Rosalind Wiseman's book "Queen Bees and Wannabes" inspired the 2004 classic film "Mean Girls."
Twenty years later, Wiseman is still coaching people, including adults, about how to handle drama.
Her clients include the US State Department and UBS Financial Services.
"Mean Girls," the iconic 2004 teen comedy, is all about a particular brand of bullying known to be perpetrated by high school girls — but what happens when you experience similar drama as an adult in the workplace?
That's where Rosalind Wiseman — the writer whose 2002 book, "Queen Bees and Wannabes," inspired the movie — comes in.
More than 20 years after the film's debut, Wiseman still gives advice to grown women who contact her and provides consulting and speaking services to corporations and even US governmental agencies.
"I remind them that they aren't weak because they are affected by these dynamics," Wiseman told The News York Times of women who reach out to her. She said she likes to remind people that "even if we have left our teen years behind us, we are driven to feel valued by the groups we are connected to, and most of us will do anything to avoid embarrassment and shame."
Her clients have ranged from the US State Department, where she serves as a senior leadership consultant, to UBS Financial Services, according to her website. Recently, she told the Times, she got a call from a company seeking her advice after a bullying incident led to several employees quitting.
Wiseman's book "Queen Bees and Wannabes" was aimed at parents trying to help their teenage daughters through adolescence. The screenplay for the 2004 film, written by Tina Fey, was based on the nonfiction book. Wiseman has said she sold the book's film rights to Paramount Pictures for around $400,000, but was not paid more after the film became a massive hit. "Mean Girls" was also turned into a Broadway play, which in turn inspired the movie remake that came out in theaters on Friday.
Wiseman's work isn't all about how to handle being excluded from your lunch table for not wearing pink — but about broader obstacles people, and women in particular, may face in the workplace and how to deal with them.
"The root of many of the challenges women have at work and relationally with each other comes from women not having traditional paths to power," Wiseman told the Times. "When you are restricted from those powers, you assert power in more passive-aggressive ways."
When she works with women in corporate America, she's often coaching them on how to handle common situations, such as speaking up when someone else takes credit for their work or confronting someone directly after a disagreement rather than complaining to a coworker.
Essentially, things that aren't so different than what played out in "Mean Girls." But Wiseman's work is not only about women and girls.
"I want people to come away knowing that my work is about empowering people to feel less shame and powerlessness and more capacity to be in relationships with people in a way they can be proud of," she wrote on Instagram. "It's never too late to repair or treat yourself and others with dignity!"
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