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6 Important Tech Career Lessons ft. F.R.I.E.N.D.S

Posted on 
Ashmita Roy

Welcome to the first article in our series ‘Netflix and Uplevel’, in which we’ll learn some great tech career lessons from popular Netflix shows. 

Throughout this series, you’ll learn ways by which you can uplevel your tech interviewing skills to successfully land your dream job. 

Buckle up! Here we go...

F.R.I.E.N.D.S—a show that revolves around the lives of six young adults living in Manhattan, New York. Sixteen years since the last episode of the series aired, the show still retains its cult status. 

Through the series, each character teaches us about various situations we may face in our careers and how to handle them.

Here's what this article will cover:

  1. A desire to learn and follow your dreams will take you places - Chandler Bing
  2. Good things take time, patience, and perseverance - Rachael Green
  3. Never lie on your resume - Joey Tribbiani
  4. Always strive to do better and be the best version of yourself - Monica Geller
  5. Do not mix your work life with your private life - Ross Geller
  6. Don’t forget to unwind - Phoebe Buffay

Here are six important career lessons in tech that you can learn from your favorite show.

1. A desire to learn and follow your dreams will take you places - Chandler Bing 

Does anyone remember what Chandler's job was in the show? Well, he was a Procurement Manager who specialized in data configuration and statistical analysis—something he didn’t quite enjoy and none of his friends could remember. 

Finally, in Season 9, Chandler did the unthinkable—he quit his job to follow his passion! He interned at an advertising company where he stood out among his peers for his willingness to learn and grow. This earned him the position of Junior Copywriter (his dream job!). 

What does this teach us?

Many engineers believe that landing a job in their dream company and cracking coding interviews is very difficult. They’re often intimidated by the wide range of topics these companies test candidates on. 

Engineers consider these topics generally highly technical in nature, and hence very difficult to master. However, a desire to learn and upskill yourself, like Chandler, can work wonders! 

What does this mean for you?

Seek help from experts in the field 

We understand learning programming technologies can be intimidating. Hence, you should seek help from experts who can point you in the right direction. 

An overwhelming percentage of successful candidates testify that subscribing to an interview training course has made a big difference in their careers. 

These courses help you become proficient in succeeding at almost any technical interview by building a strong set of skills. 

2. Good things take time, patience, and perseverance - Rachael Green 

A runaway bride, entering Central Perk in a soaking-wet wedding gown! That’s how we were first introduced to Rachel Green. Without doubt, she had the most adventurous career growth path in the show.

Rachel was always passionate about fashion and wanted a career in the same line. However, after her father cut off all financial support, she spent three years working as a waitress, serving coffee at Central Perk. 

With Joey’ help, she finally made her foray into the fashion industry with a job at Fortuna Fashions as a personal assistant. Of course, all she did here, again, was serve coffee to her boss. However, she eventually moved on to Bloomingdale's and after 5 long years, landed her dream job at Ralph Lauren. 

Not to forget, she also got a job in Paris at Louis Vuitton in Season 10. 

What does this teach us? 

The most important thing Rachel’s character teaches us about a career in tech is good career growth takes time, patience, and perseverance. 

Tech is an interesting field, with plenty of opportunities and job openings. However, thinking you can simply walk into an interview and land a job in a tech company is foolish. 

To succeed in a tech interview, you need practice, to make yourself better each day, and compete with everyone else trying to get into these organizations. That takes time—remember, it took Rachel 10 years to go from Central Perk to Paris!

What does this mean for you?

Practice and upskill yourself

To gain more experience and boost your confidence, you need continuous practice. 

However, once you practice with multiple mock interviews, you’ll breeze through the real interview. 

Mock interviews help you realize your weaknesses and strengths, develop effective interview strategies, and reduce stress before actual interviews. 

3. Never lie on your resume - Joey Tribbiani

Sometimes, you may be tempted to lie on your resume to make your profile stand out. However, Joey Tribbiani’s character teaches us that this is indeed a very bad idea. According to Joey’s resume, he speaks French, knows how to tap dance, and can drink a gallon of milk in 30 seconds!

These lies did him more bad than good. For instance, when the director of a play asks him to teach his co-stars a dance routine, it results in the whole cast making fools of themselves. Also, when asked by a director of a movie to play a French character, Joey, who obviously couldn’t speak the language, ended up embarrassing himself by speaking gibberish.

What does this teach us? 

False information, such as made-up skills, experience, qualifications, job titles, etc., can damage your reputation. You could be dropped from consideration for a prospective role, or even fired if your employers find out later. 

What does this mean for you?

Fill gaps in your resume

Seek professional help on creating an effective portfolio, such as your LinkedIn profile and resume. Professionals can help you with personal branding and show you ways to always put your best foot forward. 

Many organizations consider candidates who don't meet the required skill-sets or qualifications 100%. Present your strengths in other areas effectively, and you’ll be good to go. 

4. Always strive to do better and be the best version of yourself - Monica Geller 

Monica Geller had one ultimate career goal throughout the show—to become a chef! After working at a few restaurants and even trying her hands at entrepreneurship, she was eventually hired as a head chef at Alessandro's and then Javu, both very popular restaurants in Manhattan. 

What's most impressive about Monica, however, isn't that she landed her dream job, it's how she got there. She knew her calling early on in life and tailored her preparation methodology to get there, attending cooking lessons, writing honest reviews for local restaurants, and more.  

What does this teach us?

When it comes to upleveling, a lot of engineers try to make it on their own with the help of online tutorials and coding practice websites. But how effective are they? This may do the trick for a few, however, most engineers strike out at technical interviews as they lack a tailored preparation methodology.

What does this mean for you?

This is where bootcamps and interview-prep schools come in. A structured path with accountable coaching tends to produce phenomenally faster and better results than self-study. Pick a program that not only helps you nail tough technical interviews but also makes you a better engineer.

5. Do not mix your work life with your private life - Ross Geller

Ross Geller was excellent at academics and was always fond of science, fossils, and dinosaurs. He was a paleontologist, loved his job, and did fairly well in his career. 

However, Ross had one weakness—he sometimes let the lines blur between his work life and private life.

He dated his co-worker, Charlie Wheeler, in Season 9 and his student at NYU, where he was a professor in Season 6. This almost cost him his job. 

What does this teach us? 

While the modern workplace may have relaxed a little from the "strictly business" environment of the past, it's still ill-advised to discuss your private life, such as relationship issues, family plans, legal issues, etc., during an interview. 

What does this mean for you? 

Maintain a professional demeanor, always. Regardless of the company you’re applying to or how informal the hiring manager sounds, remember you’re speaking to professionals and not friends. 

Avoid having discussions around political views and personal beliefs. If you share personal details, make sure they are relevant to the question.

6. Don’t forget to unwind - Phoebe Buffay 

The passion and pressure to perform well, especially in tech jobs, can lead to overworking yourself. People often get so engrossed thinking about the future that they forget to live in the present and in the process, forget to have fun. 

In one episode, Rachel asks Monica and Phoebe what their plans are for the future, to which Phoebe responds, “I don't even have a plan.” She always taught us how important it is to take rest days and relax. 

Even if you're passionate about your career, it’s important to make time for yourself and do other things you love. This will not only improve your quality of life but your output at work as well.

So pick up that guitar and start singing your version of Smelly Cat!

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