Summary: The
Devil Wears Prada is an excellent story about a simple yet smart girl, Andrea
Sachs. Andrea aspires to become a journalist at The New Yorker and has just
graduated from Brown University with a degree in English. Andrea believes that
she will be able to achieve her dream of becoming a journalist if she works in
the magazine industry. A chance interview at the Elias-Clark Group lands her a
job as a second personal assistant to Miranda Priestly, the editor-in-chief of
the fashion magazine, Runway. She accepts the job at Runway because she was
told that after a year with Miranda’s support she would be able to pursue her
dream of becoming a journalist at The New Yorker. Andrea thought her job would
give her a great amount of knowledge about how the magazine industry works.
Instead, she was just another assistant catering to Miranda’s needs 24/7.

Andrea
feels that she will be able to perform her duties easily, but things quickly go
out of hand. Her boss, Miranda, treats all her employees like dirt and depends
on them on the most trivial of things, for example, picking up her dry
cleaning. Miranda just used to delegate the things that needed to be done
without informing her assistants of the specific details. Thus, during the
initial days, Andrea was criticized for the way she performed her job. She is
constantly criticized for the way she dresses up, the way she talks and even
eats. Things start to get worse when Andrea had to work for about 16-18 hours a
day, with minimal amount of time for breaks and lunch.

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As much
as Andrea hates her job at Runway, she continues to work there in the hopes
that after she completes a year she will be able to achieve her dreams. The
long hours of work begins to take a toll on her personal life and her
relationship with her family and friends gets strained, and this leads an end
her relationship with her boyfriend. During a business trip to Paris, things
get out of hand after Miranda expects Andrea to renew her daughter’s passports
within 12 hours. Andrea finally gets the courage to quit her job.

She
then writes short stories on her experiences with Miranda and sends them to
various publishers. One of the publishers, who had also worked for Miranda
previously, met Andrea and gave her many leads for jobs. The story ends with Andrea
on her way to a meet a publisher at the Elias-Clark building.

It’s an excellent book
to understand the various concepts in the field of Human Resources. This book is a conglomerate of all aspect of human
resources.

·        
HR Branding

Branding
is all the practices used by a company to establish their image in the
customer’s mind. HR Branding is an excellent way to acquire new and relevant
talent in a company. In the book, the position of Miranda’s personal assistant
is branded in such a way that every girl wants to work as her assistant, in
spite of the fact that Miranda is very demanding boss and the job might torture
and break you.”Don’t be ridiculous, everyone wants this,” Editor-in-Chief
Miranda states while in Paris, to her assistant, Andrea. The CEO of Elias-Clark
also describes the job of being Miranda’s assistant as “a job that a million
girls would kill for.” “You work here and you can work anywhere” was stated
throughout the book. This was the brand that Andrea saw and the reason why she
accepted the job offer.

 

·        
Recruitment

During Andrea’s interview, Miranda could easily
tell that she has no knowledge about the fashion industry and how it works.
Andrea was also criticized by Miranda on her choice of clothing. Also, when
Miranda asked Andrea if she knew about Runway, Andrea admitted that she
did not know anything about the magazine. Andrea showed up clearly not prepared
for an interview especially at Runway.Inspite of Andrea’s lack of
preparation, Miranda selected Andrea as her assistant, only because she had the
courage to talk back at Miranda.

 

·        
Onboarding

When an employee joins a company, he/she expects
that the policies and the culture as well his/her job duties be conveyed to
him/her. However, during Andrea’s first day, she was not informed of whather
roles and responsibilities were. Miranda just comes in and starts
dictating a list of tasks to be done without mentioning the important and
relevant details and expects Andrea to complete it immediately. Andrea has no
idea what to do and whom to ask for help. She had not researched about the
company where she was about to work, nor had she bought any stationery with her
to make a note of the tasks to be done. Moreover, Andrea was clueless about the
company’s culture and was reluctant to adapt to it and it brought her more
difficulties.This made her work more difficult.

 

·        
Mentorship

Nigel was an art director at Runway. He
proved to be a great mentor to Andrea. Andrea was ridiculed for her fashion
sense and her way of presenting herself by many people in the company. Nigel
took Andrea under his wing and trained her and taught her everything she needed
to know about the company. Therefore, we see that what must have been done on
the first day of her work; is being done by Nigel at a much later stage.

·        
Work-Life Balance

By the end of the book we can see that Andrea’s
personal life is hanging by a thread. While trying to succeed in her job, her
personal life gets affected. She often forgets her personal commitments due to
her professional life and is unable to maintain a good work-life balance. Even
Miranda does not keep her personal and professional life separate. If she had
hired Andrea for her professional work, she should not have asked Andrea to
carry out her personal tasks.Employees must understand that their whole life
cannot revolve around their job nor can it revolve around their social life.
Their personal and professional lives should be kept separate yet balanced by
themselves.

 

·        
Motivation

In terms of Maslow’s theory of Motivation, Before
starting job at Runway, we see that Andrea has satisfied her
physiological, safety and social needs. She has a good relation with her
father, her friends and her boyfriend.  She is confident and believes in
herself. After taking job with Miranda, her self-esteem is challenged and is at
threat from her co-workers. She starts to change herself in order to fit-in the
company, but in the process loses herself and her self-esteem is crushed. She
is also not following her dream of becoming a journalist. When in Paris, she
finally realizes this and leaves her job as a personal assistant to Miranda to
fulfill her dream of becoming a journalist and this will lead her towards
self-actualization.

 

·        
Performance Appraisal

Andrea felt that she was not getting paid as per the time and
energy she invested in her job. She worked overtime on most days and was not
given due recognition. Miranda never praised her or appreciated her for the job
she did. This was the case with all the employees Miranda worked with. She
always criticized them but never appreciated them when they performed well.

 

·        
Leadership

Miranda
had instilled a great amount of fear in her employees. This fear made them
complete all their tasks on time with perfection. As she says, “Truth is,
there’s no one that can do what I do… Any of the other choices would have found
that job impossible and the magazine would have suffered.” She thinks of
herself as a great leader who is capable of getting things done on time and
views herself as an incredible asset to the magazine. While this approach may
work sometimes, it will be disastrous on a long run. It creates a toxic
environment, which hinders teamwork and collaboration.  She believes that
she is solely responsible for the success of the magazine.

The
book offers a great view on how not to handle employees. Freshers can get
insights from this book and use it to succeed their career. Even organizations
can learn a lot from this book and try to improve themselves to increase
employee commitment and morale.