As a child, my sister and I loved Tom and Jerry. Even now, as an adult, their shenanigans still put smiles on our faces. Recently, while babysitting my nephew and niece, I watched some old episodes of this classic cartoon and as we laughed, I began to think about what lessons Tom and Jerry’s adventures just might have to offer to a young entrepreneur.
Four essential messages any business professional can learn from Tom and Jerry:
A lesson is taught in each and every episode! Tom is physically bigger as compared to Jerry the mouse, yet, each time Jerry proves that size does not equal strength and in fact sometimes all you need is to out-think your opponent. Jerry routinely outwits Tom’s devious plans and end up making the traps backfire onto Tom himself. Other times, Jerry, at a mere 5 inches tall, takes Tom, who towers over him at a whopping 3 feet, by the tail and swings him around the room! If you have determination and confidence, physical size does not matter.
At times, the office and all of the people and politics that come along with the work day can be a dangerous place to navigate. Everyone has their own agenda, rightfully so, and while most co-workers are not intent to stir up trouble, it’s inevitable that employees will butt heads. It’s important to always continue to work hard to develop and maintain relationships, even if they become strained. Many times, Tom’s plans to harm Jerry and other characters, are foiled by teamwork between Jerry and his acquaintances: such as Quacker the Duck, Tyke the Bulldog Puppy, and Lion the… Lion.
Never be afraid to ask for help.
Throughout the shows series, both Tom and Jerry ask for help from their friends and family: Tom from his back-alley cat friends and Jerry from his Uncle and cousin. Similar to major accomplishments and projects in the business world, success can rarely be achieved without the help of others. It takes a team of dedicated and focused individuals to not complete difficult tasks, but do it well. It’s important that any success is shared to create harmony within the team. Tom and his back-alley cat’s squabbling is often responsible for their failure. Jerry on the other hand, is always working together with Uncle Pecos, Quacker, Nibbles, Muscles Mouse, and Spike to outwit and punish Tom successfully.
Despite their constant scheming and bickering, deep down Tom and Jerry are friends. Much like most long and meaningful friendships, one would ultimately miss their companionship if the other were to leave. This is shown in several episodes of the show where Tom and Jerry not only get along, but work together to overcome a common problem. The lesson? Work to live, not live to work – there’s a big, beautiful world out there to enjoy with those you care about and when you take the time to achieve balance, you’re a happier and better colleague.