So this week was the 15 year anniversary of one of my favourite films – ‘Legally Blonde’. The film follows Elle Wods as she goes to Harvard Law school to win her boyfriend back.
The film at first glance might draw assumptions of chick flick froth and to be fair the first 15 minutes do little to dispel that idea. However watch on and you see that below the superficial pink sparkle are themes about discrimination, prejudice, leadership and haberdashery.
My own personal take is that it is mostly about the multi faceted nature of being female and what it’s like living in a world where you are immediately judged by how you look. What you say is similarly judged and compartmentalised – Bossy, Ambitious, Part Timer or worse of all Nice.
The film takes me back to the days when at high school the deputy head (who was female) told me several times that ‘Medical School is very competitive. For every one place there are ten others vying for it. You are highly unlikely to get in.’
So when I got 3 conditional offers I was told again that is was ‘highly unlikely’ I would get in.
Like the skimming stone of time not much appears to have changed. Today I’m a Consultant Geriatrician working in the NHS. The barriers and obstacles remain but they are more covert. So the film got me to thinking about resilience.
Its about choice.
You can chose to be miserable and mired at work or you can choose to do things differently. To put this into some kind of tangible context its worth remembering that for the vast majority of us working to, lets say 65, we will spend approx. 35% of our lives in work. Or as one study quoted ~110,000 hours.
Are you really going to be that unhappy for that length of time? I see many of my older colleagues coming back to work after their official retirement. It also makes me wonder about my colleagues who tell me that they just want to retire and have a life. It makes no sense!
Now, to be clear I’m not talking about being sunshine and rainbows all the time. Our job at times is hard, stressful and utterly demoralising. It is also the most amazing, satisfying and interesting job a person can do and that is why I love it!
There can be prejudice or assumptions that comes with being that positive person in such a negative environment I was once told that it ‘must be hard being the team cheerleader all the time’. You may be judged as caring less, presumed to be less knowledgable and frankly just not serious enough.
This could be demoralising if it were true and you allow people to project their issues on to you.
But the world needs cheerleaders. Individuals who make being the tough days that little bit better. Smart, fun, serious – multi faceted.
2, 4, 6, 8 who do we appreciate?