10 HR Lessons F.R.I.E.N.D.S. Taught Us
Just as the Central Perk couch stood the test of time, so did the show in our hearts, and still ranks as one of the most-watched American TV shows of all time.
However, you might wonder: as entertaining as the show might be, is it really possible to come up with HR plans from what is actually a sitcom?
Well, the truth is that HR people can, and should, draw inspiration from anywhere and everywhere possible, and what could be a better place than a story of 6 slightly dysfunctional adults trying to make their way through their careers, relationships, and friendships, in the city of New York?
The main role of an HR person is to maximize the engagement and productivity of the employees, and for that, they need a clear understanding of human nature and behavior, something that F.R.I.E.N.D.S. offers abundantly.
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10 HR Lessons F.R.I.E.N.D.S. Taught Us
So what are the lessons HRs can learn from this super relatable show? Let’s find out!
1. You Have To Start Somewhere
We can never forget the iconic first episode; Rachel entering the coffee house in a wet wedding dress after leaving her fiance at the altar marks the beginning of a 10-year-long journey.
However, it also marks Rachel moving away from her parents and their trust fund and beginning to start a career for herself.
Despite having no clue and no definite direction, Rachel took every opportunity open to her. She started at the rock bottom as the waitress of Central Perk, a job that she hated, but then eventually found her calling in the field of fashion.
None of this would have happened if she did not take the first leap and said, “Well maybe, I don’t need your money!”
The lesson here is simple, yet effective: You have to start somewhere and build up from there.
2. Keep Upskilling Yourself
Ross the dinosaur guy might not have the greatest record when it came to marriages, but he is the one man whose career never really took a serious hit.
Although his friends kept making fun of paleontology as a career, he genuinely loved what he did, and constantly tried to move up the skill ladder.
He used to work at the New York Museum of Natural History, then he finished his PhD, published research papers, and eventually became a tenured professor of paleontology at New York University.
Ross has kept working on himself and improving his skills, an important lesson we ought to take home with us!
3. Follow Your Passion
Monica is perhaps one of the few people who had found their calling from an early age. She possessed the interest, passion, and talent set to become the Head Chef.
Her particularness about cleanliness, and her attention to detail, which might have seemed neurotic and obsessive sometimes, were an asset when it came to her work.
Monica was a true leader by nature - and she flourished all the more because she loved what she did, and was truly passionate about food and cooking.
It was nothing but her passion that could have inspired her to stand her ground against the bully coworkers at Allesandro’s or to keep up with her work as a waitress at Moondance Diner with her wig and prosthetic breasts!
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4. Never Too Late
It is never too late and you’re never too old to start afresh!
Chandler worked in statistical analysis and data reconfiguration for years (although his friends didn’t know what he did!) and despite coming close to quitting his job many times, he gave in to the security blanket of his job every time.
He finally shifted industries completely, and once again started as an intern at an advertising company, and then moved on to become a junior copywriter, at a much older age.
Chandler showed us that it is okay to leave behind an established career and start anew if that is where your calling lies.
Persistence and perseverance are probably not the greatest traits of our generation, the generation of instant gratification. However, patience and persistence are virtues that go a long, long way.
Take Joey for instance! Even after years of doing small-scale theatre, and strange regional commercials (Ichiban!), he does not give up on his dream of a big break!
Joey works the odd job here and there, from playing a dead man in a bag to Al Pacino's butt, all the while staying true to his dream of being an established actor, which eventually, he does become!
The key? Perseverance.
6. Take Risks
Funnyman Chandler Bing once told Rachel that she should quit her job as a waitress, to induce fear in her, which would inspire her to look for a new job even more.
Years later, he does the same thing with his own career. He quits his job in Tulsa and starts all over again in a completely new field.
Was that a huge risk?
Was it worth it?
If Chandler had not taken this risk, he would have never found his true calling and would have been stuck at a job that he himself described as “soul-sucking”.
7. No Work Is Too Small
We rarely talk about Phoebe when we discuss the careers of our friends. However, Phoebe is one person who has been satisfied with her career arc right from the beginning.
She worked as a masseuse and as a singer/ songwriter, and even though neither of the jobs paid her too well, she was genuinely happy with what she did.
This is yet another valuable career lesson: Do what you want to and what makes you happy. There is no work that is too small, or beneath you.
8. Passion Defeats Experience
Rachel had absolutely no experience in the field of fashion, except for her love and passion for shopping.
And yet, she scraped through, entering the field of fashion by being an assistant at Fortunata Fashion - a job she pushed through and finally became an assistant buyer at Bloomingdale's and then as a buyer at Ralph Lauren.
From there, her career graph took a steady upward turn!
9. Interest Triumphs Security
How many times has it so happened that we are afraid to leave a job which we do not like, just because of the security of the steady inflow of paychecks?
Chandler Bing, however, shows us that although job security is important, it cannot triumph your interest - or lack of it - in that job.
You need to first like what you do, and for that, you need to do what you like!
10. Do Things Because You Love Them, Even When You’re Not Great At Them
Talent is important, of course. But sometimes, we need to do things not because we are good at them, but simply because we like doing them!
Take Phoebe for example. She might not be the best musician or the most conventional lyrics writer, or might not know all the chords on the guitar.
Her winning charm is that she loves what she does, and does not care what anyone else thinks. And this is a lesson we need to learn not just for our careers, but for our lives, too!
You can draw inspiration from everything if you have the right attitude! If you start to implement these lessons in your day-to-day work life, you’ll be on the right track to success.
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