At first glance, The Bold Type life lesson seems an unlikely phrase. I try to ingest as much fashion related data as is humanly possible. Instagram style queens, podcasts, and since July 2017, ‘The Bold Type’, an American comedy-drama inspired by the life of former US Cosmopolitan editor Joanna Coles. The series follows friends Jane, Kat and Sutton as they navigate their lives and careers at NYC fashion magazine, Scarlet. If you’re not familiar with the show, then you have some catching up to do!
Known for being fun and entertaining, for me, The Bold Type is also inspiring. So I’m celebrating the return of season two with a summary of it’s best lessons so far. Like it’s noughties predecessors ‘Sex and The City’ and ‘Girlfriends’, the central characters lead rather outrageous lives. But if we can get words of wisdom from RuPaul’s Drag Race, why not from a glamorous trio of young New Yorkers?
Here are my top lessons so far:
The Bold Type Life Lesson 1: Stay true to yourself
The second season kicks off with Jane starting her new job at a new and daring title, Incite magazine. When a story she’s writing takes a surprising turn, Jane tries to put a positive angle on her piece. Unfortunately, her editor has other ideas and her piece gets completely twisted to fit the magazine’s outspoken tone of voice. In a later episode, we then see Jane try her hand at gossip column writing. When she uncovers a shocking story, she just can’t bring herself to write the expose and decides against it.
Lesson Learnt: As a journalist, you have to make ethical decisions. Decisions which can affect your career and working relationships for better or worse. It’s important to have a level of trust with your subjects. When honing your writing voice and style, it’s also important to find the right publication for you and remember that ‘an editor is supposed to support their staff, not exploit them’.
The Bold Type Life Lesson 2: Push Boundaries and Speak Up
When Kat is asked to join a board meeting on the future of Scarlet’s digital space, the old guard don’t see the power of using online content to create conversations that push the boundaries. But instead of sitting back, Kat uses her knowledge of social media and proves that unconventional content speaks more to a younger audience through a test online.
Lesson Learnt: In any role, it’s important to find an avenue to assert your opinion and when it’s in your area of expertise. Your opinion does matter and could be really valuable to the future of the company and its success. Always speak in a polite manner and use tangible data to support your argument.
The Bold Type Life Lesson 3: You don’t have to go to University to get a job
In Episode 5, Kat is looking to build her social media and make some new hires. After finding that she was getting nowhere through traditional methods of hiring, she took her search to social media and found an applicant who has a great online profile. However, her new applicant doesn’t have a college degree on her application and doesn’t initially get approved by HR. Kat shows her editor how the new hire could really bring value to the role and has great digital experience. As a result, she manages to get the rules changed for future hires!
Lesson Learnt: Often, job requirements state that you must have a degree in a relevant field of work to apply. If you feel that you’re experience is enough to qualify you for the role, then you shouldn’t let this put you off applying! Simply state in your cover letter why you think you are the perfect fit for the role despite not having the qualification and turn it into a bonus!
Also, it isn’t an uncommon practice for brands to look to social media for new hires. Make sure you’re following your favourite publications/brands to be the first to hear about open positions and ensure that you’ve honed your personal brand online!
The Bold Type Life Lesson 4: Don’t be afraid of failure
After being fired from her new role at Incite, Jane panics and begs her old boss at Scarlett for her job back. Sensing her fear, Jacqueline delivers some brutal truth that we might all need to hear from time to time ‘You have some growing up to do Jane. You need to live in this failure, you can’t be afraid of it’.
Lesson Learnt: Failure is an invaluable learning experience and one that every single one of us encounters, it can’t be escaped. So rather than panicking and feeling at a loss, we must learn to embrace our failures and the lessons they are here to teach us. When we feel confident and safe in the knowledge that each failure is a stepping stone to the next chapter in our journey, we put ourselves back in the driver’s seat and make decisions based on love, rather than not fear.
Pushing boundaries, staying true to ourselves and embracing our failures are all valuable lessons to be learnt whilst climbing the career ladder. But above all, Jane Kat and Sutton rely on their friendship to navigate their life dramas. The Bold Type teaches us that having a great support network around us is the best way to work through our problems and stay sane!
Words by Heather Ibberson