Before school started, I watched the movie Morning Glory (spoilers later on), mostly because I kept seeing it on Netflix and finally got curious. If you’re not familiar with the film, here’s a basic synopsis: Rachel McAdams plays a young and passionate television producer who thinks she’s getting promoted but actually gets laid off from the early-morning news show she’s been producing for years. After a short montage of her checking job posting and following-up to see if XYZ TV show got her resume, she gets hired to produce another morning show on the verge of being cancelled (first lesson learned from this film: unemployment isn’t all that bad; if you call back enough times you’ll get hired in a matter of days!). Anyway, the rest of the film is about her challenge to try and revive this dying show, and (surprise!) she does so with flying colors in the end.
There’s a little bit of romance thrown in for funsies, and for a while you think that the main conflict of this movie is whether or not Becky (McAdams) can balance her personal life with her demanding job, or if she’ll have to choose one or the other. This conflict is mostly demonstrated through scenes in which Becky and Boyfriend are having dinner, but Becky is glued to her laptop and constantly talks about work, making Boyfriend feel left out and ignored. At one point she storms out of Boyfriend’s apartment exclaiming, “I’m tired of feeling guilty about my job!”, which is followed by a long shot of her riding home in a taxi cab looking as sad as the musical accompaniment. This is shortly followed by a conversation with Harrison Ford’s character (he plays the grizzly old news anchor) in which he tells Becky that his over-commitment to his job may have brought him great professional success, but it cost him his family.
All of this makes it seem like this movie will hold some lesson about prioritizing what’s really important in life, right?
Wrong. In the end, Becky saves the show, gets the guy, and enjoys all-around success with minimal sacrifice. The lesson seems to be that you can have it all; you just have to work hard enough or be really good at your job or believe in yourself or whatever, and everything else will magically fall into place.
Overall, I found this film to be lacking in moral fiber (to borrow a term from Harry Potter). But it did get me thinking about that personal life/professional life dilemma. Even though they didn’t fully address it in the film, it made me wonder: will I ever have a job that I care about so much that other aspects of my life seem less important? Right now, I feel like the answer is no, and I’m almost not sure if that’s a good thing or a bad thing. It’s good that I don’t want my job, whatever that may be, to be the most important thing in my life, but is it bad that I can’t think of a job that I’d love as much as Becky loves being a TV producer?
But maybe I need to redefine what I mean by “job.” Being a loving and faithful wife to my husband is a job; being a mother will be a job; there are other “jobs” or roles in my life that are just as demanding, and more important, than what I do for a paycheck.
I guess the bottom line is that no, I’m not like Becky, because I don’t ever want to be defined by what I do for a living. When she lost her job at the beginning of the movie, it was clear that she had nothing else to fill her life; she literally sat in her bedroom on the phone and computer until she landed an interview (okay, there was one scene where she apparently had taken a bike ride to a local park, but she was notably alone). When she lost her job, she had nothing else, because her work defined her. And I don’t ever want that to be me.