Our pop culture expert shares words of wisdom from her mentors
One of the perks of this job is the arrival of unsolicited books before they’re seen by the general population. And the biggest perk of that is when it’s the new book from one of your favourite authors. I first stumbled upon the work of American writer Meg Wolitzer several years back, thanks to the magic of my local library. On a whim, I picked up The Wife from a gleaming display, and then spent hours devouring it. This week, I’ve been nibbling on her latest, The Female Persuasion, and because of the subject matter – a young woman coming under the wing of an older, wiser one – thinking about the women who have done that for me.
There was the not-much-older woman who was vastly more experienced in our shared profession, who urged me to apply for the position I had no hope of getting. (I got it.) There was another, who taught me the valuable lesson of “know your worth and add tax”; she checked her nails as she airily dismissed what I thought was a generous offer as “not that much, Bim, ask for more”. (I did. I got it.) There was the woman who championed my work, the one who took the time to get a cup of tea with me and ask about my plans, the one who told me, after a lunchtime crying jag in the toilets, “You’re not here by mistake.”
When to stay, when to go. When to push, when to bite your tongue. So much of life is trial and error. My mentors – mostly women, mostly older – have been the constant, dispensing hard-earned wisdoms. I’m paying it forward now: ask for more, be a little brazen, keep pushing. It could be a no, but what if it’s a resounding, “Yes”?
Source: The Guardian