If you thought the 80s was all about big hair, sparkly spandex, and awkward dance moves, well, you’d only be partially right.
Believe it or not, the decade many people would like to forget proved to be one of my more insightful mentors throughout my career—particularly through its music. Although I was much too young to see their relevance when they first came out over the airwaves (you know, as in the radio, before we all had iPods and Pandora?), these songs certainly highlighted some important career lessons that I would only come to appreciate once I joined the workforce.
Read (and listen) on for some surprisingly wise guidance gleaned from my soundtrack of the 80s.
My very first job after college wasn’t the most glamorous and honestly, probably wasn’t all that critical to world peace or global financial stability and all that. But that didn’t faze me in the slightest. I was young and ambitious, and my days as an inexperienced youth were in the past. Ain’t nothin’ gonna breaka my stride!
When I first moved to San Francisco from my home state of Montana, the culture shock was both welcome and, well, shocking. I remember jostling along through the train station, trying to get to my first day of work and feeling this incredible pressure and tension. Queen and David Bowie know all about it, and after listening to this song, I kind of grew to love the pressure, too.
When I first heard this song, I thought it was about love. Nope, it’s about the near murderous rage my annoying cubemate sent me into every Monday morning as she smacked her gum and clipped her fingernails at her desk. Yes, at her desk! FYC’s peppy tune somehow calmed my frazzled nerves and I soon learned to block out the majority of annoying behavior, surely contributing to my non-existent criminal record. Thanks guys, I owe you one.
Coming from a small town, it took a little adjustment for me to understand I was working in a global economy. This song helped remind me. OK, not really, but it’s such a fun song!
My first role as a manger was certainly a challenge. I had no management training, and most of my staff wasn’t much younger than me, so asserting myself took some getting used to. Thankfully, this song made sure I never forgot what to do when a problem came along. Who knew Devo had a side gig as management coaches?
P.S. Those hats!
I think it’s statistically impossible to make it through a career without working with someone you’ve got the hots for that you totally shouldn’t. Thankfully, Sting helpfully reminds us of the dangers of fraternizing with subordinates (or, in his case, students) with this cautionary tale.
Last, but certainly not least, I’ll leave you with a little mystery song—one that reminds me to always be ready for anything.