Summary: TheDevil Wears Prada is an excellent story about a simple yet smart girl, AndreaSachs. Andrea aspires to become a journalist at The New Yorker and has justgraduated from Brown University with a degree in English. Andrea believes thatshe will be able to achieve her dream of becoming a journalist if she works inthe magazine industry. A chance interview at the Elias-Clark Group lands her ajob as a second personal assistant to Miranda Priestly, the editor-in-chief ofthe fashion magazine, Runway. She accepts the job at Runway because she wastold that after a year with Miranda’s support she would be able to pursue herdream of becoming a journalist at The New Yorker. Andrea thought her job wouldgive 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.Andreafeels that she will be able to perform her duties easily, but things quickly goout of hand. Her boss, Miranda, treats all her employees like dirt and dependson them on the most trivial of things, for example, picking up her drycleaning. Miranda just used to delegate the things that needed to be donewithout informing her assistants of the specific details. Thus, during theinitial days, Andrea was criticized for the way she performed her job. She isconstantly criticized for the way she dresses up, the way she talks and eveneats. Things start to get worse when Andrea had to work for about 16-18 hours aday, with minimal amount of time for breaks and lunch.As muchas Andrea hates her job at Runway, she continues to work there in the hopesthat after she completes a year she will be able to achieve her dreams.
Thelong hours of work begins to take a toll on her personal life and herrelationship with her family and friends gets strained, and this leads an endher relationship with her boyfriend. During a business trip to Paris, thingsget out of hand after Miranda expects Andrea to renew her daughter’s passportswithin 12 hours. Andrea finally gets the courage to quit her job.Shethen writes short stories on her experiences with Miranda and sends them tovarious publishers. One of the publishers, who had also worked for Mirandapreviously, met Andrea and gave her many leads for jobs. The story ends with Andreaon her way to a meet a publisher at the Elias-Clark building.It’s an excellent bookto understand the various concepts in the field of Human Resources.
This book is a conglomerate of all aspect of humanresources. · HR BrandingBrandingis all the practices used by a company to establish their image in thecustomer’s mind. HR Branding is an excellent way to acquire new and relevanttalent in a company. In the book, the position of Miranda’s personal assistantis branded in such a way that every girl wants to work as her assistant, inspite of the fact that Miranda is very demanding boss and the job might tortureand break you.”Don’t be ridiculous, everyone wants this,” Editor-in-ChiefMiranda states while in Paris, to her assistant, Andrea. The CEO of Elias-Clarkalso describes the job of being Miranda’s assistant as “a job that a milliongirls would kill for.” “You work here and you can work anywhere” was statedthroughout the book. This was the brand that Andrea saw and the reason why sheaccepted the job offer.
· RecruitmentDuring Andrea’s interview, Miranda could easilytell 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, whenMiranda asked Andrea if she knew about Runway, Andrea admitted that shedid not know anything about the magazine. Andrea showed up clearly not preparedfor an interview especially at Runway.Inspite of Andrea’s lack ofpreparation, Miranda selected Andrea as her assistant, only because she had thecourage to talk back at Miranda. · OnboardingWhen an employee joins a company, he/she expectsthat the policies and the culture as well his/her job duties be conveyed tohim/her. However, during Andrea’s first day, she was not informed of whatherroles and responsibilities were.
Miranda just comes in and startsdictating a list of tasks to be done without mentioning the important andrelevant details and expects Andrea to complete it immediately. Andrea has noidea what to do and whom to ask for help. She had not researched about thecompany where she was about to work, nor had she bought any stationery with herto make a note of the tasks to be done. Moreover, Andrea was clueless about thecompany’s culture and was reluctant to adapt to it and it brought her moredifficulties.This made her work more difficult. · MentorshipNigel was an art director at Runway.
Heproved to be a great mentor to Andrea. Andrea was ridiculed for her fashionsense and her way of presenting herself by many people in the company. Nigeltook Andrea under his wing and trained her and taught her everything she neededto know about the company. Therefore, we see that what must have been done onthe first day of her work; is being done by Nigel at a much later stage. · Work-Life BalanceBy the end of the book we can see that Andrea’spersonal life is hanging by a thread. While trying to succeed in her job, herpersonal life gets affected.
She often forgets her personal commitments due toher professional life and is unable to maintain a good work-life balance. EvenMiranda does not keep her personal and professional life separate. If she hadhired Andrea for her professional work, she should not have asked Andrea tocarry out her personal tasks.Employees must understand that their whole lifecannot revolve around their job nor can it revolve around their social life.
Their personal and professional lives should be kept separate yet balanced bythemselves. · MotivationIn terms of Maslow’s theory of Motivation, Beforestarting job at Runway, we see that Andrea has satisfied herphysiological, safety and social needs. She has a good relation with herfather, her friends and her boyfriend. She is confident and believes inherself. After taking job with Miranda, her self-esteem is challenged and is atthreat from her co-workers.
She starts to change herself in order to fit-in thecompany, but in the process loses herself and her self-esteem is crushed. Sheis also not following her dream of becoming a journalist. When in Paris, shefinally realizes this and leaves her job as a personal assistant to Miranda tofulfill her dream of becoming a journalist and this will lead her towardsself-actualization. · Performance AppraisalAndrea felt that she was not getting paid as per the time andenergy she invested in her job. She worked overtime on most days and was notgiven due recognition. Miranda never praised her or appreciated her for the jobshe did. This was the case with all the employees Miranda worked with.
Shealways criticized them but never appreciated them when they performed well. · LeadershipMirandahad instilled a great amount of fear in her employees. This fear made themcomplete 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 foundthat job impossible and the magazine would have suffered.” She thinks ofherself as a great leader who is capable of getting things done on time andviews herself as an incredible asset to the magazine. While this approach maywork sometimes, it will be disastrous on a long run. It creates a toxicenvironment, which hinders teamwork and collaboration.
She believes thatshe is solely responsible for the success of the magazine. Thebook offers a great view on how not to handle employees. Freshers can getinsights from this book and use it to succeed their career. Even organizationscan learn a lot from this book and try to improve themselves to increaseemployee commitment and morale.