This Scandal Writer Shares Her 5 Tips for Landing a Competitive Job
Steamy Oval office hookups. B613 back room deals. Papa Pope assassination attempts. The Fitz-Oliva-Jake love triangle. Each of these Scandal-defining moments began simply as “What if we did this?” In other words, they were once just ideas, enthusiastically pitched in Shonda Rhimes’ writers’ room. In that room sits Raamla Mohamed, who started as a production assistant on Grey’s Anatomy back in 2009, raised her hand for, well, everything and now, at 34, is a top writer on Rhimes’ award-winning political drama.
Sure, we’re jealous that she gets to spend her days with Kerry Washington and Scott Foley, but that perk came only after a lot of hard work. Here, Mohamed details five keys to getting your foot in the door wherever you want to work — whether that’s Olivia Pope & Associates or elsewhere:
1. Pay attention to the job that makes you want to take notes. “It wasn’t until working on Grey’s [Anatomy] that I had an ‘aha’ moment. We had writers’ table reads and the assistants got to sit in and hear the script being read out loud, and then Shonda would give notes. Something just clicked for me. I was like, these are people’s jobs?! I had a lot of jobs where I would come home not really caring very much about what I was doing, but working in TV, I started wanting to learn. I would read the different script drafts and see the edits and try to understand why certain changes were made.”
2. Check your ego at the door. “[As a writer on Scandal,] I had to separate who I was as a person and as a writer from my ideas, which makes you a better writer. I think that’s because, one, you don’t think your words are so precious, and two, it allows you to be confident that just because an idea doesn’t sync with what the show-runner wants or what the other writers want, it doesn’t mean that you’re a terrible person or you’re stupid. It’s all subjective.”
3. A little fear is a good thing. “I have to make sure I say this right because she said it in a great way and I’m going to mess it up, I know it. She [Shonda] said, ‘If your dreams don’t scare you, they’re not big enough.’ I’ve always remembered that.”
4. Work on your craft outside of work. “I still try to write for myself and make sure I know what my voice is outside of the show. At the end of the day, anything can happen. [This] job is dependent on other people, studios, and networks, so I don’t believe in getting too comfortable.”
5. Learn to pick your battles. “Sometimes I have people ask, ‘Why did this happen?’ Some of it is a creative decision — and some of it is because an actor wasn’t available, or because the show has to be exactly 44 minutes. [Scandal] is a multi-million dollar production, so there are sacrifices that have to be made; it’s not personal. If you’re losing sight, understand that you’re not necessarily going to get everything you wanted. However, you learn what’s important, and what to fight for.”
This post was originally published on Levo League by Amy Elisa Jackson.
(Photo via ABC)
It can be intimidating to step out on your own and build a business from the ground up. As part of our collaboration with Office Depot, we're talking with Selfmade alum and solopreneur Colette Lawrence, the faith-based motivator and relationship builder behind The M.E.E. Movement, about ways in which women in business can find success.
B + C: How did you know M.E.E. Movement was your business to start?
The M.E.E Movement represents motivation, empowerment, and encouragement for women. It is what represents me. I did not know at first that it was my business to start, but then the thought of monetizing what I loved came to me. It scared me, however. I registered the business in July 2020 and have been slowly building my wings since.
B + C: What's one strategy that's helped you start your business?
Thinking through and researching what the requirements are to start my business, and then asking questions of people who are in the business. Not all advice worked; however, it helped me to figure out what I needed to do and not to do.
B + C: Did you always know life coaching would be your entrepreneurial path?
(Smiles) No, I did not. I 'stumbled" on it. I knew that people were always coming to me for advice and I found that I loved having conversations with them, especially with women, young and old.
B + C: What was your most valuable takeaway from Selfmade?
My most valuable takeaway was the first day of training: Get out of your own way. There were a lot of great moments and important takeaways from every presenter. However, getting out of my own way, pushing past doubts, was for me my most valuable takeaway. Doing something that I had never done before took courage. If I do not focus on what is happening with me mentally then I cannot deliver to my clients successfully.
B + C: What's one piece of advice you would give to female entrepreneurs on the brink of starting?
Get out of your head. You have something to offer. You have what you need to succeed so go ahead and do it.
B + C: How do you stay motivated?
I stay motivated by listening to music and listening to motivational speakers, and sometimes someone will just reach out and talk about the impact that I made in their life. That adds the extra juice or sauce I need to pummel through the day.
B + C: What's your best organizational tip?
Keep a diary and journal. It's the best way for me to keep organized and it also provides a source motivation as I record not only my "losses" but my wins as well.
B + C: Who inspires you in the entrepreneurial space?
Shirley Toliver – She motivates and empowers and makes me always want to show up.
B + C: What has receiving the Office Depot scholarship to Selfmade done to help you start or grow your business?
The scholarship was a blessing in that all the areas that were covered offered valuable information that I needed, from social media to HR. As a new business owner, I needed to know this to increase my own personal awareness in what it takes to run a successful business. The candidness of the presenters made it easy to see myself in their shoes and helped me to realize that I can also get there.
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Head to Office Depot's Selfmade page to check out even more amazing business resources (and discounts!) to help you accomplish more on your entrepreneurial journey. These offers are available for a limited time only, so be sure to take advantage of all this goodness while supplies last. Want to join the next Selfmade cohort this summer? Check out all of the scholarship details right here.