9 Career Lessons We Can Learn From Rory Gilmore

Posted on November 30, 2016 by

In Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life, Rory Gilmore is lost when it comes to her professional ambitions.

When the series last saw her, she was off to follow Barack Obama as he campaigned for president. Now — almost a decade later, — Rory’s still working as a journalist. However, she has yet to win a Pulitzer Prize. In fact, she didn’t even become the next Christiane Amanpour like she said she would.

In a recent interview with TIME, Gilmore Girls creator Amy Sherman-Palladino said she wishes people would focus less on Rory’s love life and more on her career path.

“It’s just such a small part of who Rory is,” she said. “I don’t see people debating ‘Did she win a Pulitzer yet?'”

Upon watching A Year in the Life, it’s clear why Rory hasn’t reached her career goals. Her priorities aren’t straight, and sometimes, she can even be a little unprofessional. Rory may be a smart and bright woman, but she has never been perfect — and nobody is. She’s a very real representation of people, and her decisions sometimes act as a relatable, cautionary tale. During the new season, Rory makes several mistakes that would be easy to solve had she been more aware of her behaviour towards others.

Here are some lessons that can be learned from Ms. Gilmore from seasons past when it comes to your career.

Don’t let someone of power get you down

Photo courtesy of The WB

Courtesy of Warner Bros.

Even if you have a dream job, sometimes, a person of power can make you rethink your life choices. In season 5, Rory got a taste of that after she lands an internship at a newspaper owned by her boyfriend Logan’s father, Mitchum Huntzberger. At the end of her stint, Mitchum tells Rory she doesn’t have what it takes to become a journalist. And justifiably, she gets upset.

But instead of going out of her way and proving her doubters wrong, Rory completely loses control. She steals a boat, quits her studies at Yale, and moves in with her grandparents. She even stops talking to her mother, Lorelai, who’s been her biggest supporter throughout the series. Of course, old Rory eventually bounces back and manages to get a job at the same newspaper on her own terms. However, nine years later, it seems like she’s still struggling with the same self-doubt about her career.

Throughout A Year in the Life, Rory is discouraged when The Atlantic cuts her story for space. She knows it’s a common occurrence in her line of work. But nonetheless, she’s still upset. Rory should take some advice from her younger self: Don’t ever let a person of power or company tell you you’re not good enough.


Be friendly with potential sources and clients

Courtesy of Netflix

Courtesy of Netflix

First impressions can say a lot about a person, so it’s important to always be respectful. In Gilmore Girls’ “Spring” episode, Rory takes the streets of New York for a GQ profile piece on people who wait in lines. This could have been a fascinating story to pursue, had she put more effort into connecting with people.

In any networking opportunity or job interview, it’s always nice to talk to person face-to face with a friendly greeting before getting down to business.But while it’s understandable that Rory may have a tight deadline on her hands, she makes little effort to get to know the people she wants to talk to. First, she shoves a recorder in a source’s face when he agrees to an interview with her. Then, she disrespectfully falls asleep when he starts to tell her about himself.

Yes, people can be boring and long-winded during conversations. But the nice thing to do is smile and nod, not fall asleep on them. Plus, she skipped people who said they didn’t know why they were in line — there’s a story there if we’ve ever seen one.


Know when there’s a conflict of interest

Be it a boss, a client, or a source you’re interviewing for a story, it’s important to know that getting involved with them can come with some ethical issues.

Back in Rory’s early days working as a reporter for the Yale Daily News, she follows her journalistic instincts and discovers the Life and Death Brigade, a secret society at her university known for its dangerous stunts and criminal activities. As it turns out, Rory’s future boyfriend Logan is part of the group. He offers to whisk her away to one of their getaways. Problem is, she participates in the group’s activities and seemingly makes no mention of that in her article.

Unless this was a personal account of her experience, she should have not participated. Moreover, she also shouldn’t have DATED Logan after it, as he was her main source for that story. In the news business, credibility is everything. How will her audience trust Rory if they find out she’s romantically involved with the main contact for her piece?

In this instance, I’ll give Rory a pass because she was young and naïve. However, it appears she still hasn’t learned an important lesson nine years later. During that same assignment for GQ (the one where she fell asleep on the job), she hooks up with a Wookiee (not literally, just a guy dressed up like one) after she interviews him. Along with the credibility issue, this also isn’t a good look for Rory.



A “lucky outfit” won’t increase your chances at a job


Courtesy of Netflix

It’s important to dress for success in your professional life — but finding the perfect outfit shouldn’t be your chief concern when preparing for a job interview.

Throughout A Year In The Life, Rory spends a lot of time looking for her coveted “lucky outfit” ahead of her meeting with Condé Nast. She sifts through boxes she’s left with her mom, her best friend, and her grandmother, and when there’s no sign of it, she’s extremely concerned.

