Some people my think of Katherine Heigl as a prima donna but I like her. I like the way she gets what she wants at work. I really like the way she's been able to branch out beyond television at the same time she has become a mom. I think there's a lesson in there for the rest of us.
Heigl, who plays Izzie on Grey's Anatomy, is about to come back to set of the TV series after taking a three-month maternity leave to bond with her 15-month old daughter. Heigl adopted 10-month-old baby Naleigh on Sept. 10. Earlier this season, she took five weeks off to film the romantic comedy Life As We Know It— Heigl also returned to the set this week. People.com TV watch
Heigl earned audience respect for her outstanding performances on the show and in movies. At the same time, she has been outspoken. Last summer, she mentioned to David Letterman about returning to the Grey's set: "Our first day back was Wednesday and it was - I'm going to keep saying this because I hope it embarrasses them - a 17-hour day, which I think is cruel and mean." This is all kinds of rumors out there that Heigl caused the long day by appearing on Letterman. Regardless, she's one of the few celebrity moms who has ever complained publicly about long work days. She's a new mom. I don't blame her for feeling like a 17-hour day is difficult. She's not the first new mom who's had to endure it.
I recently was given this advice by a workplace expert: "You can speak up about long days but you have to explain to your boss why it's better for him/her for you to go home. Suggest that if you tackle whatever you are working on from a fresh perspective in the morning, the work product will be much better."
Clearly, if you are good at what you do, you can speak up. Heigl has earned audience respect. Her bosses at Grey's know that. She can get away with a little bit more than someone who isn't a good performer. So, to Heigl, I say, you go girl, show people how it's done. Show them you can speak up, take a maternity leave, pursue other bigger things, and still be in command of your career.
So what do you think? Is Heigl a diva, reminiscent of someone in your workplace? Or is she an employee with a legitimate complaint?