From scrunchies in your hair to the original cast of Beverly Hills 90210 (RIP Luke Perry) on your screens this summer, the ’90s are back in a big way. If you still remember when the first website went live in August 1991, chances are good that you’re excited to see some of your old favorites making an appearance again.
And if you’re feeling extremely inspired, here are some ways to recycle some of the best of the past to move your career forward.
In 1993, Bill Murray had to keep reliving a very specific day in his life in the movie Groundhog Day. While it seemed torturous to watch him trapped at the same moment in time repeatedly, it gave him perspective and allowed him to move forward to a happier future.
1990s lesson learned: If you don’t get it right the first time, it’s fine to try again. Perfection can be overrated; authentic effort and learning from your past prove that you’re not just going through the motions- you’ve learned from your mistakes.
Own your quirks
Though Freaks and Geeks was ostensibly set in the 1980s and didn’t make its brief appearance on TV until 1999, it somehow became the visual anthem for anyone who spent their life as a misfit. “Being weird is awesome,” offers Greg Mondshein, Managing Partner of SourceCode Communications. He also believes you should fully “embrace your inner geek and let your freak flag fly. Just recently have the biggest brands in the world learned authenticity is the only path to building a business consumers’ love.” And while you’re at it, “as you think about getting ahead, rethink how you present yourself.” Mondshein believes you should ask yourself “Are you being true to who you are or are you putting a version of yourself out there you think the world wants to see? Hint – we want to see the real you.”
1990s lesson learned: You don’t have to pretend to be something you aren’t to get ahead; case in point, the cast of Freaks and Geeks. When the show aired, they were almost entirely unknowns and put their heart and souls into embodying roles that were anything but glamorous. Wondering how their careers went since that point? Well, James Franco, Seth Rogen, Busy Philipps, Shia LeBeouf and the rest of the cast seem to have easily shed their geeky past incarnations on their collective paths to success.
Work your contacts
In the 1993 movie The Firm– based on the 1991 legal thriller by John Grisham– Tom Cruise’s character is a young ambitious lawyer who joins a powerful law firm. He soon discovers there’s an extremely dark and dangerous side to all his newfound wealth and power. If you think the path to success involves taking favors from shady characters, you probably need to take a giant step back and think things through. And if you’ve become so comfortable with doing business from behind the safety of a screen, you’re probably missing out on a lot of opportunities. “Be an old school networker,” Mondshein advises. “Get off social media and go have coffee IRL with someone. Ask for advice, make a friend and find common ground. Now more than ever, real relationships will provide tremendous value in multiple facets of your life.”
1990s lesson learned: One of the more interesting and potentially dangerous aspects of our digital world is the fact that people aren’t always what they pretend to be. Take a giant step back and get to know your co-workers or potential boss. Reconnect with former colleagues and work friends and see if you’re on the right track professionally before making any big moves or changes.
Don’t be a Y2Ker
Remember the giant hysteria of 1999 when everyone panicked that our connected world would soon disconnect in a giant computer glitch? “There are quite a few lessons we can learn in the fact that the U.S. government and businesses combined spent $100B trying to fix a problem that didn’t actually exist,” said Mondshein. So, don’t worry if you feel like a screw up sometimes.
1990s lesson learned: “Most importantly, accept that you’re going to make mistakes,” Mondshein said. And if you do “Address the problem, apologize if necessary, make sure you learn something and move on. It’s not the end of the world, I promise.”