Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Stressed Out! Movies About Stress at Work

I am having one of the most stressful weeks at work, between meetings, tasks, room inspections etc. I have had little time to do breath or catch up on other work I need to get done.  Tonight I left work at 6 pm, and have rarely had the opportunity to just breath, until now.  Time to vent and let out my emotions through the power of film.  Jobs can be stressful, there are stressful times, and when a lot of things pile up they become emotionally and physically draining.  After a long day of work yesterday and a staff meeting at 8 pm I came into my apartment put on my TV and passed out at 9:30.  I think the last time I went to bed that early was when I was 10.  I am prepping for the end of the week to have the same effect as I am trying to catch up on things I need to complete.

Most of the movies out there describe bad work environments as opposed to someone having a stressful week.  The reality behind the matter is that it's easier to depict a situation where someone hates their job completely or someone is in an extremely bad work environment.  There a lot of movies like this, and some of them are extreme like one that was released this year, Horrible Bosses.  The premise of the film is that three friends are in bad working environments with "horrible bosses" and they decide to plot and kill their bosses.  This film is not only horrible (pun intended) but the premise is just almost beyond stupid.  The backdrop of this film is that since the economy is bad none of the men can afford to lose their job, and some even enjoy their profession.  I have to say I turned the film off in the middle so I saw no redemption in the premise and did not laugh much.  Horrible Bosses appeared to have the message that if you hate your boss or they provide a bad working environment killing them is an option.  I know this film is a comedy, and the point is dark humor, but I just did not laugh.

You can say I am a film snob, but there are other films that have done this better.   Nine to Five (1980) which starred Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin, Dolly Parton, and Dabney Coleman.  In the film the three women kidnap their boss because he is a misogynist and they want to teach him a lesson about respecting women at work.  I do not think all movies need a message, but Nine to Five was a timely movie about women in the work place while Horrible Bosses is trying to justify people doing crazy things in a terrible economy.  The problem with Horrible Bosses is that it used gimmicks to be funny, and while trying to be a dark comedy it just is a dark flop.  The new modern women was entering the work force in Nine to Five and this film showed that women have as much talent and brains as men.  The film has some darkness, but the real message is that don't think the system is going to stay the same!

Films seems to tend to focus on the boss being the problem at work.  I think my boss is actually pretty great; she is helpful and lets me just rant when I need to (yes Ann you are good at that).  Movies also focus on the work environment causing the stress or  a combination of the office space and the boss.  The Devil Wears Prada (2006) focuses on how Miranda Priestly (let's be honest modeled after Anna Wintour) who is the editor of Runway the fashion magazine (again this is about Vogue) is a tyrant with her assistants.  Anne Hathaway plays Andy Sachs the girl who knows nothing about fashion who tries to make in a work environment where she does not fit.  Meryl Streep plays Miranda Priestly a nightmarish boss who demands her staff be flawless, because after all "In fashion one day you are in, and the next day you are out."  Miranda Priestly is awful, but the world of fashion contributes to the stressful work environment.  Everyone at Runway takes fashion so seriously, and if there are flaws in a fashion line, it means death!

Meryl Streep as Miranda Priestly in The Devil Wears Prada: The glacial facial expressions, ruthlessness, condescension and complete uninterest in “the details of your incompetence” would make this boss “hell on heels.” Photo: AFP / HCI think sometimes when I am at work I am afraid to make mistakes, not because it means death from my supervisor, but because I hold myself to high standard.  I think my bosses, and co-workers are often easier on me, than I am on myself.  I sometimes stress myself out too much.  I think this is a trait many people are guilty of.  I put pressure on myself to be the best.  There are of course mistakes that can be made and mistakes that I can't make in my job.  I think most of the times mistakes should be treated as a learning tool.  My supervisor has helped me to do that.  There are people who I have encountered who take things more seriously because they have someone higher to report to, and who holds them accountable for different things.  I do not want my actions to reflect poorly on my bosses, but the truth of the matter is that mistakes happen, and how its the way you act after they do that speaks to your character.  

Movies make the stress at work seem awful! Movies can also make a bad work day entertaining.  People can go to the movies and sit back and laugh at how mean Miranda Priestly and say "Boy do I have it easy" or even "Wow my boss is just like that."  Movies have so much power to make us think about things or laugh and provide great entertainment about specific situations.  I enjoy movies because they can help me put so much into perspective.  Movies make me think and help process things. Today I hit a peak level for stress because one thing set me over the edge.  I had so much on my plate and then one bad thing made it all worse.  I have to think that Scarlet O'Hara said it best "After all tomorrow is another day" and work is just work at the end of the day.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

i feel like this post is about me right now :/