‘At some point, I gave up trying to play it safe. I stopped trying to control the uncontrollable.’
Jane Caro is known for saying what she thinks across the news and entertainment media. In an era where public figures talk about themselves as brands, and manage every moment accordingly, this is not just refreshing, it’s, well, radical.
Unafraid to apply that razor-sharp insight to her own life, Jane reveals that she was not a model child or a faultless parent, and she’s a better person for it; that asking for help is a skill worth mastering; and that in her long and successful career in advertising, she was bullied by some of the wittiest men in Australia.
Jane also talks frankly about her battle with anxiety, offering assurance and hope to the one-in-three Australian women affected by the condition. Jane shows that anxiety is not a life sentence, and that on the other side lies the ultimate reward: the freedom to do as we please.
How Plain-speaking Jane inspired my writing – and me!
I absolutely loved Plain-speaking Jane and, because of her story, I think I love Jane Caro even more. (Yes, it’s possible!?) She’s an honest, funny, smart, down-to-earth and passionate feminist who inspires not-giving-a-fuck; she cares, deeply, but she doesn’t give a toss about the crap that gets up the collective arse.
In my mind, as I read her book, I heard Jane’s voice. I saw her face, expression and mannerisms, and I felt her moods. Dammit, I even felt as though I could read her thoughts.
I love, too, that she spoke so openly about her insecurities, and personal and professional concerns and battles. I ache to read and hear from high-profile people who celebrate vulnerability and so generously share their lives with us.
**bursts with gratitude**
In fact, Jane’s experience of the advertising industry also reminded me of something I wrote about here (Ironing the Ageism Wrinkle) during my AWARD School experience two years ago. I put on my angry pants after hearing about an ad industry professional’s advice to AWARD School hopefuls not to bother entering the profession after 30.
As a 40-something woman amongst a small group of 20-somethings (all of them completely fabulous), I think I spent more time tackling ideas about my career at 40 than solving the AWARD briefs:
Ageism is one bias that needs ironing out. Not just because it reeks of that’s-just-the-way-we-do-things–around-here type thinking (the antithesis of creativity and innovation) but because, whether you’re 18 or 81, if you’ve got energy, drive and passion, you’re adaptable, flexible and a lover of life-long learning you’ve got what it takes – in any profession. Furthermore, these qualities should be assessed on an individual basis, without regard to age, sex or any other ‘ism’.
Jane’s ideas and thinking are spritely, fresh and urgent. She is an inspiration to women – to anyone, quite frankly – and she packs an abundance of energy, drive and passion. There’s not an ism than can pin her down, and thank God for that.