This Sunday, January 14, Season 2 of the critically praised and culturally debated show Girls premieres.
The show focuses on four young women in their early to mid-20′s as they try to navigate the complex world of careers, love and just trying to pay rent. Triple threat Lena Dunham, the creator, star and director of the show, says she has created what she thinks are honest characters who may not necessarily be likable.
“I don’t always like myself, and I don’t always like the people that I love, and I don’t understand why I have to like the people on TV,” Lena said.
Girls costar Zosia Mamet, who plays naive college student Shoshanna, said on The Today Show yesterday that your 20′s are an especially selfish period in a person’s life. It is a time where you can easily become self absorbed. And that is certainly Hannah in a nutshell. She is definitely not a career role model (nor are any of the girls really, except Marnie) but we can learn from their mistakes. After all, we can all only hope to ‘almost get it kind of together.’
#1 Prepare for your salary negotiation meeting
In the pilot of the series, Hannah finds herself facing a major challenge: her parents have cut her off financially and she works full time as an unpaid intern. Faced with the scary prospect of not being able to pay rent, Hannah gets up the gumption to talk to her boss about turning her internship into a paying a job. But she goes about it all wrong. She talks about her financial situation and her needs, instead of how she made her boss’s life easier and fit into making the company successful. If we could prep Hannah for her next negotiation meeting, we’d arm her with a list of what she has done to help the company and make sure she talked about what skills she was building (like Photoshop) that made her a more valuable employee.
#2 Do not depend on your parents for financial support unless you have to
It is a rough job market and a tough economy and there are certainly many smart, well-educated young women like Hannah who are having trouble finding jobs. But if you can support yourself – even through side jobs and waitressing gigs – you will better set yourself up for future career success. A little help from family is fine, especially in an expensive city like New York, but having that kind of cushion can hold you back. Hannah was staying at her unpaid internship in part because she knew she had money coming from her parents. It actually stunted her career growth.
#3 Do not try to sleep with your boss
Both Hannah and Jessa do not deal well with having male bosses. Now Hannah works for a company where her male boss isn’t necessarily a bad guy but he is inappropriately touching his female employees. Her coworkers advise her to not say anything but in Hannah’s deranged mind this ends with her proposing sex to her boss.
Jessa isn’t much better. She clearly knows her male boss has a crush on her and she flirts with him all the time, which costs her her job in the process.
However, the show is actually pretty realistic considering a recent survey found that 40 per cent of millennials said they would date their supervisor, compared to 12% of older respondents. There is clearly a mind shift in the ages when it comes to office romance. We at Levo advise against this. We haven’t yet read a profile of a Fortune Most Powerful Woman in which she mentions flirting, dating, or sleeping with a boss as the key to getting ahead….
#4 Do not be jealous of other people’s success, aspire to it
Towards the end of Season 1, we are introduced to a former classmate of Hannah’s who has just published her first book and is receiving major acclaim for it. Instead of celebrating her success, Hannah says this girl lucked into this because her boyfriend committed suicide. If only we could all be so lucky. It is hard to see someone in your field do better than you when you are the same age, but at the same time you shouldn’t compare yourself. You need to instead work on being the best version of you. Or something cliché like that.
#5 Dress for the job you want and not like you work at a “consumptive women’s hospital”
Remember the old adage, “dress for the job you want, not the one you have.” For example, Marnie, who works in a hip art gallery looks like she runs the place with her great dresses, coats and heels. Hannah looked like the live-action female version of Pigpen when she went to work at her internship in the pilot. Jessa, who clearly didn’t grow up reading The Baby-Sitter’s Club, wore a see through white lace dress with pink undergarments for her nannying job (Mary Poppins would not approve). Yes, clothing can be expensive but it is worth it to invest in a few good pieces you can repeat over and over.
#6 You have to go to your job even when you don’t feel like it
Perhaps one of the most brilliant realisations on the show: Jessa says, “You know what the weirdest part about having a job is? You have to be there every day, even on the days you don’t feel like it.” And she speaks the truth. You do have to go to work every day, even on the days you don’t feel like it.
#7 Do not make controversial or risque jokes during an interview
Hannah has an amazing sense of humour (as does Lena Dunham) but she can definitely push it too far. For all you funny ladies, try out your more risque, controversial material on only your closest friends… not during a job interview. It is important to have a sense of humour, especially if the interviewer does, but this is not the time to make a joke that would make even your ballsiest friend blush.
#8 Try to put on your “Miranda hat” at school
OK, so Shoshanna is still in college but she has a good point in her ridiculous (and trite) Sex & the City analogy. We do all wear different hats everyday and, like most of America, they represent the four main characters from Sex & the City. So do try to put your “Miranda hat” on at school or work, have a “Carrie side” for the most part, but once in a while let “Samantha” out. And of course, everyone should aspire to have “Charlotte” hair.
#9 Do not throw something together when you are making a presentation
When Hannah reconnects with a former college professor he asks her to participate in a reading. Hannah is not that into the idea because it is not a typical Hannah thing to do. She has a vestibule of great stories but instead of using one of them, she jots down a story on the subway. It basically comes off as a story that was written… in five minutes on the subway. Always put a lot of effort and research into making a great presentation no matter how small the audience.
#10 Dance with your best friend around your room after a hard day
Sometimes, after a long day, all you can do is dance to a Robyn song in your room with your best friend.
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