Former New York Times executive editor Jill Abramson delivered a swaggering keynote speech on being resilient at Wake Forest University’s graduation on Monday. She was graceful. “I think the only real news here today is your graduation from this great university,” she started. And she was grateful — for the support she’s received as well as for the stellar career she’s had up until now.
(For the record, she’s keeping the paper’s “T” logo tattoo on the back of her neck.)
But the speech also left me a little wanting. Abramson certainly illustrated resiliency by appearing to speak in public less than a week after her ouster, but she provided the graduates with few life lessons on how to pick yourself up and dust yourself off after getting knocked rudely on your tush.
“Show what you are made of,” was the one bit of advice she gave. That’s what her father always told her to do, and Abramson said she was directing those words at anyone who’s “been dumped, not gotten the job you really wanted, or received those horrible rejection letters from grad school.”
But how, I wondered, should you go about bouncing back, and can we learn to do it — or are a few lucky ones just born with this innate ability?
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