9 Career Lessons From Despicable Me

Nov 14, 2013 1 Min Read


Months after the release of the movie, minion-fever is still evident. But far from just being a heartwarming story, the Despicable Me movies contain learning gems too.

Here are nine career lessons that we can take away from Gru and his quirky family.

1. Always Try to Do Better

Don’t rest on your laurels. There are always ways in which you can improve yourself or your performance.

In the first Despicable Me movie, Gru is somewhat of a successful villain and has every reason to enjoy his infamy. However, upon hearing the emergence of a younger up-and-coming villain, Vector, Gru does all he can to up his game by proposing to steal the moon.

Sure, Gru’s motives may be financial or even personal, nevertheless he portrays ambition and is also able to inspire his subordinates to be enthusiastic about his vision

2. Invest in Relationships

Take the time to really get to know the people you work with and build friendships with them. It’s important to view them as more than just colleagues because they could just provide you with a helping hand in your time of need.

In Despicable Me, Margo, Edith, Agnes and the minions offer to pool their savings to help Gru fund his mission to steal the moon. Although this shouldn’t be the only reason why we ought to build relationships, good friends can prove to be a saving grace when in dire straits.

3. Treat Your Subordinates Well

The Despicable Me movies prove that no matter where you are, it’s important to treat your subordinates well.

The minions are Gru’s best assets in terms of productivity and he knowingly rewards them with flexibility and even goodnight kisses.

In return, the minions are loyal and willing to help Gru with housework and babysitting!

If you are a team leader, don’t undermine your subordinates’ contributions and do treat them with respect.

Find out various ways to show your team that you appreciate them, so that relationships are built and talented employees don’t get poached by your competitors.

4. Know When to Be Professional

It’s important to be professional when it comes to dealing with work situations. Gru’s request for a loan for his moon-stealing operation was rejected because his daughters doodled on his worksheets and messed up his presentation.

Never bring personal issues into your workplace; neither should you let private commitments affect your work quality. Also, never tweet or post Facebook statuses about how terrible a boss or a client is.

5. A Wide Range of Experience Can Help Your Career in the Future

Just because you studied biochemical engineering in university doesn’t mean that you’re unqualified to pursue advertising and communications as a career.

In fact, a broad range of experiences could show that you are a well-rounded person with multiple skills and interests.

For example, Gru’s past experience in supervillainy leads him to being head-hunted by the Anti-Villain League.

Similarly, if you have an accounting background but discover your true passion in event management, don’t despair; your skills could help you deal better with budgets and expenses.

6. Choose Your Employers Wisely

There’s a common saying that “employees don’t leave the company, they leave their boss”; it’s true that bosses can make or break your career.

In Despicable Me 2, El Macho initially offers great benefits to the abducted minions, placing them on a beautiful island where they can play to their heart’s content.

However, he later poisons them against their will and turns them into heartless monsters. Employers will not only affect your career progression but also can influence your personal development and how you grow as a person. So pick them well!

7. Choose Your Industry Wisely!

You need to consider the demands of your industry in relation to your lifestyle choices. Gru started out as a criminal but he soon discovered it wasn’t the right choice for a family man.

Your decisions have consequences on the lives of the people around you. Certain industries require odd hours or working on weekends so bear this in mind when choosing your workplace.

If having a family is a priority for you, then avoid industries which necessitate working long hours (such as retail) or on weekends and holidays (such as broadcasting)

8. Don’t lie on your CV

In the first movie, Gru faked a profile in order to be deemed fit to adopt Margo, Edith and Agnes from the orphanage. However, he ended up underestimating the complexity of being a parent.

Similarly, lying on your CV or exaggerating your qualifications will only lend you in sticky situations.

It’s more important to be humble and be frank and make sure to be enthusiastic about learning the ropes. Furthermore, it will only be embarrassing and unethical if your lies are ever found out by your co-workers.

9. Think creatively!

Problems will differ in terms of complexity and will require different levels of sophistication to tackle. Gru tried various ways to enter Vector’s home but was unsuccessful.

However, he observed that Vector willingly opens his door to buy cookies from the girls. He played to his competitor’s weaknesses and adapted his methods, creating the first ever Cookie Robot.

Similarly, when all tried and true methods have failed, think outside the box to develop creative solutions to your problems.

Su-Ann Chien is an ambitious university student who believes we can learn from anything, even movies. Click here for more movie wisdom. 

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Tags: Youth

Su-Ann Chien is formerly an intern at Leaderonomics who believes we can learn from anything.

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