Netflix to Inspire You to Kick A** at Work

This time of year is great for catching up on your Netflix queue! We have a list of 12 movies and TV shows that just might inspire you to make your next big career move, tap into your creativity, block melodramatic coworkers, or take the leap from corporate America to solo entrepreneur.



9 to 5 (1980)

This oldie but goodie shows just what three smart, marginalized women can do with a really awful boss. Or to him. No spoilers, but Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin and Dolly Parton make a hell of a trio.


Desk Set (1957)

A real oldie, this Spencer Tracy-Katherine Hepburn rom-com classic features two strong personalities who clash over the computerization of a TV network's research department. It holds up over time!


House of Cards (2013)

Frank (and Claire) Underwood are a cutthroat dream team. Disregard the part about <SPOILER> murder <SPOILER/>, binge watch, and be prepared to take charge.


Parks and Recreation (2009)

Leslie Knope (Amy Poehler) is an optimistic go-getter. If you missed this one in 2009, you can watch all seven seasons on Netflix. Rose-colored glasses view of the world guaranteed.


Election (1999)

Tracy Flick (Reese Witherspoon) for class president? Sure, and she’d probably be president of the United States if they made a sequel. It’s a dark comedy, but you might pick up some tricks.


Legally Blonde (2001)

Another with Reese Witherspoon at her finest, Elle Woods rises above her gum-chewing, pink laptop, sorority girl stereotype and gets into Harvard Law. Proof that you can be super successful even if you started out doing it for the wrong reasons (in this case, chasing a rat of an ex-boyfriend to the east coast).


Jerry Maguire (1996)

A sports agent takes the leap and leaves behind his high-profile job with little more than single co-worker (Renee Zellweger) and client (Cuba Gooding Jr.) in tow. A surefire way to get fired up if you’re considering leaving a company to start your own!


The IT Crowd (2006-2013)

The comedic adventures of a rag-tag group of technical support workers at a large corporation. Lots of laughs—some of which ring a little too true if you’re in tech support. Like this: “Have you tried turning it off and on again?”


Ally McBeal (1997-2002)

Five seasons of late 90s office nostalgia (those short skirt suits…). Neurotic navel-gazing, co-ed restroom, personality conflicts, and more drama than we hope to see in our own workplaces. Keep an eye on Lucy Liu!


Mad Men (2007-2015)

This one is eye candy (the sets and staging won awards), but the real heart of the show is Don Draper—the troubled, creative super genius of Madison Avenue. Get moody with this one (and appreciate the happy-go-lucky people you work with)!


Glengarry Glen Ross (1992)

If you work in sales, you already know ABC (“Always Be Closing”). This David Mamet play-turned-screenplay is darkly funny, full of amazing one-liners like “coffee is for closers,” and if you pay close attention, you might just learn a few things about swimming with sharks.


Trading Places (1983)

A snobbish investor and a street hustler are manipulated by a pair of millionaires—and the hustler ends up teaching them a lesson. Eddie Murphy as Billy Ray Valentine is wildly entertaining and the message, “don’t be a rich a**hole,” holds up.


So watch your guilt-free Netflix marathon, go forth, and kick a** at work or in your job search!


Last Updated: May 24, 2017
About the author

Kelly Love Johnson

Kelly Love Johnson is Content Strategist for Jobs2Careers. She's also a shower singer, TV watcher, pop culture junkie, and habitual smirker. She's passionate about helping people find their dream jobs and closing the wage gap. Her book, Skirt! Rules for the Workplace: An Irreverent Guide to Advancing Your Career, was published by Rowman & Littlefield in 2008.