#MediaMentors 5 Career Lessons from “This is Us”

***Spoiler alert*** If you haven’t caught up on season two of the hit show “This is Us,” stop what you’re doing, binge on Hulu for a few hours, and then read this post.

Once you spend some time thinking about it, “This is Us,” is filled with great insights on career development. And so, here is a countdown of my top 5 career lessons from “This is Us.”


  1. Practice self-care and set realistic expectations for your career.
    As a perfectionist, Randall set unrealistically high expectations for his work and personal life. This lead to his work life imploding when he struggled to manage his client relationships as his father’s health was failing. It’s important to take time to take care of yourself and speak up when you need additional support at work or in your personal life.

  1. Never let go of your dreams.
    When Rebecca and Jack transition from being a family of two to a family of five, many of Rebecca’s dreams of being a signer are put on hold. However, this doesn’t stop her from revitalizing her singing career and pursuing her passions with the support of her family. As the saying goes “life happens when you’re busy making plans.” While your future may not become what you envision at age 20, that doesn’t mean your dreams should be an all or nothing pursuit.

  1. Follow your heart and don’t be afraid to fail.
    When Kevin hated his job at the Manny, he reached his breaking point. After storming off stage and leaving his job in LA he had nothing to lose by pursuing an acting career he could be proud of. By daring to pursue what you’re afraid of, you may fail, but you will also learn, grow, and get stronger. Instead of fearing failure, embrace it as an important aspect of growth.

  1. Your job does not equal your life.
    In order to provide for his family, Jack stayed in a job where he was miserable. While following your dream career may be a worthy goal, the realities of life can often get in the way. If you ever find yourself in a position you hate, remember that your self-worth is not defined by your career. A career is often an important driving force in people’s lives, but sometimes, work is just a job. If you are in the latter situation, remember to focus on your whole life and not just your work.

  1. Stop letting your past haunt your future.
    When Kate has the chance to perform a gig with a new band she is ecstatic until she realizes her mom is in the audience. Suddenly all her fears of not measuring up move from past to present. She doesn’t give her mom the chance to support her because she is afraid of being judged or compared to her mom’s talents. Family history can have a complicated effect on one’s ability to pursue their future. If your past or family dynamics are making it difficult to move forward, consider finding a therapist to work through how these experiences are impacting your life.


Featured image via: https://www.nbc.com/this-is-us?nbc=1

By Emily Merritt
Emily Merritt Career Consultant, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Emily Merritt