CIA Paper #2
The Pursuit of Happyness
Word Count: 965
“Pursuing Happyness through Communication”
Many people have a dream career that they would like to pursue in order to not only support themselves and their family, but to make them happy as well. In the process of pursuing that goal there may be obstacles or conflicts that one must overcome. In the film, The Pursuit of Happyness, Chris Gardner is a single father who is struggling financially to make ends meet for himself and son. He has aspirations to become a stock broker at a prestigious brokerage firm (Dean Witter Reynolds) but faces conflict such being homeless, caring for his son, and being selected to be a part of the brokerage firm. In the next few paragraphs, the three main conflicts will be examined and analyzed by using leadership communication and conflict resolution terminology.
The first conflict that Chris Gardner faced in the movie was being homeless and not having anywhere to stay. Gardner’s source of income in the movie was selling portable bone density scanners to doctors. He was two months behind in paying rent, and also had outstanding parking tickets that needed to be paid. In addition to those two things, he was struggling to pay off his taxes and was in trouble with the IRS. Gardner showed autocratic (1) leadership and was an economic decision maker (2) because he made the decisions that were best for his family. Gardner was trying to sell his bone density scanners within a month in order to have enough money to take care of his financial obligations, which showed that the was an expeditor (3) as well. Gardner’s wife, Linda, was the aggressor (4) in the film because she was frustrated with her husband for not bringing in a lot of money in due to the slow sales of the bone density scanners. She then decided to leave him and their son behind to go to New York for a job opportunity. Because Gardner had so many financial obligations and was bringing in very little money, he was evicted out of his apartment and lost his car. The problem components (5) he faced was having no stable place to stay and no money in his pocket.
In addition to being evicted from his apartment and being homeless, Gardner was the primary caregiver for his son, five-year old Christopher. Christopher was the supporter (6) in the film because he even though his father was having challenges with making ends meet financially, his son was by his side. At times, Christopher showed group interest in the problem (7) by inquiring to his father about where they were going to stay after they were evicted from their apartment. Uncertain as to what they were going to do, Gardner had a brainstorming session (8) in order to figure out where they were going to stay. At first, they stayed overnight in a bathroom stall and the next day they were in a homeless shelter. Gardner played the role of interpreter (9) to son, to explain their living conditions and to give him reassurance that things were going to be ok. There were moments in the film where Gardner was a blocker (10) in caring for his son because he would lose his portable his bone density scanners and that also had an effect on him making money.
Being homeless and caring for his son were not the only two conflicts he was dealing with. He also was competing with other aspiring stock brokers to be a part of Dean Witter Reynolds through an unpaid internship. This internship consisted of 20 people and only one person would be selected for the job. It lasted the for six months and did not provide a source of income which caused another conflict for Gardner. Even though there was great task difficulty (11) in Gardner making ends meet while following his dreams, he did what he had to do in order to make things happen for his son and himself. Gardner showed information power (12) by connecting with Jay Twistle, a manager for Dean Witter Reynolds, and showing great interest in the internship. Gardner also showed referent power (13) by impressing and Twistle with completing a Rubrik’s cube and giving a great interview as well. He was very likable and charismatic, in addition to being intelligent which were qualities that Twistle was looking for. Gardner was not a self-confessor (14) because he never shared his unfortunate circumstances with co-workers. He could have told them about his situation, but he did not want them to feel sorry for him and he wanted to earn his position within the brokerage company. Gardner showed achievement-oriented leadership (15) because he strived for excellence and persevered through his challenges during the six months of the internship by maximizing client contacts and profits and doing what he needed to do in order to earn the position as a stock broker within the firm. Gardner did not let his circumstances stop him from pursuing his dreams.
The Pursuit of Happyness took place in 1981, a time where the United States was experiencing a recession and high unemployment rates due to the shortage of jobs. Chris Gardner had to deal with those challenges in addition to the conflicts that he faced in pursuit being a stock broker at Dean Witter Reynolds. Regardless of the circumstances that Gardner was under, he was able to communicate with his family and colleagues properly and effectively in order to resolve the conflicts at hand. Because of Gardner’s effective leadership communication, he did not let being a single father experiencing homelessness stop him from chasing his dreams in pursuit of happiness. The concept of communicating effectively within a group in order to resolve an issue is one that the audience can gain inspiration for and carry with them throughout their lives.
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