The Corporate (Rom Com) Dream

Portrait of an attractive young woman holding her phone while working from home
Portrait of an attractive young woman holding her phone while working from home

It seems to me that amongst millennials, the 'white picket fence' dream has well and truly donned its pine overcoat. To be fair, my sweeping generalization is based on conversations with Canberra friends (who don't really have a conception of front fences as they are strictly disallowed by r 2.1 of the the Residential Boundary Fences General Code) and Sydney and London friends (for whom the realistic peak of property ownership is double plastic hotels on Mayfair/Park Lane). But even on a modernized version of this dream - an adoring partner, some form of property, some fraction of children - we don't see the greenest lawn as contained by the front fence.

Impressionable and quixotic girl that I am, my adolescent diet of '90s and '00s rom coms set me up to yearn for some version of the 'glamorous corporate life'. My vision was fed by a reel of How To Lose a Guy in 10 Days, Sex and the City, The Devil Wears Prada, Missed Connections, Bride Wars; basically anything featuring Kate Hudson or set in New York. This was the dream: black coffee for breakfast, cream silk blouses, Cartier love bangles looping around my wrist as I hailed a cab to dash to a Very Important Meeting (which I would run with aplomb despite the impossible demands of my crazy chain-smoking boss. Thank god for the undying support of my kooky doe-eyed best friend Judy Greer), meet-cutes involving Manolos caught in street grates and handsome advertising executives, morning jogs through Central Park, after-work cocktails at sleek success, financial success, relationship success, romantic success.

Of course, even the rom com prism taught me that Something's Gotta Give. The gloss of beautiful corporate life might crack to reveal devils beneath the Prada, long working hours might put a strain on my relationship with Adrian Grenier, my journalistic talents might not be recognized by my boss (relegating me to penning trite article about boys and lipstick), or I might eventually have to move into a Brooklyn townhouse to accommodate my growing family (the ignominy!). And yet, watching these working women struggle to have their Magnolia Bakery cupcakes and eat them too, still I wanted a taste of the corporate life, for all its glamour and intrigue.

A couple of weeks ago I started my first Real Job at the Pearson Specter Litt of Sydney. Alas, my dreams of an impeccable wardrobe were not quite realized. I was ill-prepared with only one pair of biomechically-bearable shoes that were soon ruined by torrential rain. The speed of my outfit rotation was also uncomfortably high; I'm literally restricted in dress choice until I shed my recently-aquired European travel (read: sangria and croquette) weight. I had assumed that by this stage of my life my hair would naturally fall into a sleek Pantene cascade, but it remains texturally-akin to a scouring pad (although I did learn that one of the more polished girls in the office relies on a $30 blow dry once a week which confirms Nora Ephron's primping process and thus warrants investigation). Also, the prospect of long hours makes me fear for my social life; the sedentariness for my butt.

I suspect that my silver and small screen notions may soon be dashed, but for now I'll try to recreate that romanticized glamour. At least, I will enjoy the bustle of the city, stride along purposefully with 'Suddenly I See' playing on loop in my head, try to find some Jessica Pearson-worthy dresses and throw around the odd, "We'd better win this goddamn case".

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