5 career lessons from Beauty and the Beast
Tale as old as time…
The hit movie that is sweeping Singapore (and the world) at the moment is Disney’s remake of Beauty and the Beast. The classic tale has strong themes of love, appearances, community, identity and exile, which teach us a lot about how we view other people and how we live our lives. But what about our careers?
Yep, even in a tale about a young French girl and a seemingly ‘hideous’ beast, we can find teachings to help us navigate our work lives.
To stop your career from crumbling if the last petal falls, follow these lessons from the hit Disney movie.
1. Never stop learning
Belle, the gorgeous but “odd” girl from a small French village, is obsessed with books. In a province where women are expected to simply get married and live their lives out doting on a family, Belle is determined to read, learn and digest information. And once she’s in the freaky mansion and trapped by the Beast, she passes on her knowledge to him. Belle teaches the Beast about kindness, compassion, seeing the best in people, and also how to eat soup with a spoon. Learning is a 360-degree thing!
2. Take a chance every now and then
The magic of Disney tells us that the best things can happen when we least expect it to. For Belle, she would have never expected to fall in love with the Beast who kept her a prisoner, but she took a chance on him, and look how it turned out. Sure, it may be a bit Stockholm Syndrome-esque, but we prefer to analyse it as taking a leap of faith.
In your career, it may not always be clear what your true path is, but if you open your mind to the situation you find yourself in, great things can happen.
3. Look beyond the exterior
Also can be interpreted as “don’t judge a book by its cover”. The Beast, of course, is a beast - but is he, really? Prejudice is something we all have to actively fight in the workplace - whether it’s to do with something like believing a rumour about your boss, or something broader like dealing with unconscious bias and sexism. Don’t let appearances rule your decisions.
Sure, a company you’re interviewing with might not have a big name for themselves, but until you find out more information how will you know whether it’s the right fit for you? It could end up being the job of your dreams.
4. Always have a sidekick
Lumiere has Cogsworth. Mrs Potts has Chip. Even Gaston has LeFou. Everyone needs a sidekick, or a buddy.
At the office, it’s important you have people who are always on your side, acting as pillars of support, mentors, and friends. Considering how much time we spend at the office, it’s important to build a sort of ‘family’ there, so always try your hardest to get to know people and form solid, authentic relationships.
5. Don’t let fear hold you back!
Don’t be afraid of being different, having different ideas, or not conforming to expectations. Belle wasn’t the kind of girl her village expected her to be; her father, Maurice, was considered “weird” because he was slightly eccentric, and the Beast was considered to be a horrible, grizzling monster simply because of the way he looked (and the fact he lived in a creepy castle.) But Gaston - the sexist, rude and fairly hideous human being who tries his hardest to woo Belle - is seen as an absolutely charmer by the rest of the village, because he’s good looking. And look how things turned out for him…
Point is, you should never feel bad because you might be different. In the workplace, different is good. A strong office culture needs a variety of people with unique ideas and way of tackling problems - so embrace your differences!