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Classic Sci-Fi Flicks: Unlikely Wellsprings of Career Wisdom

Written By Michael Ferrara

Created on 2023-06-05 12:27

Published on 2023-06-05 12:51

In the glitzy universe of motion pictures, four gems from the yesteryears have twinkled their way into this article. They are ‘Plan 9 From Outer Space’ (1959), ‘Queen of Outer Space’ (1958), ‘Barbarella’ (1968), and ‘The Apple’ (1980). Laugh, cringe, or shake your head, these movies offer more than mere entertainment. Yes, you heard right. These classics provide career guidance. Don't believe us? Strap in, let's take a voyage of discovery.

A Silver Screen Refresher

Before we delve into the career wisdom encoded within these films, let’s familiarize ourselves with these classics. 

‘Plan 9 From Outer Space’ (1959) is often hailed as “the worst movie ever made,” while ‘Queen of Outer Space’ (1958) delighted audiences with a far-fetched, futuristic world ruled by women. ‘Barbarella’ (1968), a psychedelic space fantasy, presented us with a sultry spacefarer navigating a string of outlandish challenges. ‘The Apple’ (1980), a pop musical, epitomized the struggle between creativity and commercial success. 

Plan 9 From Outer Space: The Art of Failing Forward

The first lesson originates from ‘Plan 9 From Outer Space’. Despite its infamy as a cinematic disaster, this movie taught us an invaluable career lesson: the art of failing forward. Like the ambitious director Ed Wood, who despite severe budget constraints and a dubious script, soldiered on, we too must learn to view our failures as stepping stones rather than stumbling blocks. In our careers, not every endeavor will culminate in a triumphant fanfare. Embrace failures, learn from them, and move forward with renewed resolve.

Queen of Outer Space: Shattering Norms and Bold Vision

From ‘Queen of Outer Space,’ we draw the lesson of bold vision and challenging the status quo. Set in a world where women overthrew their male counterparts and built a thriving society, this film prompts us to break free from traditional norms and limitations. In our professional lives, this translates to thinking beyond the proverbial box, innovating, and bringing unique perspectives to our fields.

Barbarella: Embrace the Unpredictability

Next, we turn to ‘Barbarella’. In her bizarre escapades, our eponymous heroine demonstrates the art of adapting to the unpredictable. This skill is indispensable in our careers, especially in a rapidly evolving global job market. Barbarella faced alien creatures, sentient dolls, and other unexpected threats with resilience and creativity. Likewise, we must learn to navigate the uncertain twists and turns of our professional lives with dexterity and resourcefulness.

The Apple: The Tightrope Between Creativity and Commerce

Finally, ‘The Apple’ shows us the delicate dance between creativity and commercial success. The film’s creators had high artistic ambitions, but they failed to strike a balance between their vision and the commercial expectations of the time. This underscores the importance of maintaining a fine equilibrium between personal passion and market demands in our careers. Stray too far to either side, and you risk either losing your unique identity or becoming a commercial flop.

The Common Thread: Unconventional Wisdom

Now, you may be thinking, "Great, but how do I apply these lessons?" The beauty of these movies lies in their shared, unconventional wisdom that can be translated into any career field. Boldness, adaptability, embracing failure, and balancing passion with practicality are universally applicable. Let these principles guide you on your professional journey.

Applying the Lessons

In practice, these principles can be applied in myriad ways. Being bold could mean taking on challenging projects or pitching innovative ideas. Embracing failure might involve taking risks and viewing unsuccessful endeavors as opportunities for growth. Adaptability could translate into being open to new technologies or strategies. Striking a balance between passion and practicality might mean finding a job that you love, but also one that pays the bills.

Take, for instance, the tech giant Google. It's a company renowned for encouraging innovation, embracing failures as learning opportunities, and balancing its unique ethos with commercial success. A case in point is the Google X division, the company's moonshot factory, where failures are often celebrated because they lead to greater understanding and potentially groundbreaking innovations.

Conclusion: Roll the Credits

While the sci-fi classics ‘Plan 9 From Outer Space’, ‘Queen of Outer Space’, ‘Barbarella’, and ‘The Apple’ might not be cinematic masterpieces, they offer a surprisingly fresh perspective on career advancement. As much as they are products of their time, these films challenge us to view our professional development through an unconventional lens, reminding us that wisdom can be found in the most unlikely of places.

To wrap it up, learning is a never-ending journey that can often come from unexpected sources. So, why not take these four films and their hidden career lessons as your companions on the winding road of your professional life?


To glean these insights, we delved into the depths of film reviews, interviews, and scholarly articles, reminding us once again that even the most "rotten" movies have something valuable to offer. From Ed Wood's relentless optimism to Barbarella's unparalleled adaptability, there's something to be learned from every cinematic endeavor. So, next time you watch a critically panned movie, remember to look for the silver lining. Who knows? You might just find your next career-defining lesson.

Visit the IMDb pages of these respective movies. Check out Plan 9 From Outer Space (1959), dive into Queen of Outer Space (1958), explore Barbarella (1968), and have a look at The Apple (1980).

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Tech Topics is a newsletter with a focus on contemporary challenges and innovations in the workplace and the broader world of technology. Produced by Boston-based Conceptual Technology (, the articles explore various aspects of professional life, including workplace dynamics, evolving technological trends, job satisfaction, diversity and discrimination issues, and cybersecurity challenges. These themes reflect a keen interest in understanding and navigating the complexities of modern work environments and the ever-changing landscape of technology.

Tech Topics offers a multi-faceted view of the challenges and opportunities at the intersection of technology, work, and life. It prompts readers to think critically about how they interact with technology, both as professionals and as individuals. The publication encourages a holistic approach to understanding these challenges, emphasizing the need for balance, inclusivity, and sustainability in our rapidly changing world. As we navigate this landscape, the insights provided by these articles can serve as valuable guides in our quest to harmonize technology with the human experience.