"The Internship" and Getting a Second Chance at Work

I am not a big fan of silly movies and try to avoid sophomoric humor at all costs. I like witty comedies that combine laughs with a message. That is one of the reasons why I enjoyed seeing "The Internship" the other day. Not being 21, I confess that some of the pop culture references were lost on me. Other than that, this somewhat charming tale of two unemployed sales persons is worth the price of a ticket for its life lessons. Having been fired from their job after their employer closes its doors, they seek a chance to intern at Google and hopefully retool their way back into the workforce. An early interview scene when they struggle to use a laptop with a webcam while sitting on little stools in the children's section of the local library is telling. Once they arrive on campus at Google, they fail at numerous tasks that require a real knowledge of programming and computers. Over time, they are shown as studying what they don't know, putting in long hours and motivating their team of young people, not picked by the Ivy League graduates, to keep trying. There is a romantic sub-plot of course and an obvious ending. They win the challenges set before them and get to stay at Google as full-time employees. Despite the formulaic approach to story telling, Owen Wilson has a point when he urges a colleague to live life without regret. Actor Vince Vaughn supposedly wrote the story and co-wrote the screen play as a way to encourage individuals to regain their business mojo by opening themselves up to the excitement of trying something new.

CBS News went a step further. In "The Internship: 6 real-life lessons from the movie" (June 18, 2013), job seekers are urged to consider any or all of the following actions:

  • Take a low or no paying job as a way to gain experience that might otherwise be difficult to obtain.
  • Be yourself in a job interview.
  • Become technology literate as quickly as possible.
  • Focus on action. A name school degree may get you in the door but what you do thereafter is the key to success.
  • Be respectful of others and demonstrate the ability to be a part of, or better yet, lead a team.
  • Stay focused on the possibilities of starting over instead of conceding defeat.

If you are inspired, you can check out information about the Google's summer internship program. For everyone else, "Starting Over" 10 Tips to Reboot Your Career" by Anne Favreau (US News, January 8, 2013) offers a wonderful tip. Figure out what needs to be done, understand the necessity to keep learning and be a problem-solver.

My dad, now retired, once told me about a colleague who left engineering in his fifties to become a veterinarian. He himself went back to school later in life to learn Computer Aided Design ("CAD") and Computer Aided Manufacturing ("CAM") in order to develop skills that he needed to get hired as a consultant.

Walt Disney said it best. "The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing."

 

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