Shonda Rhimes' web chief thinks society is caught up in unhealthy "success porn"

Chief content officer of Shondaland: No matter how awkward or unsure you are, you can strive for a fruitful career


Carrie Sheffield
June 16, 2017 11:59AM (UTC)

In her 20s, Jennifer Romolini was a divorced college dropout, born to teenaged Italian-American working-class parents. She spent years waiting tables and waded through many an unsuccessful job interview -- finally to score editorial roles at media outlets like Glamour, Yahoo and HelloGiggles. Now the chief content officer for Shonda Rhimes’ soon-to-launch lifestyle site Shondaland, she has published a new book “Weird in a World That’s Not: A Career Guide for Misfits, F*ckups, and Failures.” During a recent "Salon Talks" episode, she explained that many people, especially women, are fed images of what success looks like that are just unattainable. Calling this "success porn," she advised people to take a more grounded approach to moving up the career ladder.

What made you stop caring about your "failures"?

Advertisement:

I had very little to lose and everything to gain, right?

It’s a very circuitous thing, and you’re just constantly falling and failing and fucking up and getting back up, right? I am weary of the way we talk about success and the ways in which we fetishize it, the ways in which there’s like a “success porn."

What gave you the urge to seek something beyond your hardscrabble upbringing in a rural Pennsylvania town?

I just kept thinking, Well there has to be more for me. . . . And that didn’t mean that like the lightbulb went off and like all of a sudden there was like a golden path and I started walking down it. It was a struggle. I sort of — I was clumsy. I navigated it awkwardly, but I knew I wanted more than what I had.

What do you think of society's  popular attitudes and depictions of success, especially among women?

It’s just these ideas we have of what success should look like are.  They’re not universally true.

My inbox has — I don’t know — 24,000 messages in it. I will never be an “inbox zero” person. But that doesn’t keep me from being a successful person.

Catch more of our conversation on Salon about reaching toward success, no matter who you are.


Carrie Sheffield

Carrie Sheffield is a Salon Talks host, founder of Bold and adviser to Lincoln Network. She previously wrote editorials for The Washington Times, covered politics for POLITICO and The Hill and analyzed municipal credit for Goldman Sachs and Moody's Investors Service.

MORE FROM Carrie SheffieldFOLLOW carriesheffield




BROWSE SALON.COM
COMPLETELY AD FREE,
FOR THE NEXT HOUR

Read Now, Pay Later - no upfront
registration for 1-Hour Access

Click Here
7-Day Access and Monthly
Subscriptions also available
No tracking or personal data collection
beyond name and email address

•••


Fearless journalism
in your inbox every day

Sign up for our free newsletter

• • •