Career Lessons From the Movie ‘The Pursuit of Happiness’

Based on a true story, “The pursuit of happiness” is a drama film based on one father’s struggle with homelessness for close to a year. Chris Gardner, played by Will Smith, is an on-and-off homeless man who invests his entire life savings in an invention he believes will revolutionize the medical world. While he is able to sell most of his scanners, dragging sales do not match up to his financial demands. The financial crisis enrages his already angry wife and eventually erodes their marriage. Their five-year-old son remains in the care of Gardner, who ends up becoming homeless. At one point, father and son have no option but to sleep in a restroom at a subway station. Gardner’s ongoing internship, which has not been paying him so far, culminates in a full-time job in the company. He eventually establishes his multi-million dollar brokerage company. Several career lessons emerge from this sad yet triumph story.

Discomfort is Good for Growth

People, especially those in good jobs, easily get addicted to a comfort zone. No one likes problems, and yet they play an integral role in catalyzing change, consequently fostering growth. It is as a result of his desperation that Gardner develops a way to make phone sales calls, sometimes defying protocol to reach high-value customers.

Attitude Counts

Decision of how to manage your work and treat your colleagues and employers affect your reputation, promotion prospects and career growth. In his lowly circumstances, Gardner does not reveal any of it to his colleagues, at one point lending his boss five dollars for a cab even though he cannot afford it. When he concludes his internship, his beautiful attitude is revealed in his decision to appear at work looking good for his last day, and he gets the job. Forbes Magazine cites attitude as everything when pursuing career growth and meaning.

Self-Belief is Paramount

Gardner was a man whose back was against the wall. He had lost everything and was left between a rock and a hard place. His determination and believe in himself enabled him to pull through. Failure at work, which could lead to losing your job, is discouraging, but holding on to your dream of being the best in the industry pays off in the end.

Seek Jobs That Link Rewards to Results

In the movie, Chris Gardner juggles between a medical equipment sales job and a stock brokering job together. He does one on weekdays and one on the weekends. If your performance and payout are not related, think of ways to get a better employment contract or establish a second stream of income. Jobs that only pay you based on the number of hours you work limit your ability to grow your income since there is no way to make more time in a day.

Networking is a Key Ingredient in Career Growth

Approximately 70 percent of jobs and opportunities are not advertised, according to the president of Career Horizons, Matt Youngquist. Being acquainted with the right people increases your chance of rising with the tide. Chris Gardner got his big break when he got into the exclusive box stand. Working with the CEO of a large pension fund added to his credibility, which helped him build his sales and eventually establish a successful brokerage firm.

Ultimately, how high you go in your career is dependent on you. What matters is your drive, confidence in self and willingness to succeed. In addition, less comparison of status with other people allows you to define a personalized dream and determine your path.


Image source: Elitedaily




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