Tina Fey’s new book Bossypants arrived in the post.
As I lay propped up awkwardly in bed, unable to lay down for fear of drowning in a pool of flem or sit upright and induce waves of headachey dizziness, I realised four things;
1. I couldn’t possibly sleep and attempting to meditate hurt my brain.
2. There was no one home to whinge to.
3. Trying to keep up with work or even amuse myself reading crazy Twitter rants via my glowing Blackberry screen made my eyes burn and feel like itty bitty needles were being jabbed into my brow bone.
4. I was so bored it was actually starting to make me anxious.
It was then that I discovered that reading from the matt pages of a book didn’t make me feel sick at all. As long as I kept very still and scanned my eyes across the text e-x-t-r-e-m-e-l-y slowly. Success!
I became a Tina Fey fan through her hit TV series 30 Rock. Both a writer and actor, she’s also done plenty of other stuff of course; Saturday Night Live – which 30 Rock was based on – plus movies like Baby Mama, Mean Girls, The Invention of Lying and Date Night. She’s just funnier and smarter the more you watch her.
But it was 30 Rock that sucked me in. From, scarily, identifying with her character Liz Lemon, squirming with laughter at hillbilly Kenneth, all the way to Alec Baldwin’s terrifyingly funny big boss character Jack Donaghy (and just plain terrifying from a corporate satire point of view).
To read her book Bossypants, you don’t need to know that much about Tina Fey – she tells her own story – from a young, gawky girl who loved theatre camps, to a still-gawky young woman at college. Then kicking off her career as a gawky writer, becoming a gawky actor, adding gawky wife to her resume (with the mother-of-all honeymoon stories), all the way through to gawky producer, gawky mother and gawky boss of an insanely successful TV series.
The thing is, Tina Fey is no where as gawky as she thinks she is (well, she was, judging from some of the photos, but weren’t we all as little kids and/or during the 80′s and early 90′s?)
She’s actually incredibly talented, clever, witty and beautiful.
And as the title indicates, she’s a boss. Which, for a woman, can be kinda weird. God knows why, as Tina so aptly writes in her book;
“Ever since I became executive producer of 30 Rock, people have asked me, ‘Is it hard for you, being the boss?’ and ‘Is it uncomfortable for you to be the person in charge?’ You know, in the same way they say, ‘Gosh, Mr Trump, is it awkward for you to be the boss of all these people?’”
Through my career, I’ve had several very strong, smart female bosses. None quite as funny as Tina Fey (though one has come close) and one in particular who’s been inspiring, tough, fair and extremely human. I’d like to think that I’ve tried, and continue to try, to echo some of what I’ve learnt when dealing with those junior to me.
I also like to take some more advice from Tina;
“When faced with sexism or ageism or lookism or even really aggressive Buddhism, ask yourself the following question: “Is this person in between me and what I want to do?” If the answer is no, ignore it and move on. Then when you’re in charge, don’t hire the jerky people. If the answer is yes, I suggest you model your strategy after the old Sesame Street film piece “Over! Under! Through!”. Do your own thing and don’t care if they like it.”
But don’t read this book because it’s a self-help guide on how to make it to the top of a male-dominated workforce, buy it because it’s FUNNY.
Because it’s a look into what makes a successful, silly woman tick. Or get it just to giggle at the 30 Rock scripts. Or read about what this mother of one is planning to do next – career or family?
Just don’t buy it for it’s creepy cover, because it’ll make you feel a little strange in your tummy every time you look at it.