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Lots Of Laughs & Some Great Career Advice: The Internship

I saw “The Internship” with Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson over the weekend.

No, it’s not a sequel to “The Wedding Crashers.”  It’s even better.  It’s a buddy flick set on the Google campus.

It also incorporates some well-established Hollywood plot lines: a group of outsiders and semi losers come together as a team to win a competition, one of the protagonists has a crisis of confidence and must get himself together, a mysterious outsider figure emerges at the last minute to save the day, a bully gets his comeuppance and in the end, three guys get the girl of their dreams.

I liked this movie. The writing was clever – especially the recurring use of the movie “Flashdance” as a motivational metaphor for perseverance and overcoming difficult odds.

From a career success perspective, it would seem that the immediate lesson in “The Internship” is the importance of teamwork and being a team player.

But I found some more profound career advice in the film.  Tweet 121 in my career advice book Success Tweets says, “Get genuinely interested in others.  Help bring out the best in everyone you know.  Others will gravitate to you.”

Tweet 124 says, “Everyone has something to offer.  Never dismiss anyone out of hand.  Take the initiative.  Actively build relationships.”  You can download a free copy of Success Tweets at http://budurl.com/STExpl.

By getting genuinely interested in the outsiders on their team and by helping to bring out the best in every one of them, the Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson characters – who begin the film as outcasts among outcasts – become leaders.  They reinforce a point I always make with my coaching clients…

Successful people have a deep respect for the dignity of each individual.

It doesn’t matter if the person in front of you is the President of the United States, your boss, a co-worker, a taxi driver, a security guard, the housekeeper at your hotel, or an intern at Google who isn’t treating you very well.  If you want to be successful you need to treat them all with dignity and respect.  This will help you build the important relationships you need to create the life and career success you deserve.

Relationships are critical.  None of us can do it alone.  We all need other people if we are going to succeed in our careers.

It’s difficult — if not impossible – to build strong, mutually beneficial relationships with the people in your life if you don’t respect and show a genuine interest in others.  It’s not difficult.  You can show others that you care about them as people by doing small things like remembering the name of their spouse and children, asking about their family, learning about their interests outside of work.

You don’t have to become best friends with everybody at work, but it helps tremendously if you take the time to know them as whole people, not just work colleagues.

For years, I’ve made it a habit to remember other people’s birthdays and send them an ecard.  It’s easy to do.  It’s a small thing – and one which is hardly ever reciprocated – but people are always pleased when I remember their birthdays.  Remembering people’s birthdays is just one small way that you can demonstrate that you are genuinely interested in others.

Cathy my wife is a great example of this.  She is friends with everyone – the pharmacy techs where we get our prescriptions, the couple who own the dry cleaners where we do business, the supermarket checkout people and baggers, the servers at the restaurants we frequent, and on and on and on.

Cathy is genuinely interested in these people.  She knows their names, their spouses’ names and their kids’ names.  She inquires about their lives.  She knows about their vacations, what grades their kids are in school and lots of other things about them – all because she values them as individuals and takes the time to get to know them.  She is one of the least judgmental people I know.

If you want to create the life and career success you deserve, take a lesson from Cathy.

Pay attention to the people around you.  You will learn a lot and your life will be richer for it.  Don’t judge people by what they do.  Get to know others as individuals.  You’ll be surprised at what you learn.

And that’s the important life and career success lesson I found in “The Internship.”  Two characters who were thrown together with a bunch of people they didn’t know took the time to get to know each of them as individuals.

More important, they treated each person in their band of misfits with dignity and respect.  If you do this, you’ll be on the way to creating the life and career success you want and deserve.

Bud Bilanich is a contributing blogger for JenningsWire.