First off, I’d like to publicly admit that I’m obsessed with job shadowing. Who wouldn’t be? It’s like a mini internship without the stress of having to impress a whole team of people.
It all started back in tenth grade when I was asked to job shadow three different women for a school project. Being an overachieving, career-driven nerd, I was pretty thrilled at the opportunity. Over a two-week span of time, I followed around a fashion magazine editor, interviewed a radio host and visited the law offices of one of the top attorneys in Toronto. You could say my interests at that age were varied.
I’m now 19, a college student, and have a number of internships under my belt. I’m also fairly invested in the lives of a handful of fictitious television characters. Apart from falling asleep to marathons of their shows every night, the closest I’ve actually come to real-life encounters with these extraordinary women is day-dreaming about what it would be like to job shadow them. So on that note, let’s begin the list.
1. Olivia Pope
I got hooked on Scandal last summer during a Netflix induced binge and I can honestly say my life hasn’t been the same since. Olivia Pope is everything I want to be in life (apart from her cheating with the POTUS of course). No, I take that back. She is everything I want to be in life multiplied by a million. From her perfectly tailored white suits and coifed locks, to her impeccable speeches, she tackles every crisis with a fervor I hope to one day embody.
Shadowing the most powerful political fixer in D.C. certainly wouldn’t be easy. I’d probably have to jump through a few hoops and clear one too many background checks before even stepping foot inside Pope and Associates. But once inside, I’d keep a good ten feet away from Huck and stay as close to Olivia as humanly possible without seeming creepy. I’d hope that with closer proximity, the likelihood of her brainpower and fashion sense wearing off on me would increase. It’s not physics, but it’s the closest science-related hypothesis my brain can process right now.
2. Mindy Lahiri
Sour straws. Floor naps. Chocolate fountains. Bear claws. Does this sound more like Dylan’s Candy Bar than a doctor’s office to anyone else? I thought so. Spending a day job-shadowing Mindy would purely be to satisfy my fantasy of hanging out with a cool, hotshot doctor who also happens to have an affinity for sugar and all things neon, rather than for any career related reasons.
The closest I ever came to med school was taking 11th grade biology. But Mindy doesn’t have to know. I’ll lure her in with candy and gossip magazines and we’ll spend the whole day sprawled out on her office floor like we’re two girls enjoying a preteen sleepover. Her assistants will knock on the door but we’ll pretend to be hard at work, when really we’re gushing over Michael Fassbender in X-Men: Days of Future Past. Career related? No. Best day of my life? Yes.
4. Peggy Olson
What I would give to spend a day with Peggy. Unwinding together on her office couch and dabbling in and out of conversation about advertising scandals and Don Draper. It’s like a scene out of a movie. Peggy has long been my favorite character on Mad Men (apart from Joan of course). She’s courageous in a way that’s still applicable today and she never shies away from utilizing her creative genius to get ahead.
I see our day together spanning from the wee hours of the morning well into the late hours of the night. We’d bounce ideas off each other (I’d be scared at first but soon ease up upon realizing that Peggy’s pretty down to earth) and eventually inspire an incredible new ad campaign. It’d be an idea so good that all the other copywriters would be kicking themselves wishing they had thought of it first. After exhausting the right side of our brain, we’d order Chinese takeout and reminisce about plans of grandeur for the future, such as taking over the firm. Okay, diabolical plans aside; I still think Peggy should be a part owner of Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce. She’s Peggy Olson and her name deserves to be in lights.
4. Leslie Knope
I’m embarrassed to admit that I only recently started watching Parks and Rec. But I can assure you that I’ve wasted no time at all catching up. I’m now on season five and credit Leslie Knope for my recent surge in positivity. Excuse my corniness for a second, but it wouldn’t be totally unjust to describe her as a ray of sunshine. It’s so refreshing to see a confident, self-motivated female lead that sees her community as an extension of her own family (and fights for them as such). I’m a born and raised city person but I would gladly spend a year in Pawnee if it meant getting to hang out with Leslie Knope everyday. Unfortunately, job shadowing is more of a one-shot deal.
The first stop in my day with Leslie would be a trip to JJ’s diner where I’d beg her to write a memoir called Kickin’ It With Knope. Back at the office I’d do my best not to badger her with questions and just watch as she puts out fires around the department. No day in Pawenee would be complete without a visit to the park. So after a long day of town hall meetings, paperwork, and waffle binging, we’d make our way over to the grass for a barbecue with Ben and the rest of the parks department. Yes, this does remind me somewhat of a fairytale. And no, I won’t apologize for it.
5. Amy Brookheimer
Though I desperately try to emulate the always-sunny Leslie Knope, I’m definitely more of an Amy Brookheimer by heart. I consider my phone an additional limb, control freak should be my middle name, and sardonic humor is my specialty. I guess the Veep writers have secretly been spying on me. Or, they’re just really good at appealing to overachieving, overtired, overly stressed college girls like myself.
A day spent in The White House with Amy would be exhausting and stress-inducing, but exhilarating all at the same time. Amy thinks fast on her feet and is a straight shooter, two qualities I greatly admire. She may not be the Vice President, but she’s managed to keep the campaign afloat and remain relatively sane/out of any hospital beds (looking at you Dan Egan). I have a lot to learn from Amy but after a day in her world, it’s safe to assume I’d want to keep my distance from The White House for a little while.
Lexi Kroll is a 19-year-old television and film student who’s dreading the day she turns 20 and can no longer use teenage coupons. She spends the majority of her time obsessing over the lives of fictional characters and justifies it as lucrative research for her future career. You can follow her on twitter @lexikroll or on her blog.