Corporate Girl Diaries: Why don’t more of us look up to Andy Sachs?

I am 99% certain that Andy Sachs (Anne Hathaway’s character in The Devil Wears Prada) was Sheryl Sandberg’s muse for Lean In— which explains why every time anyone insists I read the book I’m like, “Hello, I’ve seen Devil Wears Prada like 25 times, okay? I think I get the point.”

Aside from the fact that any film with Stanley Tucci or Meryl Streep makes my heart swell like my wrist the time I nose dove off a trampoline at 13 years old, The Devil Wears Prada is an honest roadmap for navigating the daunting journey that is Making Serious Career Moves. I’m not IMDB and I don’t want to spend my fleeting sense of motivation dissecting the minutiae of a movie you’ve had 13 years to see, so if you’ve never done yourself the favor of watching this film you should probably pause whatever you’re doing (reading this) and enlighten yourself for the next hour and 50 minutes before reading on. 

I’ll pen you a very brief rundown in case you refuse to listen to my sage advice and continue onwards (I am such a giver!): 

Andy Sachs is an aspiring writer who lands a job as the assistant to the editor of a prestigious fashion magazine, Runway. Her demeanor, appearance, and aspirations are a stark contrast from both her superior and her peers, which makes it difficult for her to relate to the level of effort put forth for something as trivial as a multi-million dollar fashion editorial—after all, nothing could ever compare to Andy’s hard hitting piece on the Janitors’ Union! The beginning of Andy’s jaunt as an executive assistant is wrought with feelings of disconnect and frustration; she’s there to ultimately be introduced to Big Time Magazine Editors and Journalists, but for reasons unbeknownst to her, everyone else is content spending 60 hour weeks discussing the color cerulean blue? Morons! Sitting comfortably atop her high horse, she’s projecting major “I’m too much of an intellectual for my job” vibes which is absolutely what not to do when it comes to Making Serious Career Moves and Not Fumbling Your Bag.

I’ve never had a job I’ve actually enjoyed, and I’m pretty sure that’s an okay thing for a 25 year old woman to admit? Just 3 years ago I’d sit and work and get very much into telling myself, “I am too charming to listen to these stale men all day long! Corporate America is terrible and I’m too passionate about having fun to be saying ‘I’ll follow up’ all day long like a broken record until my heart gives out!” Then, one afternoon while going full Issa Rae, standing poised in front of my mirror complaining aloud to myself, I heard the words of Nigel (played by Stanley Tucci) reverberate through my temporal lobe: 

“You’re not trying, you’re whining.”

Like Raven in That’s So Raven, I snapped out of my trance and thanked Stanley Tucci for changing the course of my life as I knew it. Just like Andy had to accept that she’d have to learn how to pronounce Dolce and Gabbana if she ever wanted to meet any Big Time Journalist, I understood that I wasn’t going to accomplish anything by coming home every night and whining about the fact that I was so bored at work I watched Youtube for 5 hours. In the film, Andy undergoes a head to toe makeover to symbolize her newfound desire to do her fucking job—complete with a fresh blowout, bangs, and thigh high Chanel boots. Although I don’t own Chanel boots, I have started using feather pens and coordinating them to match my outfits, which has pretty much had the same impact on me. I still have days where I torment myself for not being exactly where I want to be, and I’m always confused as to why I work with 50 people who show no appreciation for my collection of silk midi dresses, but I know I’ll never be too good for a job that allows me to pay my rent on time and provides me with health insurance that fully covers the cost of my birth control.  

It’s not totally out of left field that once Andy starts looking hot and becoming the Head Bitch In Charge at Runway, her selfish boyfriend, Nate, starts shitting all over her career. Time and time again, Andy explains that her job is a means to an end—she’s doing what she has to do now so that one day she can transform herself into a revered journalist, duh! Was Nate complaining when she was flaunting haute couture lingerie and showering him with Miranda Priestly’s unopened birthday gifts? Of course he wasn’t! But the minute she has to flip open her T-Mobile Sidekick in the middle of happy hour, she’s a selfish harlot. It’s also not completely out of left field that the same night I accepted a job offer my boyfriend tried picking a fight with me while I was enjoying a celebratory rack of ribs. We’ve all been there. The path to getting what you want out of life is winding and confusing, and the people who actually care about seeing you succeed will do you the favor of offering constructive criticism. If the only  advice someone has to offer about your choices comes unwarranted and stems from a place rooted in egotism, then consider them BLOCKED.

Ultimately, Andy gets dumped and is blessed with having the opportunity to throw all of her breakup energy into a trip to Paris which is the chicest way to handle being left by your narcissistic ex-boyfriend. One thing leads to another, though, and in a moment of devout morality she chooses to also walk away from her boss of nearly a year. If you’ve actually ingested and memorized every scene from this movie like I have, you’ll know this as the moment when she tosses her ringing T-Mobile Sidekick into a Parisian fountain— something that will always be a life goal of mine. It seems like I’m constantly told that the best relationships should push us to learn and grow as human beings, yet we should never lose sight of who we are in the process. Because I spend more time at my job than I do with any man I’m dating (when there is one), I’ve started treating it the same way as my relationships—I want my job to push me to become a better version of the person I already am. Who I am when I’m learning from my job and relationships is like a cold brew with a splash of half and half. Without the creamer, you’re still able to distinguish that it’s a coffee—but the creamer makes it a whole lot better. Look at Ms. Sachs! She treated her brief stint at Runway like the half and half coffee; she started dressing better, she stopped eating corn chowder, but she never completely gave up being “Size 6, Writing About Janitors’ Unions Andy.” When my boss imposed a strict dress code as a means of robbing me of my stylistic freedom, I used it as an opportunity to purchase 5 variations of a cheetah print blouse and shout “deal with it!” as I enter the office every morning. Thanks, Andy!

Andy did what she had to do to find success within her job, but she held onto her integrity the entire time. And because of that, when it came time for her to pursue her passion in journalism, she had an advocate in her corner by the name of Miranda Priestly. 

Over the course of 1 hour and 50 minutes (watched and re-watched once a month for the past 10 years), Andy Sachs has become an archetype for the kind of woman I absolutely need to be in the workplace—adaptable, yet unapologetically herself. And even on my worst of days, even when I royally sabotage my life and feel like I’ll never fully recover, I remind myself that  none of this truly matters because our planet is dying and a fulfilling career means nothing when humanity is going extinct in front of our very eyes! 

XOXO, 

Your favorite corporate fairy! 

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