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Career Lessons from the Fabulous Women of 'The Bold Type'

We’re serving up our favorite office reminders from this show’s fearless characters

If you haven't heard of The Bold Type, you're welcome. It's basically a modern-day Sex and The City, but with one key difference: Kat, Jane, and Sutton are young professionals boldly striving for more… at work.

The main characters met while working at Scarlet, a Cosmo-esque magazine. Kat, a social media manager, Jane, a writer, and Sutton, a fashion assistant, are at the beginning of their careers and eager to be seen, appreciated, and, most importantly, heard.

The show is entertaining, for sure, and it's got more than a few best practices for the professional woman. Here are our 4 favorites.

1. Speak up at meetings.

In board meetings, budget meetings, and editorial meetings, these characters push back, speak up, and ask for what they want.

Great moment: Kat, the social media manager, who is rising higher and higher in the ranks, gets to sit in on board meetings and attend important conferences — and she doesn’t do so quietly. When she’s attending a board meeting full of mostly middle-aged white men to discuss diversifying the online portion of the magazine, she speaks up to argue one of their decisions, shocking many.

What works about it: Not only does she introduce an impromptu study, tweeting two different topics to see which one gets “liked” more in order to prove her point, she also follows up on her position. “When it comes to the internet and millennials, it’s not about the story. It’s about the conversation it starts,” she explains, giving them more reason to listen to what she wants.

Given that men do 75% of the talking in meetings, it's time to take a page from Kat's book.

2. Go for the job you want, not the one you need.

We know it’s not easy always easy to pursue your passions and pay your bills, especially when you’re stuck living in tiny apartments in big, expensive cities. But knowing what you want is the key to actually getting it — and Sutton makes that clear.

Great moment: When faced with the option of taking a less exciting, higher-paying job or putting her name in for the fashion assistant position, Sutton takes her chances and goes for it. Then she discovers the disappointing salary. What does she do? She pushes back. When she doesn’t get a salary change, she asks for a few different perks. 

What works about it: Negotiations don’t have to stop after one ask. Ask for what you want, and if you don’t get it, ask for something else. 

3. Embrace failure.

Jacqueline, the editor-in-chief of Scarlet, is a powerhouse. Her super power is that she knows how to manage up and please the board while maintaining the essence of the magazine and still finding time to be a good mentor. 

One of the key lessons she bestows on the women she works with is how to reframe failure.

Great moment: A shining example of Jacqueline's mentorship is her response to Jane after she loses her writing job after submitting her very first article. Jacqueline's response: “You did not fail me, Jane. You just failed. Sometimes you're going to fail. That is what it means to be a professional writer. Now go write something else."

What works about it: We all need people in our lives who encourage us to aim higher and to remind us that mistakes are the price we pay for knowledge.

4. Stop comparing. Start supporting.

Each woman is trying to make it in her own prospective department and although one may rise quicker than another, it’s clear that these three best friends are willing to support and encourage each other, regardless of their own personal struggles.

Great moment: Jane says it best, “I want to lift women up, not tear them down.”

What works about it: Jealousy, drama, and competition don’t belong in the workplace, especially for women.

In seeing these women succeed and fail at different speeds, we see how important it is to rise above the failure and celebrate the women around us, no matter how challenging it may feel.

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By Sarah Sheppard

Sarah Sheppard is a professional writer and editor. She worked as a senior manager at an independent publisher in Boston, earned an MFA in Creative Writing from Lesley University, and currently resides in the Midwest. She is working on her first novel. You can find her at sarahsheppardwriter.com, @writershep on Twitter, and @sarahsheppardwriter on Instagram.  

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