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        Career wisdom: Inspiration from ‘The Intern’ movie

        Career wisdom: Inspiration from ‘The Intern’ movie

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          Have you ever watched a film and realised it mirrors aspects of your own life?

          A good one is often a source of life lessons, especially when centred on workplace relationships, as well as being entertaining.

          The Intern movie, starring Robert De Niro and Anne Hathaway, is a prime example of when a film plot mirrors real life.

          Anyone who has ever worked as an intern will be able to relate to certain situations in the 2015 American comedy-drama.

          What’s the plot of The Intern?

          A new job is always challenging but for 70-year-old Ben Whittaker, becoming a senior intern for an online fashion business is particularly brave.

          The retired marketing executive found retirement boring and wanted to get back into the game. Despite being considerably older than his co-workers, the widower soon became popular at About the Fit, an e-commerce start-up.

          Company founder Jules Ostin found him extremely likeable and talented, with his wisdom, charm and sense of humour helping them to develop a close friendship.

          Anne Hathaway and Robert de Niro excelled in the roles of Ostin and Whittaker and the film attracted positive reviews from critics and the public.

          It has also offered a unique insight into modern office life, proving that embarking on a successful journey can require more than just qualifications and job skills.

          Embracing change and adaptability

          Ben Whittaker navigates the modern digital landscape by demonstrating resilience and adaptability, despite being considerably older than his colleagues, but just why is adaptability important in the workplace?

          Quite simply, it’s the key to long-term career success. The ability and willingness to adapt to new technologies and methodologies is an essential skill in any job. Being flexible, responsive to change, creative and open to learning new skills means you can become a more valuable team member and more effective in attaining goals.

          Mentorship matters

          Jules Ostin benefits from the guidance and wisdom of her experienced intern, fostering a supportive professional environment.

          Effective mentorship builds trust, sets realistic expectations and ensures regular reviews. It offers vital career support and can include providing a role model, advising and helping employees develop their own support network of peers.

          The experience of being mentored can transform the lives of those involved. Many mentors form deep and long friendships with the person they are guiding, helping them to navigate the path towards being a successful professional.

          Career Wisdom Inspiration from The Intern Movie

          Value emotional intelligence

          Emotional intelligence means managing and harnessing our own emotions, while understanding how those around us are feeling, thus creating a deeper bond with colleagues.

          Whittaker’s ability to connect with employees on a personal level enhances his effectiveness as a team member. This is a crucial skill to help contribute to strong relationships and a positive work culture.

          Essential work/life balance

          Never overlook the importance of work/life balance and its impact on our emotional wellbeing: in the film, Ostin struggles to balance her career and personal life. The Intern encourages us to reflect on our own work/life balance, with the emphasis on finding an equilibrium to avoid burnout.

          The main side effect of a poor work/life balance is a damaged relationship with loved ones – something 48% of employees experience. In addition, 37% of workers report problems with mental and physical health.

          According to a survey by Microsoft, the Covid pandemic changed the way we feel about work forever, with 53% of employees saying they now prioritise their health over working long hours.

          Age is just a number

          The Intern challenges age related stereotyping in the workplace. Whittaker provides experience and wisdom – so what if he’s 70 years old!

          Age-based discrimination in the workplace leads to negative assumptions. Although older workers are reliable and have a strong work ethic, ageist stereotyping suggests they are less able to adapt to change and have limited technological knowledge. They are perceived as being less trainable.

          Although these assumptions are unfounded, they can lead to discrimination.

          The Intern explores workplace age diversity and portrays it in a positive light, showing how teams are better when people from different generations are involved.

          Whittaker’s problem-solving nature continually displays a growth mindset and shows that people are more passionate and creative when emotionally engaged.

          It’s well worth taking note of the lessons within the film – they might just help you continue on your own professional journey on the ladder to success.


          Image credits: © Everett Collection / | © s_bukley /

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