If you’re a fan of the quirky drama Jane the Virgin, then you are very familiar with the show’s star Gina Rodriguez. She plays Jane Villanueva, a hopeless romantic, virgin (at the start of the show, anyway), widow, single mom, and proud Latina. Her adventures for the past several seasons have involved her figuring out and then pursuing her ultimate dream of becoming a published romance author. And she’s finally there!
Well, wait, the story doesn’t end here. Jane has had many career ups and downs while in the pursuit of her ultimate dream and she’s not done yet. Along the way, Jane has made a few mistakes (like at first going after a degree in teaching because she was too afraid to pursue her real dream of writing) and she’s had some major setbacks (like quitting her job in publishing only to realize that her book advance isn’t all it is cracked up to be). But she’s also persevered and kept going even through the toughest of times, often with the help of her loving mom and abuela. If you’re anything like Jane and looking to pursue your dream career, here are some things you can learn from her ups and downs during the past four seasons.
Don’t be afraid to take a temporary job while you figure it all out.
When we first meet Jane Villanueva, she is working as a waitress at the Marbella Hotel in Miami. Meanwhile, she is going to school to become a teacher (what she believes to be her dream career at the time) and keeping this job in order to make ends meet. In fact, it’s a job that she goes back to over and over again. Why? Because she knows that having a temporary job just to pay the bills is okay. If anything, if doing this can help you achieve your dreams even sooner, then more power to you!
Realize what your REAL dreams are, then go for them.
It wasn’t until Jane really connected with Rafael that she realized what her true dream is: to write novels. She grew up reading romance and it is what she has always wanted. Now, with her book coming out, it seems like Jane has finally realized her dreams. Going after what you want is really important, and it’s great to see our fave girl doing it. You can take a tip from her book and do the same: Figure out what you really want and don’t be afraid to go after it.
Always have a back-up plan for when things aren’t easy.
When Jane learns that a book advance isn’t going to solve all of her financial problems, she decides to go back to work as a waitress at the Marbella. Did we mention how important it is to have a temporary gig? Well, besides that, you should also always have a back-up plan for when your dream doesn’t come easily or when there are set-backs. If you’re starting your own business, it won’t be easy from the get-go. If you’re venturing into a new career, you might not get the CEO title right away. It’ll take time, and maybe even some hardships along the way. That’s okay, just do your best to prepare for them.
Do your research before entering into any new venture.
One misstep that I was shocked by in a recent episode of Jane the Virgin was when Jane seemed clueless about the way that publishing works, thinking that writing a book was the way to great, big success. Well, yes, it can be… But you should never be clueless about what it is you’re getting yourself into. While you should definitely go after your dreams, the key here is to make sure that you research your dream career as much as you can before going there. Talk to others who have done what you want to do and gather as much information as possible before taking the plunge yourself. You’ll thank yourself for it later on.
Rely on your family for their love and support, but do you too.
Jane has had MANY ups and downs with her mom and abuela but her family is always there for her, no matter what. While they might not actually understand all of the ins and outs of the publishing world, they do their best to support Jane. If your family is anything like that, don’t be afraid to rely on them as you pursue your dreams. But, well, not every family is crazy supportive (or always on the same page about what the right thing to do is), so it’s okay to break away a little too.
Work hard, work hard, and then work hard some more.
The #1 lesson we can take home from the story of Jane Villanueva, the up-and-coming romance novelist? WORK HARD! When we first meet her, we see her working hard to put herself through school by working hard at a degree while also working at a job. Later on, as she figures out that she really wants to be a novelist, she changes her degree to focus on her creative writing and then works hard on that, too. She then works hard at a job in publishing and to complete a second manuscript. Seriously, girl, WORK IT!
Celebrate your success, and then just keep going.
While you’re working your pretty little booty off in your new career, business venture, or other dream pursuit, make sure that you take a pause to celebrate your successes. If you’re a writer like Jane, maybe this means celebrating when you get an internship in publishing, when you finish your manuscript, or when you hear back from an agent. No matter what this new career of yours is, though, it’s good to give yourself a pat on the back (and maybe a fancy dinner out) when good things happen. But don’t let that slow down your momentum—so keep going until you’ve achieved your FINAL dream.