Mindy Kaling’s book was exactly what I expected after following her on Twitter, reading her blog, and worshiping the twenty four episodes of the Office she’s written (The Dundies!). Kaling is smart, extremely ambitious, hard working and proves that you can be successful without sacrificing the things you love.
There were three takeaways from her collection of essays that really stuck with me. First, I enjoyed her discussion of her professional life and how difficult she can be to work with. She was surprisingly open about how she’s stubborn, reluctant to accept criticism, and gets emotionally attached to her work. Anyone who really loves their job can relate to these feelings; it can be difficult to spend hundreds of hours on a project to have all of your ideas scrapped by a superior. I appreciated her candor about her aggressive behavior in the workplace because it sends a message to women that being forceful in the workplace leads to success. It feels like every week, another set of articles about how women are paid less, do more work, and generally stepped on in the workplace hits the newsstands. Kaling provided examples of where it’s appropriate to be forceful, and why that produces results.
Second, and on a related note, Kaling accepts responsibility for her actions. In one chapter, she details a huge fight she has with Greg Daniels on the set of The Office, and how her mom berated her for her unprofessional behavior. She owns up to her lack of professionalism in certain circumstances, and discusses how she moved forward from there. In another chapter, she talks about how she left her super tight group of high school girlfriends behind to hang out with a fellow comedy nerd, and the positive and negative consequences from her actions. Kaling’s self-awareness about her actions is wonderful.
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