What FNL's Tami Taylor Can Teach You About Career Success

Photo: Courtesy of NBC.
Tim Riggins may be the eye candy you're obsessed with on Friday Night Lights, but I'd argue that Tami Taylor brings way more to the table.
Over the years, I've found myself pleasantly surprised by the number of inspiring, kicka** female characters on television. It's refreshing to see female characters who consistently stand up for themselves, and aren’t afraid to challenge the men (or anyone, really) in their onscreen lives.  
Although there are many TV characters I could highlight, Friday Night Lights' 'Tami Taylor (played by the lovely Connie Britton), garners my highest praise. Tami is sharp, fair, and feisty — the epitome of a successful, independent woman. She consistently challenges the school's booster club and the other attention-hungry citizens of this football-obsessed town in order to bring more attention to education and the students who need help. Standing up to the men of the town is an arduous task, and one that leads to personal and professional attacks against her. Although this dramatic series can be at times, well, overdramatic, there's always something to be learned from the fearless ways Tami Taylor handles her business.
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Photo: Courtesy of NBC.
Career Lesson: Timing is everything.
In Season 3, Episode 4 the boosters committee successfully gathers funding for a new jumbotron — despite Tami's attempts to have the money redirected for school funding. Tami is asked to publicly unveil the new jumbotron, which she seizes as an opportunity to stick it to Buddy Garrity in front of a crowd.

During her speech, Tami thanks Buddy for agreeing to host the school's next fundraiser at his car dealership — to which Buddy can only respond with a big ol' (surprised) smile and a nod in agreement.

Struggling to reach a consensus? Tami reminds us that it's best to let a tough situation simmer. If you can, take time to cool down, evaluate the root of your concerns, and identify the most sensible strategy for moving forward.
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Photo: Courtesy of NBC.
Career Lesson: Always keep your composure.
In Season 4, Episode 2, Tami pulls the Panthers' new star running back, Luke Cafferty, out of Dillon High for using a fake address (a recruiting technique the boosters employed for decades). The boosters are furious about the move and try using threats and bribery to dissuade her. Never one to bow down from a challenge, Tami shows up, unannounced, at one of the boosters meetings, and threatens to spark an investigation into the illegal mailbox scheme (which could result in several ex-Panther's titles getting revoked).

Despite standing in front of a room of angry men, Tami remains calm and confident and never lets 'em see her sweat.

Feeling the heat at work? Make sure your opinions are well supported, and always practice and prepare your agenda before going into ANY major meeting.
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Photo: Courtesy of NBC.
Career Lesson: Stand for something (stick to your guns!).
In Season 4, Episode 13, Tami is accused of encouraging a student to get an abortion and is forced by the school board to hold a press conference issuing a public apology. Confident that she followed proper legal procedures when offering counsel to Becky, Tami stays true to her values and refuses to give an insincere apology.

Instead, Tami explains that she has always, and will always, do what's best for the students — and then she impressively asks to be transferred across town to East Dillon High.

Stuck in a sticky situation? Always remain authentic and transparent in your work, and don't compromise your beliefs out of fear or intimidation!
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Photo: Courtesy of NBC.
Career Lesson: Patience is a virtue.
Tami's conviction and passion for education is awe-inspiring as she works tirelessly to support struggling students, always encouraging them to believe in themselves. This is not an easy job, and she must deal with some of the school's most troubled students (remember Epyck?!).

Throughout Season 3, Tami forges a close relationship with Tyra, but struggles to keep her from skipping class, dating bad boys (Tami rescues Tyra from Cash in Episode 9), and neglecting her studies. Although Tyra is defiant, Tami never eases up — offering the tough love and mentorship that eventually helps Tyra get admitted to UT.

Not yet seeing the fruits of your labor? Get creative in your approach, try to find meaning in your work (if possible), and always remain focused on the end goal!
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Photo: Courtesy of NBC.
Career Lesson: Be willing to compromise.
In Season 2, Episode 6, Buddy tries to get Santiago, a new student, added to the Dillon football team, but Tami finds out that he's ineligible to attend public school because both of his parents have been deported. At first, Tami doesn't want to bend school rules for the boosters, and suggests they place Santiago with a family through social services. However, she realizes this isn't an ideal situation, and is willing to compromise when Buddy suggests that Santiago could move in with him instead. In the end, Santiago is able to have a positive high school experience, play on the football team, AND stay out of trouble (a win-win for all).

Not willing to budge? Knowing when and how to compromise is critical to getting what you want without seeming bitter or inflexible.
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Photo: Courtesy of NBC.
Career Lesson: When the going gets tough, keep your head up!
Season 4 is a rough one for Tami because it seems that the entire town of Dillon is against her. In Episode 4, her name is smeared in the media, her car gets vandalized, and she's denied school funding. Despite having to battle the haters, Tami holds her head up and keeps moving forward.

Having a tough day, week...or month? Find an outlet for your frustrations (journaling, exercise, cooking) and try to remain confident and in control in every professional setting.
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Photo: Courtesy of NBC.
Career Lesson: Be willing to find a creative solution.
Things don’t get easier for Tami after moving over to East Dillon High. In Season 5, Episode 1, Tami frustrates her new colleagues by suggesting they spend more time with struggling students and focus on improving their grades. Dealing with serious financial issues, the other teachers tell Tami that they don't have the time or resources to create new programs and initiatives. Ever the problem-solver, Tami immediately gets to work, creating a homework club and (eventually) persuading more teachers and students to get involved.

Feel like you're up against a wall? Identify the biggest problem or "need" that you're facing and do research to come up with 2-3 solutions that haven't yet been employed. Commit time to your cause, highlight your progress, and don't take no for an answer!
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Photo: Courtesy of NBC.
Career Lesson: Prioritize your happiness.
Throughout the series, Tami offers endless support and counsel to her husband, Eric, while making major sacrifices that further his career. By the fifth season, Tami is finally acknowledged for her own bold career moves and is offered the role of Head Dean at Braemore College in Philadelphia. At first, Eric is less than thrilled about the prospect of Tami taking this position, and he's concerned about the future of his own career. However, in the season finale, (Season 5, Episode 13) Tami pleads with Eric to take a step back and realize that it's "her turn" and her time to shine. Eventually, Eric comes around and the duo is able to leave Dillon behind for good.

Always putting the needs of others before your own? It's important to be willing to make sacrifices — but balance is crucial and you mustn't let your OWN future and happiness be compromised in the process.

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