Looking the part may be important, but Rory could have spent most of that time actually preparing for the meeting. Hell, she could even be looking for more ideas for her next story! Because at the end of the day, Rory’s outfit wasn’t so lucky for her after all.

(To be fair though, Rory looks great in that red dress.)



If an employer keeps rescheduling your meeting, look into other options

Courtesy of Netflix

Courtesy of Netflix

An important lesson for job seekers is to not focus on one gig. But for Rory Gilmore, she does just that and places all of her hope on a meeting with Condé Nast — one that hat keeps getting postponed.

Rory should have just taken the cancellations as a sign that the company is JUST NOT INTERESTED in her at the moment. If she weren’t so hung up on that meeting, she could have used that time to look for jobs elsewhere. Sometimes, it may seem simple to focus on a dream job and forget about other opportunities. However, that’s not good, because things can get unpredictable when you’re looking for a job. People leave positions and budgets often get cut. Maybe the work environment isn’t the right fit.

That’s why it’s important to send more out multiple applications. A job that may not have seemed amazing just might be THE ONE. There are so many opportunities out there!



Go to a job interview well-researched and prepared

Courtesy of Netflix

Courtesy of Netflix

Even if a job isn’t your first or second choice, you should NEVER treat a position like it’s beneath you. Throughout the series, Rory is poached by the CEO of Sandee Says, a cheesy startup website that is on the verge of success. Rory continually turns down a job offer from the company, because she believes that she can do much better.

When Rory doesn’t get her way with the story she’s working on for GQ, she reluctantly gives in and goes for a job interview with Sandee Says — and completely bombs it.

Rory goes into the interview thinking she’s already got a job in the bag. So much so, that she comes into the meeting with zero story ideas and is unprepared when answering other questions.

In this situation, Rory shows that it’s important to research the company before every job interview and come up with ways they can improve. Employers want the very best for their company. And if bosses aren’t sold on the feedback that’s given to them, there’s a good chance you aren’t a good fit for the company either.



Achieving one milestone in your career doesn’t mean you’ve had your breakthrough


Courtesy of Netflix

It’s great when something amazing happens in your career, but it doesn’t mean your life will suddenly take off because of it. Since we last saw Rory in 2007, she was about to trail Barack Obama during his presidential campaign. Since then, she’s published a few pieces in The Atlantic and Slate. She also had one well-received Talk of the Town piece for The New Yorker.

With that said, Rory seems to believe she already had her big break with her piece in The New Yorker. After all, her story’s now printed at the back of the menus at Luke’s Diner! However, that’s not how the world works. Like life, business is always evolving. Rory needs to realize that her career cannot rely on just one story in order to thrive. All careers have ups and downs, and having one big win doesn’t mean you don’t have to work hard.

At the end of the day, determination and good work pays off. Rory needs to stop pouting and get back to looking for her next successful story instead of relying solely on her past successes.



Don’t look down on others in a similar position as you

Courtesy of Netflix

Courtesy of Netflix

When Rory moves back to her hometown of Stars Hollow after bombing her job interview, she gets introduced to a group called the 30-Something Gang.

Like Rory, the adults in this club have moved back in with their parents while they look for jobs. With short term contracts and precarious work being the norm these days, it’s becoming more common to move back to your parents’ homes. And why not? Living in your childhood home can help you save while you pay off student loans and establish yourself professionally.

For Rory, however, she thinks it’s embarrassing.

The 30-Something Gang invites her to join them on their outings, but she refuses and insists she’s “not back” in town for good. In fact, she treats the group like she’s above them. The members of the 30-Something Gang has been nothing but friendly and supportive to her. And honestly, Rory could use a bit of encouragement from people in a similar situation.

The job market is tough these days, and Rory could have used this opportunity to make new friends and gain new perspectives. After all, how can someone like her call herself a journalist when she isn’t willing to meet new people?



Turn to a trusted friend if you’re stuck in a rut

Courtesy of Tumblr

Courtesy of PopSugar 

Rory spends the majority of A Year in the Life aimless and unsure about her future. But lo and behold, someone saves her: her ex-boyfriend Jess Mariano! While I’m not usually a fan of the boy-saves-girl trope, I liked how Jess was able to push Rory back in the right direction.

He tells her to write a book about her relationship with her mom, and suddenly, Rory is inspired again. Throughout this revival of Gilmore Girls, we see Rory fumbling about her journalism career and failing to come up with story ideas. Perhaps what she needed all along was a career change, and that’s completely acceptable. Rory may not be meant to be a journalist, but it’s clear that she’s meant to write.

Sometimes, it helps to speak to a good friend when you’re stuck in a rut. The world can be a tough place. But sometimes, all you need is a bit of a pep talk from a close pal or loved one to get you back on track.

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