I think imagining different fictional people in their jobs, why they are there, what kind of personalities they have and what brought them to where they are is really fun. So I thought, today we are going to talk about Becky Sharp, the fictional governess in Vanity Fair. Becky is thought to be a composite inspired by several real women. And that isn’t really surprising to me, what do you think?
Becky Sharp is the first time a governess was the main character of a story, she was poor without social status, and typically at the time her friend Amelia would have been the main character.
So Becky does something that with the tweaks and twirls of time and culture still happens today, doesn’t it? From a cynical point of view we can read her as being a ruthless opportunist who uses people as stepping stones in her quest to climb the social ladder to riches and glamour. I have seen it in the CVs I get from people from marginalized countries with no childcare experience who say “I will take any job in Monaco”. (just a side note, we do not work with people who are not in it with the same values we have, quality is king with us, so no thank you.)
From a less cynical and more modern and entrepreneurial perspective she disregards the social norms of the time and goes out to get what she wants. I see that too in CVs I get from people who tell me, I know I don’t have any childcare experience, can you please help me build my CV to be a nanny. For those people, I am happy to see if I can help.