“We tell these origin stories over and over again, like, ‘I always knew that it was what I was meant to do,’ and I don’t know if that’s always the case for everybody. There wasn’t a sunbeam in my face. I did a couple of internships the second time I went to college, and I had a couple of really great professors, and I started really connecting with people, and then I was like, ‘Oh, yes, this is it.’ And once I decided that, then I was hell-bent on making it happen.”
Jennifer Romolini, chief content officer for Shondaland.com and author of the book Weird in a World That’s Not: A Career Guide for Misfits, F*ckups, and Failures, was a WLP major at Emerson College who discovered that finding the right career doesn’t always happen overnight.
Romlini proudly wears the badge of a self-proclaimed misfit with an eclectic career that spans from Talk Magazine to HelloGiggles, a blog and online community for women which covers news, culture, and entertainment amongst other topics. She’s also worn many hats between entry-level journalist to Editor in Chief with each promotion serving as a learning opportunity for who Jennifer Romlini is and what she really wants to do.
Her recent interview with Cosmopolitan reveals the struggles of knowing your basic life goals (moving away, finding a job, hitting it big, etc.) but not knowing the specific steps to get through those goals. The interview also covers the ways Romolini mastered her weirdness to turn it into a source for independence and strength in the workplace.
On the topic of being a boss or a manager in the workplace, Romolini writes,
“I made a lot of mistakes [as a boss] and one of the mistakes was I was too nice. When being a boss, you have to be a [jerk] sometimes. That is actually a requirement of the job. If you’re trying to be nice and curry favor and make friends and keep everything light-hearted, you are actually doing your employees a disservice.”
There is a sense of initiative in everything Romolini relays about her career. In fact, it’s her ability to connect with others without fear which helped created her future position at HelloGiggles.
“I stalked the people who were working there. I reached out to them and I said, “Hey, have you ever thought about having an editor in chief?” because they didn’t have anyone leading their editorial at that point. I saw some really easy fixes they could do that wouldn’t dilute the brand but I thought would bring them a lot more success. Because they were a startup, I took a really big pay cut to go work there, which was absolutely worth it because I was so much happier and so much more engaged, and I totally believed in what we were doing.”
In a recent interview with Lindsey Pollak, she revealed her definition of weirdness as a sense of individuality from the normalcy in the world. It’s the ways in which some workers “crash into walls” or overanalyze or tend to get in the way of their own success.
These are the people who have great potential, Romolini states. They are the ones who give it all they have at the expense of feeling vulnerable which, for Romolini, makes their ideas all the more powerful in the workplace.
WLP Majors have a lot to learn from a figure like Romolini as she embodies the exact energy of a successful writer along with the drive of a professional eager to rise through the ranks and tell her weird story.