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A valuable lesson from an unlikely source

The children's movie "Despicable Me" has good advice for adults, too

When my 3-year-old sees a movie he likes, he wants to watch it again and again and again. So over the past few weeks, I have had the pleasure of watching “Despicable Me,” at press time, at least 10 times (by the time you read this, that number has surely doubled).

It’s about Mr. Gru, a villain (not really, he’s quite endearing), who makes a living out of stealing very large, seemingly unstealable things. His career is beginning to stale, and he really needs to do something that makes big headlines to regain his worth as a villain, all the while competing with a much younger, savvier villain. Through hard work, support from his team of little yellow robots and his right-hand man, Dr. Nefario, and love from his adopted family, [SPOILER ALERT] he finds success—of course, with many bumps along the way.

Sure, this is a cartoon. And my description of the 95-minute film does it little justice. But there is something to take away from the interesting story of Mr. Gru. He has built his career around doing something unique, such as stealing the Eiffel Tower replica in Las Vegas. He recognizes when his career is going downhill and makes a great effort to change it. He also relies on his team and his family for motivation and support.

Sound familiar? In this month’s cover story (see 2012 in-house compensation report), InsideCounsel brings you its annual compensation report. While we offer up the salary numbers you’re always so interested in knowing (thanks to HBR Consulting and Robert Half Legal), this time, we also provide insight from industry experts about what makes you more valuable in your profession. Sharpening skills in specific practice areas, building up your international experience, and simply showing your worth through hard work and dedication to your client can really help you stand out in the pool of talented lawyers already in or wanting legal department jobs.

So whether your career is still heading in the upward direction or you’re comfortably sitting in the position you’ve always wanted, there is a lesson to take from Mr. Gru. Do your very best in your work, make tweaks to your career when necessary, and lean on your team and your family every chance you get. It is certain to lead to success.


Cathleen Flahardy

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