Study Guide 27: Entrepreneurship
The MILDRED PIERCE Study Guide by Kathy R. Wildt can be purchased as an instant PDF download for $5.95. After reading the description below, if you wish to purchase this study guide, just click the “Add to Cart” button and follow the simple instructions. Don’t worry – if you change your mind mid-order, simply exit the browser. Once payment is completed you will receive a link that allows you to download the guide to your computer right away. You may save it to your computer’s hard drive and print it out when and if you need to.
The American business climate has changed. There is a general economic downtown: high unemployment with few apparent job opportunities, large corporations contracting their businesses, sending jobs overseas; people have stopped buying products and services because they have less disposable income and don’t see a need for any product currently available. What the economy needs is an injection of innovative thinking and new products. You or your company have a great idea but aren’t sure of the steps involved to get started. You see this current market crisis as a great opportunity for a new or expanded business during a market downturn and high unemployment, but you need a little encouragement to move forward. Is it worth the risk? How do you get started, particularly if you have to balance business with a family?
Watch and Read if:
- You are contemplating a new business start-up.
- You see business opportunities in a slow-growth market with high unemployment.
- You’re looking for a “recipe” for a successful start.
- You need some encouragement to start. You need help realizing that the vision must come from you.
- You believe that you know your business, but can’t do it alone and don’t know where to look for additional managers.
- You have a tendency to ignore business problems, or let your advisors solve them for you.
- You underestimate the importance of product knowledge, skills and market research.
- You can’t decide how to balance family sacrifice vs. business growth.
An excerpt from the plot summary:
For Mildred Pierce, whose husband Bert has lost his business, these difficult years have brought not only loss of status as the wife of a successful real estate developer, but also have forced her to assume the responsibility as the sole bread winner for her family. Mildred has to find a way to turn her only marketable skill, that of baking tasty pies, into a livelihood.
Fed up with Bert’s inertia and angered by his affair with a local woman, Mrs. Beiderhof, Mildred kicks him out, takes the car and the house, and shoulders her responsibilities as a single mother, hitting the pavement to look for work. Depression-level unemployment stands at 25%, and women like Mildred who seem to lack marketable skills are numerous. Mildred, who had married young and lived an upper middle-class life, has no idea how to look for a job or even what kind of job to seek. She has to humble herself, admit that the only job she can find is as a waitress, and accept the disdain of Veda, her selfish, oldest daughter.
Mildred’s stubborn character, her resolve to provide for her daughters and her belief in herself make her a character worth admiring. After she kicks Bert out, she tells her friend, Lucy Gessler, “I just can’t take things lying down. I got my own ideas and I just can’t change them for somebody else”. The steps she takes as she achieves her success serve as a great model for entrepreneurs who find themselves starting new businesses or reinventing old ones.
Summary of the commentary:
Mildred Pierce learns, from necessity, to build on her personal skills, watch and learn from others (including her boss, her friends, and her employees and succeeds in building a successful and popular group of restaurants. Along the way she also learns that she must stick to the financial principles of sound business and balance painful choices involving work and family. The challenges Mildred faces and the lessons she learns can help would-be entrepreneurs avoid many missteps and disappointments in their own startups.
The commentary includes breakout boxes and supplementary material, including:
- Discussion points and questions
- The Working Parents’ Dilemma: An approach to balancing the demands of work and parenting.
- Listing of cast and credits
Study Guide by Kathy R. Wildt
About the author
Kathy R. Wildt is the owner of Reigle-Wildt Publications, based in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
The following Study Guide can be purchased as an instant PDF download for $5.95. If you wish to purchase this study guide, just click the “Add to Cart” button and follow the simple instructions. Don’t worry – if you change your mind mid-order, simply exit the browser. Once payment is completed you will receive a link that allows you to download the guide to your computer right away. You may save it to your computer’s hard drive and print it out when and if you need to.