It’s that time of year! The time where couples pair off in dimly lit five-star restaurants to celebrate their love, or (in more cynical cases) try to revive it with a good cut of steak and false promises. Just kidding (mostly). It IS however the time of year I personally enjoy watching delightful romantic comedies while I wait for Reese’s Hearts to go on sale February 15th.
Saccharine reputations of Rom-Coms aside, they have a long and proud history of featuring professional women and entrepreneurs balancing life and love as they navigate their careers. If you look closely between the tropes, the abs, and heels so high most normal people would fall on their face, rom-cons are filled with valuable lessons to apply to both life and business.
You’ve Got Mail
In the days of dial-up and AOL, Kathleen Kelly (aka: Meg Ryan) owns a children’s bookstore on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, when out of nowhere a huge chain, Fox Books, builds its new edifice around the corner. With comfy chairs and deep discounts, the small indie bookstore struggles to keep up with the literary behemoth. Her delightful email romance with industry magnate Joe Fox (played by Tom Hanks) aside, Kathleen Kelly teaches us never go down without a fight. Though it’s worth mentioning that she spent a little too long in the beginning in a state of denial about how Fox Books would impact her business. Time is of the essence, keep your eyes open and don’t let a can-do attitude gloss over very real business challenges.
Margaret Tate, a high-powered Editor-in-Chief at a major publishing house in New York played by Sandra Bullock, goes into a tailspin when she learns she’s violated the terms of her work visa and will have to be deported back to Canada. First of all, she teaches us a very valuable lesson: PAY ATTENTION TO PAPERWORK. Also, no one is above the rules no matter how powerful. I’m all for bending rules in favor of success and progress, but that was a pretty poor move for someone who’s otherwise very intelligent. Her problems are exacerbated by the fact that she’s incredibly difficult to work with and treats her staff and co-workers terribly. Yes, she may come around throughout the course of the movie but being someone people like to work with usually makes them work harder for you, not against you.
Crazy Rich Asians
Rachel Chu, a successful and passionate economics professor gets the surprise of a lifetime when she finds that her boyfriend of over a year (Nick) belongs to one of the richest families in Asia and is a notorious member of Singapore high society. While Rachel’s career-mindedness strikes a nerve with members of Nick’s clan, the real lesson here is to not judge a book by its cover. She spent the better part of year with Nick, and never once did she realize how wealthy he was. As Rachel puts it, he has a Jamba Juice card, plays basketball at the Y, and uses her Netflix password. It goes to show that the perception of having money, doesn’t always align with actually having it. An important lesson when networking, meeting with potential clients and more.
Entrepreneur Movie Trailer Producer, Amanda Woods, is such a workaholic that she had an editing room built in her own home so she could work 24/7. And while that hungry entrepreneurial spirit is admirable, it’s not necessarily healthy to literally work yourself every hour of every day without exception. When her relationship crashes and burns and she heads to England for Christmas, it’s clear that Amanda has forgotten how to relax and just BE. Success doesn’t have to equal burnout. Burnout not only affects your soul, but it affects the quality of your work. And if taking a well-deserved break leads to a romance with a Jude Law type, well then…SOLD.