Study Guide 11: Managing Your Career
The “Working Girl” 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.
You work hard for your money but you know you are underemployed. You’re still stuck in the clerical track, despite the hours you’ve spent earning a business degree in night school. The people you work for demean you by viewing you as “only an assistant” and add insult to injury by treating you as a sex object. Fed up, you quit, hoping to find a better opportunity with a firm that will appreciate you for your talents and your drive. You need to find an employer who will treat you and your ideas with respect; one that will give you an opportunity to break out of the clerical ghetto, through the glass ceiling and into the life you feel you have earned. Working Girl shows how persistence and the power of a great idea can make your dreams come true.
An excerpt from the plot summary:
Tess explains that she’s 35 years old and, though it took five years of night school, has gotten her degree “and with honors.” The employment agent tells Tess she’s found an opportunity for her with someone named Parker who is transferring to New York from Boston. As she hands Tess the file, the agent tells her not to blow this opportunity, that she’s running out of them. Tess takes the file and leaves.
Tess shows up for work with a box of personal belongings and begins setting them out on the desk she has been assigned. As she unloads, her new boss walks in. It’s Catherine Parker (Sigourney Weaver). Parker has presence: tall, elegant, exuding self-confidence. She walks over to Tess and, before introducing herself, makes a comment about a stuffed bunny that Tess has in the box. Tess explains that it’s a birthday present and Catherine says that she has a birthday coming up herself. She’ll be 30 on Tuesday. Tess is slightly taken aback. She’s never before worked for someone younger, or a woman. Catherine asks if she has a problem with that and Tess says she doesn’t. Catherine abruptly ends the conversation by asking Tess to get her a cup of coffee (“I’m light, no sugar”) and then join her in her office. At the coffee order, Tess reveals disappointment. We can almost hear her thinking of her degree, her age and now her new role of personal servitude. She doesn’t say anything, however; and we next see her bringing the coffee into Catherine’s office. Catherine is on the phone discussing stocks and acquisitions. When she refers to someone as being “in an underwater position,” we learn that Catherine is all-business.
Hanging up the phone she outlines the rules to Tess. It’s a catechism:
“. . . The way I look at it you’re my link to the outside world. People’s impressions of me start with you. You’re tough when it’s warranted, accommodating when you can be. You’re accurate; you’re punctual; and you never make a promise you can’t keep.
“I’m never on another line; I’m in a meeting.
“I consider us a team, Tess. And as such we have a uniform: simple, elegant, impeccable. ‘Dress sharply and they notice the dress; dress impeccably, they notice the woman.’ Coco Chanel.”
Tess asks how she looks and is told she looks terrific, but to rethink her jewelry.
Catherine goes on:
“I want your input, Tess. I welcome your ideas, and I like to see hard work rewarded. It’s a two-way street on my team. Am I making myself clear?”
“Yes, Catherine,” says Tess.
“And call me Catherine,” responds Catherine, after the fact. “So. Let’s get to work, shall we? This department’s profile last year was damn pitiful. Our team has got its work cut out for it.”
With that she dismisses Tess, who goes to the restroom where she tones down her makeup and removes her jewelry.
Summary of the commentary:
The Working Girl commentary focuses on career advancement and recognition. Tess McGill’s efforts to improve herself are not unusual. She has followed The Rules: Work hard. Get a degree. Read and dress for the job you want, not the one you have. And yet for Tess, as for thousands of others, following The Rules hasn’t worked. She’s 35, still stuck in a support role, still hustled by the men around her, still earning too little, fetching coffee for the boss and still considered unpromotable. The problem is not with The Rules Tess has obeyed. It’s the rules she hasn’t heard of–the one’s that are passed from mentor to protégé. The commentary presents The Rules and discusses successful mentor-protégé relationships.
The commentary is supplemented by Breakout Boxes dealing with these topics:
- High Finance: Arbitrage
- Mentors: How to Choose Them and How They Choose You
- Getting Credit for Your Idea: Five Proven Methods
- The Right Knowledge is Power; The Rest is Good for Jeopardy
- Tess McGill’s Reading List – and How She Uses It
THE GUIDE also includes a bonus essay by moviesforbusiness.com founder Shaun O’L. Higgins that looks at the film’s merger deal and compares it to the real thing. For an introductory section on how to use the Management Goes to the Movies™ program, click through to Using The MGTTM Training Program.
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.