There is just no way around it – FRIENDS is an iconic piece of pop culture history. The defining TV show of its time, one that captured the struggles, joys and ethos of being 20-something, living alone(ish) and growing up in a big city with just a handful of friends to call family! FRIENDS went on to redefine not just relationships and friendships, but also gave birth to numerous genre tropes and storytelling formats that we have now come to associate with the modern Sitcom. Its universal themes of surviving the rollercoaster ride that is being a responsible adult stood out to every teenager of the time, and surprisingly millions of millenials now! Before we start digressing in an uncontrollable fashion, it is important to set the right context for this piece.
As the show recently completed its 25th Anniversary, we thought it was the right time to revisit the show and unearth some key lessons it encapsulated for working professionals. After all, if you think about it , a lot of the critical events and memorable story arcs were almost always born out of one of the characters’ desire to seek better and more in terms of work. From Rachel’s wish to leave her waitressing days behind and break into Fashion to Monica’s dream of running her own kitchen, professional aspirations in FRIENDS have often found themselves at crossroads with personal relationships and confronting unpleasant situations. On that note, we stray slightly from our tendency to write articles from the HR and Management’s perspective and delve into the lessons FRIENDS has for the Employees – those who make organizations and products like Qandle what they are!
Give Yourself Time!
This, for us, is the biggest takeaway from the show. It is no secret that the average working professional struggles with finding the right balance between what they’re good at, what they are passionate about and what, ultimately, pays the bills! For a lot of people, most of their professional journey is defined by the struggle to get this formula just right. But if there’s one thing FRIENDS can teach you, it’s that patience and perseverance is key. It’s unlikely that on your very first try or at a very young age, you will end up figuring out what drives you in life. There can only be one Ross after all! Joey, Monica, Rachel have all gone through long periods of being in less-than-ideal situations before their incremental efforts and persistence led the way to their dream jobs! For that matter, Chandler gave up a perfectly comfortable job as a ……..we wanna say Transponster?……..to start as an intern in the field of Advertising, something he sincerely believed he would be great at!
It is important to get some experience first before you’re able to start evaluating where you are and where you would like to go (or where you definitely would not like to go). The process of elimination can be pretty powerful if done right! In such cases, having a supportive manager and an organization that recognizes your interests and skill set can make all the difference in the world! Any organization that invests in employee Training & Development and gives employees the freedom to work on cross-functional projects will win their trust, support and loyalty. Consequently, in such situations employees are able to be their best selves. Keep putting in the time and the effort, they will pay off soon enough. All it takes is for one Alessandro’s to randomly drop by your apartment one day and offer you your dream job as the Head Chef!
Don’t Compare Your Journey With That of Others!
In the age of Social Media, there is often no such thing as too much information, or TMI as the kids call it! Oversharing is law of the land and this paves the way for excessive comparisons with our peers on every parameter imaginable. In the professional context, job titles, locations, packages, awards – everything is up for comparison and this seldom leads to anything productive. It’s easy to look at someone’s journey and draw premature conclusions about the kind of professional growth they’re enjoying or the kind of life they are leading; understanding what went into the making of all of that is a whole other ball game. FRIENDS depicts this in numerous instances. Chandler, Ross and Monica took relatively lesser time to figure out a comfortable path of progression for themselves, something which became the envy of the other three. So much so that it created a rift in the group when they couldn’t where they should go to celebrate Monica’s birthday as Joey, Rachel and Phoebe felt they didn’t make nearly as much as money as the others and hence couldn’t go to fancy restaurants. What they missed acknowledging at the time was, for example, the barrage of humiliation Ross had to office throughout his formative years for “obsession with Dinosaurs’ which led him to become the qualified and revered Paleontologist we know him as.
I guess what we are trying to say here is that we are all on our own paths. It’s often difficult not to compare our lives with that of others, but such comparisons should exist for no purpose other than drawing inspiration. Joey always knew he wanted to be an actor but had to play some admittedly unrefined characters before landing a role as the lead in his own TV show and going on to do Hollywood cinema. Rachel started out doing something completely unrelated to her field of interest, took the time to understand her passion and pursued it by all means necessary. At the end of the day, our destination is the same – being in roles that give us a sense of professional achievement and personal satisfaction. The roads we all individually take to get there will be as diverse as they come, hence comparisons serve little purpose. As they say, you do you!
Well, there you have. Two hopefully useful and actionable nuggets of information straight from the lives of six unique, lovable, relatable and ultimately memorable individuals from the Big Apple. Now, if you excuse us, we need to get back to our 142nd re-watch binge. Thank you!
P.S. If you as an HR are looking for ways to put these lessons into practice, appraise and share feedback with employees effectively and free up your valuable time so you can know and understand your teams better, Qandle can certainly help you with that. Visit our website to know how!