3 Life (and Career) Lessons from 90s TV Shows
I’m not ashamed to admit that I’m just a little bit obsessed with 90s TV. I may or may not be telling the truth when I say that I’ve almost been late to work on one or two occasions because catching the end of Boy Meets World on ABC Family at 7 a.m. (You’re welcome! Enjoy) sounded more appealing than fighting morning traffic.
But whether you love or hate TV from the 90s, we can all agree that even the cheesiest of shows can teach us important lessons about life and careers.
Here are just a few examples from my three all-time favorite TV shows:
Everyone needs a mentor
If you’re a child of the 90s, you should know exactly the character I’m thinking of: the ultimate mentor, Mr. Feeny, from Boy Meets World.
Whether Cory, Eric, Shawn and Topanga liked it or not, next-door neighbor, teacher, principal and college-professor-turned-mentor-and-friend George Feeny followed the cast quite literally throughout their education, passing along plenty of life lessons throughout the years. Not all of us will be lucky enough to find a life-long mentor like Mr. Feeny, but as we grow in our careers, we meet people who provide advice and guidance and become trusted mentors, even if just for a period of time.
Everyone, from the high school student applying to college to the young professional in their first job to the CEO of a major company, needs a mentor. The good news is that you likely already have one whether you realize it or not. A mentor doesn’t have to wear a formal title. Most of my mentors don’t even know that I consider them mentors; they just are. We chat regularly and they are always there whenever I need career advice.
Hug (or talk) it out
What happens at the end of every episode of Full House? The sappy music comes on and the members of the Tanner family have a heart-to-heart about their latest conflict and the episode concludes with a hug.
While we likely won’t be hugging our bosses or colleagues to resolve problems at work, the lesson we can take away from Danny, Uncle Jesse and Joey is that it’s always best to confront and discuss problems in person. It’s easy to hide behind email or texting to deal with conflicts at work or at home (I bet DJ Tanner never had that problem), but face-to-face still rules when it comes to communication.
Avoid the urge to fire off that nasty email, give yourself time to cool down and if necessary, schedule a time to chat face-to-face with someone to resolve an issue.
Sometimes it’s best to ask for help
In every episode of my absolute favorite TV show, Sabrina the Teenage Witch, novice witch Sabrina Spellman gets herself into trouble casting spells that go awry and leans on her Aunts Zelda and Hilda to help clean up the mess.
Let’s face it; at one time or another, we all make mistakes and look to trusted mentors, family or friends for help. Understandably, it’s not always easy to ask for help, but some would even argue that asking for help is a sign of strength.
When you ask for help, you clearly have an understanding of what you’re capable of accomplishing alone, and when you need assistance to be the most effective and efficient at work. For example, a few weeks ago, I had an extremely overwhelming to-do list and asked my colleague to take on a task to ensure that I was able to meet my deadlines. Because I recognized that I couldn’t do it all alone, each assignment was completed well and on time.
What’s your favorite 90s TV show? Does it offer any lessons?
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