Rosie Waterland talks about the boss that changed her life.


Rosie with the boss who believed she could fly: Jam.





I have had some bad bosses in my time.

There was the one who used to dump her dirty dishes in front of me rather than walk 5 extra metres to the kitchen. There was the guy who would limit my toilet breaks to 3 minutes, because that’s how long the men needed and he wanted to ‘keep things fair’. Then there was the scary lady who would only stop reading the paper to yell at me about the economy.

Working for a boss who is the human equivalent of a Batman villain really makes you appreciate it when you have a good person running the show. I’m lucky enough to have that person now, in Mamamia’s Editor-in-Chief Jamila Rizvi. Not only is she an incredible boss, Jamila has cared for me in a way that has kind of changed my life.

When I first started at Mamamia, I was a different person. I was coming out of a pretty dark time in my life. My rough childhood had finally caught up with me, and trying to deal with the PTSD and anxiety that came with that had changed something in me.

Even though I had worked really hard to get through the worst of it, the struggle had turned me into a shell of a person. I had lost all confidence in my ability to live a normal life outside of my bedroom. I was just sad. Sad and ashamed that I hadn’t been stronger, that I hadn’t been able to manage everything without letting it make such a huge impact on my life.

Then there was Jamila.


Just as an FYI, you should know that this post is sponsored by Dove. But all opinions expressed by the author are 100 per cent authentic and written in their own words.

I knew I loved to write, so on a whim, I sent an article in to Mamamia. Jamila wrote back to tell me that she loved it and that the website was going to publish it. I never told Jam this, but I actually cried when I got that email.

Jam telling me that she liked my stuff gave me just enough confidence to write something else. She liked that piece too. Then I got a third piece published. Soon, the email exchange between Jam and I gave me enough confidence to start a blog. As I wrote more, and as my blog became more popular, I started to get some of my juju back.

Writing funny stories and making people laugh helped me remember why I loved to write, and writing about some of the tougher times in my childhood became an important healing tool for me. And all through this awakening there was Jam. Emailing me, encouraging me, forcing me to see myself as person of worth. We had never even met in person at that point, and she was somehow changing my life.

It wasn’t long before I had built up enough confidence to ask Jam if I could intern at Mamamia, and after three weeks of doing that, she offered me a job.

Rosie today, as Editor of Rogue.

I was petrified. It was only a few months earlier that I had all but given up on the idea of ever doing anything with my life, and here I was about to take a job a million girls wanted at the most popular women’s website in the country.

But Jam convinced me I could do it. She was always there with the confidence I lacked. She started inviting me out with her friends and refusing to take no for an answer. She let me write the funny stuff I loved (and would gently rein me in when I started writing too many fart jokes). She made an effort to understand how my anxiety affects me and has never made me feel guilty for suffering from it. She lets me take the time I needed each week to go to therapy and is always there when I’m having a freak-out. She promoted me to editor of a whole section of Mamamia (Rogue – you should read it, it’s awesome) even when I thought she was crazy to do so and was I convinced I wouldn’t be able to do it.


And now I look around at my life and I can’t believe how much it’s changed.

Two years ago, I was lost, and I honestly didn’t think I would ever find my way out of the dark place I was in. Now I’m an editor, I get to write stuff that I love every day, I work with an incredible group of women (and a few really amazing guys) and I can’t believe how lucky I am to have the life that I do. That’s because of Jamila.

We recently had Lisa Wilkinson come into the Mamamia Office to talk about her career (and just generally let us radiate in her brilliance), and she said something that really stuck with me. She told us that every time in her life she’s been nervous about taking a new job, she’s only been able to jump off the cliff because there was a boss behind her who believed that she could fly. Jamila is that boss to me.

Coming to Mamamia has changed my life. But actually setting foot in the door meant I had to be brave enough to jump off a cliff, and I never would have done that if Jam hadn’t been there to convince me I had wings. Definitely a step-up from 3-minute toilet breaks.

Here are some more inspiring women in power:

Who’s been your best boss, and how did they influence you?

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