice is not the answer

As discussed before, sacrifice is stupid. If you lie to someone to make them or someone else happy, you will hurt someone. If your personality, beliefs, passion and soul all align and then you give up who you are for someone else, you’ll both end up miserable. You’ll get stuck in a sacrifice circle until one of you breaks. That’s not fun. But if you are positive and stay true to who you are, you’ll get wherever you are headed faster and it will be an easier ride.

Lesson 3: It’s not too late to change your career trajectory

Feel like you have stalled, think about what you can do about it. Could you get some extra training, maybe a free online course or a via a local meet-up? Could you attend some networking events, and if you already do are you developing meaningful connections? Have you actually identified your goals so you know exactly what you are working towards and why?

Lesson 4: Your vision of success can change and you can still be happy

Don’t adjust your vision to fit your resources. Identify your vision and adjust your resources to fit. What did Mia truly want from her career? She wanted her work to have a positive impact on people.  That success could have taken many different forms, but if she had held too tightly to the vision of affecting others through screen acting, she wouldn’t have worked on her play, which developed her storytelling skills, which got her film gig. Her skill development advanced her career in either ending, but when Mia enjoyed the process she had a greater impact in her audience and felt more successful. As said in Lesson 3 above, it’s not too late to change your trajectory, just remember to enjoy the changes on the way.

 

If nothing else, think of La La Land as a reminder that we could all benefit from a little self-reflection. Re-evaluate what you want from life and see if you’re on the right path. While you’re contemplating, put the film’s soundtrack on. I think we can all agree it’s pretty damn good.

8 thoughts on “How watching La La Land could help your career (spoilers)

    • Thanks Kevin! I’m a very strong believer that everyone should have their own personal idea of what success looks like. I wish you a good journey towards yours! Feel free to look around for more inspiration 🙂

  1. Nice outlines! I wasn’t so sure about watching this movie but after your review, I believe that I might give it a chance. I heard of how many awards they’ve won and most of my acquaintances tell only positive things about the movie. Thank you for your outlines, I will try to take them into consideration from now on!

    • If you go in thinking that it’s about career dreams rather than romantic ones, you should enjoy it. It is visually beautiful and the soundtrack is definitely enjoyable.

      Thanks for your comments about the lessons! I hope they stay in your mind and you get good results 🙂

  2. I’ve seen this movie popup many times on social media, especially Facebook. There’s some great reasons that you pointed out that could help us in our career. One that I really liked was: “Your vision of success can change and you can still be happy”. When you think about it, it is so true! It had no idea that changing our resources was the best way to do it. Often times we just change our vision, simply because it makes it more achievable that way. You have REALLY helped me open my eyes now, so thanks a lot!

    • Absolutely, Brandon! So often we sell ourselves short. We go for an easier “dream” when we don’t have to. The important thing is to identify when it is that you really want and then think about what resources you need (at what potential paths there are to get there). Really glad to hear you got something from this – keep in touch!

  3. I haven’t watched the movie yet so I skipped the Spoilers part. 🙂 But just from reading the lessons alone, I think it is going to be a great movie. I can identify with the lessons gleaned from the movie. It’s a good reminder to do a little self reflection on our goals and what we want from life. Thanks for sharing!

    • Do see the movie, it’s fun to watch and the tunes are lovely. It’s also great for starting conversations with your friends and family about what it all meant to the characters and what dreams and goals mean to you. That’s where this post came from. Four of saw the movie and we each understood very different messages from it. Once you see it, come back and let us know your thoughts!

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