3 Career Lessons From She-Hulk (Yes, Seriously)
Unless you’re a bigger comic book fan than the average person, you probably don’t know much about She-Hulk, Marvel’s lady equivalent of the regular old Hulk (who was, in case you’re forgotten, a dude). But even if you already know all about Jennifer Walters’ lime-green alter ego, you almost certainly have no idea what an inspirational figure she can be for women in the working world.
Don’t believe us? Check out this description from The Jane Dough’s Colette McIntyre.
“While the untrained eye may look upon She-Hulk and see a Hulk knockoff with different genitals, the heroes are completely different with distinct triggers, degrees of power, and methods of coping with the Hulk condition,” McIntyre writes. “Jennifer Walters, a mild-mannered and nondescript attorney, receives an emergency blood transfusion from her cousin Dr. Bruce Banner after being shot by mobsters. By accepting Banner’s radioactive blood, Jennifer acquires a milder version of his powers. Suddenly, a once invisible and ‘mousy’ woman finds recognition, legitimacy, and power. She-Hulk isn’t a savage monster — she is a feisty, assertive, and confident woman who just happens to be green.”
In other words, you can bet that She-Hulk would Lean In. What else can we learn from the best side of Jennifer Walters?
1. Don’t accept less than you deserve.
It doesn’t matter whether the pressure is external (sexist bosses who code you as submissive) or internal (your own perceptions about appropriate salaries and negotiating power). Don’t allow misconceptions to color your ideas about what you’re worth. Be like the green lady, and demand what you deserve.
2. Achieve work-life balance by acknowledging that work and life are both important.
As McIntyre points out, She-Hulk is both a skilled attorney and a caretaker for helpless mortals — a not-so-veiled allegory for working moms, she posits. Unlike the fake reporter and photographer alter egos of Superman and Spiderman, She-Hulk’s job seems real and demanding. (Seriously, when was the last time you saw Superman attend an editorial meeting? The Daily Planet’s circulation numbers must be swirling the drain.)
3. Have a sense of humor.
“A green Amazonian who incapacitates villains while making quips about her place being in the kitchen appeals to something fundamental in me,” McIntyre writes. “I believe that feminism doesn’t preclude humor, that women’s bodies don’t have to meet any particular standard, that confidence and intellect are as threatening as physical strength and that the combination of all three is deadly. I believe being emotional isn’t a bad thing, that valid objections will produce anger and frustration, and that anyone who tries to delegitimize your argument by calling you irrational or insane isn’t worth your time.”
Forget Wonder Woman. Can we get a She-Hulk movie? The working women of the world need role models like this one.
Want career advice from real-life working women? Check out our photo gallery. Our experts aren’t green, but they’re still plenty tough.
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(Photo Credit: JD Hancock/Flickr)