Besides Hidden Figures being a great movie, there were useful career lessons. It’s rare a Hollywood movie features character and positive personal attributes. The film depicted three African-American women breaking gender and color barriers at NASA. The three main women characters showed how skill and character add value to employers. These attributes energize meaningful careers, and the movie reminded us why.
Oh, did I say this is a real story? It’s historic. Yes, men, we can learn from them too! But like the evergreen tree, these lessons are planted in water, and eternal.
Each woman has an extraordinary story and talents: a mathematician, computer technologist, and engineer. Bias impeded their breakthrough: Color and gender. They had to prove their value first breaking through extraordinary barriers. Even when they shattered expectations, it wasn’t enough.
These women challenged the status quo, race relation barriers, and gender bias. Consider these attributes and similar obstacles during your job search:
1. Strategy without patience and resilience is useless
Janelle Monae’s character Mary Jackson exercised great patience but also understood her value. She had to go to court to attend a class traditionally held by men but prohibited African-Americans. Mary was willing to go through the barriers, and still confront the challenges awaiting her.
Lesson learned: Job search takes time, and waiting until you’re jobless is excruciating.
Networking adds to the intelligence you’ll need to navigate obstacles.
2. Sometimes you’re the last to know the significance of your contribution
Octavia Spencer’s showed how Dorothy Vaughn managed rejection for a promotion for years. She learned a computer language enabled her to functionalize the mainframe computers. Dorothy mastered it before the men assigned to set the computers did. Once she understood the new computer language, she taught her staff. This action resulted in the ultimate prize: A promotion to supervisor.
Lesson learned: Job trends shift incessantly in most industries. Find out how technology will play a part. Robots and computers will be the tools and the catalyst.
3. Opportunities are created and boldly requested
Taraji Henson’s character Katherine Johnson was steadfast getting to the big meeting. Women were not allowed in this session! When she finally attended, she didn’t hesitate to show her abilities. Later, those skills shaped the space program forever and saved John Glenn’s life.
Lesson learned: Be persistent when it comes to meeting key people. Look to ask the key holders and not depend on the gatekeepers.
The tools and techniques we read about are necessary. What employers respond to is character and personality. Those are attributes employers cannot train employees to own. The modern job seekers cannot afford to be passive. Today, to achieve results, your action must have actionable steps. You be intentional and follow-up, and at times, ask more than once. It’s not easy but will yield results in time.