Why I Care About Role Models

You’d think it would be easy to decide what you want to do with your life. I mean, it is your life. You know what you like, you know what you don’t like. Correct?

Incorrect. Cue flashback sequence.

Growing up in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, a small city near Scranton, I always knew (or had some idea) that I wanted to do something creative. But when the time came to begin looking at colleges and majors, I was at somewhat of a loss. I played music, but I didn’t know if I wanted to pursue it professionally. But other than that, what was I really interested in? Aside from attempting to cut my own hair, of course. Don’t do it! But I digress…

Coincidentally, it was also around this time that The Office (US) had been on NBC for a season and a half and it was the best thing for two reasons: 1. My hometown would be immortalized in television history and 2. The show itself was the best thing.

When the Season 1 DVDs went on sale, I bought them immediately. I watched every single episode over and over before realizing that watching the episodes with commentary was a possibility. I had known that someone out there in the universe wrote the numerous TV shows I watched and loved, but it was amazing to hear Paul Lieberstein and Mindy Kaling and John Krasinski talk about jokes they contributed or whether certain bits were improvised. The season 2 cold open with Dwight and the exercise ball, for example. For some reason, it took hearing these things out loud to realize that “this is their job!”

Now, six years later and armed with a Bachelor’s Degree in Television-Radio, I feel that I have many strong, female writers and performers to look up to. Mindy Kaling, of course, and Tina Fey, Liz Meriwether, Lena Dunham and my own co-workers, both male and female, who are wonderful writers and wonderful people. (Shameless plug: watch the Bob’s Burgers season 2 premiere March 11th on Fox!)

Sure, without these individuals, there’s a chance that I might have, eventually, found the same path I’m on now. But it certainly wouldn’t be the same. And when I told new people I met in college that I was from Scranton, they wouldn’t have been able to reply, “Oh, like The Office!”

  • http://www.facebook.com/loloashley Lauren Gelatt

    OMG! This is like the story of my life – I’m a fellow NEPAer (Honesdale, PA just north of Scranton) and it was things like these that made me realize, maybe a little late on my part as I have a bachelors degree in Exercise Science, that yes, this COULD be my job. I’m finally gaining the courage to pursue it. I plan on moving to LA in the spring and I want to go back to school to gain my degree in Television Production or Media Communications. I would love it if you have any advice! And thank YOU for being one of my new role models :)

    • http://www.facebook.com/rachel.b.hastings Rachel Hastings

      Hi Lauren, I’d be more than happy to share some advice! Send me a message on Facebook!

  • http://www.facebook.com/mandy.boyle Mandy Boyle

    Great post! I grew up in Dallas, PA (just a few minutes from you) and I figured out what I wanted to do after puking on an airplane. Really. I was reading Ray Welch’s Copywriter when I got a wicked case of motion sickness. Coincidentally, it was right around the time that I made it to the chapter where another advertising exec in the book tossed his cookies after a helicopter ride from hell. Five years later, I’ve got two degrees in Ad/PR and I’m a copywriter/SEO manager – still in NEPA, but it’s a good start.

    It’s a beautiful thing when the universe shows you something through a totally unexpected source like “The Office”, or in my case, a hurl heard ’round the world. :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/becca.allen Rebecca Allen

    Couldn’t agree more! Glad to hear that Bob’s Burgers is coming back. I told everyone I knew about that show last season and forced friends to watch episodes on my DVR whenever they came over to eat my food and drink my wine. Looking forward to March!

  • http://www.facebook.com/tmonahan3 Tara Monahan


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