Let it Go (and other Career Take-Aways from Frozen)

By Claire Klieger with contributions from Jamie Grant

frozencastYou can get just about any merchandise these days with Elsa, Olaf or Anna splashed across it and it’s everywhere. Even during my visit to the shore last weekend all of the boardwalk stalls were lined with Frozen shirts (side-by-side with more traditionally kitschy shirts featuring such slogans as “Rules for Dating my Daughter,” “I pooped today,” and “Twerk Champion”). As the mother of two young daughters, it’s difficult for me to go a day without a few “Frozen” moments of song or movie. So, ready or not, here are some take-aways from the film (you’re welcome!):

“Let it Go.” Of course, it goes without saying that in addition to being arguably the most overplayed song of spring 2014, this is the most obvious career-related message from the movie.  Let go of some of the career expectations you or others have for yourself because you are most likely to be successful in any career that is aligned with your talents and interests. While it may not result in an eternal winter, being pressured into a role that isn’t the right fit for you or being in the wrong job for the wrong reasons can be pretty miserable. So, embrace your own interests – and if that happens to be ice architecture…great.disney-frozen-elsa-ice-palace-chandelier

Don’t decide on a career (or job offer) in a day. Anna takes a lot of flak in the movie, both from her sister and others, about accepting a marriage proposal from someone she met that same day. It quickly becomes clear (spoiler alert!) that she hasn’t thought things through and perhaps jumped into her decision a little too hastily.  Similarly, students who accept job or internship offers too quickly can also often experience “buyer’s remorse.” While accepting a job offer is hopefully not as critical of a decision as accepting a marriage proposal, still take a day or two at minimum to fully consider the offer.  And, while you do, come talk to us about how to best negotiate if you’re serious about the position.

OakenBe entrepreneurial (or willing to take risks). Frozen is filled with characters who have made their own way. Whether it’s  an ice vendor entrepreneur, a small trading post owner, or a cryokinetic queen, these characters embrace their independence and are not afraid to forge their own paths, even in the face of adversity (who buys ice in winter?) or the opinions of others (i.e. Elsa finding a place she could be herself).

“Hi, I’m Olaf and I like warm hugs.”  While it is probably not advisable to go around hugging random strangers, there is definitely something to be said for being nice to everyone you meet throughout your olafcareer journey. This is a theme you’ve heard before on this blog, but “honey” goes a lot further than vinegar in getting what you want in a professional setting. From networking to interviews to negotiating salary and being successful in your workplace, being professional and cordial works wonders! Of course, a little of Olaf’s self-deprecating humor never hurts either.

Your own happy career “ending” may not be only 120 minutes or so away, but these are all principles that can help you get there!

Author: Claire Klieger

Claire Klieger is an Associate Director of Career Services for College of Arts & Sciences undergraduates. She earned her Ed.D. from Penn and did her undergraduate work at the University of Virginia. Fun Fact: Claire spent 11 years in the Middle East and North Africa.

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