Seemingly Simple, Deceptively Complex

I saw the movie, The Intern, this past weekend. It was the best (happy sigh). I love a presumably simple story that turns conventional wisdom on its head just enough to make some really, really big points.

The simple story: young women who is head of start-up that has exploded, agrees to work with an intern in the company’s new program, as a goodwill gesture– to set the tone for her employees. She has no intent of actually working with said intern. The conventional wisdom turned on its head: the intern is not your traditional college intern- instead he’s a 70-year-old retired VP. It’s a new kind of senior internship program. The story basically chronicles the growth of their friendship.

So what where the big points? There are probably lots, because like any really good story, I think you’ll take from this one what you need. Here’s what I got:

  • The idea of looking forward to “doing nothing” in retirement is a myth. Doing nothing doesn’t work. We need connection– with other friends, family, co-workers, or perhaps work itself. The need for that doesn’t magically disappear at 65.
  • Building a thing that is yours (be that a start-up clothing company, a body of work as an artist, a restaurant that serves only pie, whatever) is hard. Really hard. Not everyone understands. Not everyone is happy for you. And the people who love you, understand you, and are happy for you sometimes get lost in the shuffle. That’s hard. Really hard. Approach all of it with kindness and a huge dose of honesty.
  • Accept help. Sometimes the 70-year-old man who has lived in Brooklyn his whole life knows how to get you to your meeting faster than your GPS. It seems like this one is especially hard for those who like to build those things that are theirs (see point above) — do it anyway.

I could add numerous small points to this list, like how lovely the brownstones in Brooklyn are and how there’s this awesome leather skirt that Anne Hathaway wears in one scene … but I’ll stop and let you go see the movie for yourself. Then come back and tell me what your take-away is. I’d love to know. Seriously, go, now … it’s that good!

 

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