Claire’s recovery from COVID, moving day pains, Cadet’s upcoming graduation, how to look for red flags in a toxic work culture, and listener Q&A!
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This is Joy & Claire Episode 130: Moving Days and Graduations
Episode Date: June 9, 2022
Transcription Completed: August 6, 2022
Audio Length: 51:33 minutes
Notes: Check the name at 22 minutes, 26 seconds.
Joy: Hey guys, this is Joy.
Claire: And this is Claire. I’m here. I don’t have Covid anymore.
Joy: Oh man. And pregnancy is still ten months, right?
Claire: I’m not pregnant. Not pregnant. Not pregnant. Not pregnant.
Joy: That conversation and fight is still going on in the comments.
Claire: Still getting so mad at each other.
Joy: So mad at each other. The fighting that is going on in the comments.
Claire: And here’s the thing. Part of me is like, should I go through here and delete these trolls? No. At this point, we are at over 20 million views of that stupid reel. Who knows how many thousands of comments. I have not read a comment in weeks at this point. Every once in a while, I’ll look out of the corner of my eye and be like, “Look away! Look away!”
Joy: Yeah. “Pregnancy is ten months?????”
Claire: Pregnancy time is outside of time and space. It is however long you need it to be.
Joy: Especially with pregnancy women, you guys. What? Are you questioning a pregnant woman?
Claire: Infinite pregnant years. Like we were saying – I think I said this a couple weeks ago. By the time you’re in your third trimester, you can’t remember ever not being pregnant. So it doesn’t matter. Doesn’t matter. Anyway, moving on.
Joy: Yes, moving on. You got Covid. You’re better now.
Claire: I got Covid.
Joy: You had a real rough week.
Claire: Zero out of ten.
Claire: My vacation afterglow did not last. So when we last left our hero – being me – I was recording in my basement. I had Covid, but I didn’t know it yet, and the movers were coming any minute. So since then, I tested positive for Covid. Like 30 minutes after we finished recording that podcast episode, I drove to Walgreens, put on an N-95, bought myself a Covid test, took the test in the parking lot, and it was immediately positive. So I was like, what the hell do I do? The movers are at my house.
Joy: Right. You don’t want to put them at risk, so what do you do?
Claire: And I had been with Brandon for the last couple of days, and my kids are at my mom’s house. They’ve been there for two days because we’ve been packing. So what we ended up doing is we double masked with the movers there. We told them. We were like, hey, this is what the situation is. We’ll try to stay out of your way. We will both put masks on. We have masks if you want to wear them. And they were like, “No, we’re good.” They were young guys, so whatever. They can make their choices. They’re like, “We’re 23. This shit doesn’t matter.”
Joy: Things like this don’t happen to me.
Claire: Right. When you’re a 23-year-old guy, congratulations, you’re immune to everything.
Claire: Oh. This is a fun fact. One of our movers was Brandon’s dad’s personal trainer in Wisconsin.
Claire: What are the odds of that? So first of all, you guys need to know that Brandon and his dad are like body doubles.
Joy: They really are.
Claire: Brandon’s dad is like the 1980’s mustache version of Brandon. But they are body doubles. If you walked up to them from behind, you wouldn’t know which one was which.
Joy: The 1980’s mustache version of Brandon. [laughing] That’s so accurate. He has a great mustache.
Claire: He does. If you know Brandon’s dad and you meet Brandon, it’s like, “Wait a minute, you kind of look like this guy I know.” And also in our house we have a bunch of Wisconsin stuff. We have a bunch of New Glarus beer. Which if you’re from Wisconsin, you know how specific that is. New Glarus Brewing is this very locally well-known –
Joy: Or you’re Scott who is a total beer nerd.
Claire: New Glarus has a reputation, and you can only get it in Wisconsin. Every time Brandon’s family comes out, if they ever drive out, they bring us cases of New Glarus. Specifically, Spotted Cow is the more famous one, but we really like the Moon Man, which is the pale. It’s very delicious. So we have a couple boxes of that in the basement that they noticed. We have some Madison stuff around. And he was like, “Hey, how do you guys pronounce your last name again?” I was like, it’s Koch. He was talking to Brandon. He was like, “Are you from Wisconsin?” He’s like, “Oh yeah, I’m from outside a little town outside of Madison.” Over the course of the conversation, a couple of minutes go by and he’s like, “Do you know Jim Koch?” Brandon was like, “Uh, my dad is Jim Koch.”
Joy: I know him.
Claire: I know him. He raised me. Come to find that the foreman of our moving crew had been Brandon’s dad’s personal trainer at Middleton Lifetime Fitness or Anytime Fitness.
Claire: The smallest world moment ever. And was his trainer for a long time. To the point where this guy’s wife knew Brandon’s dad. I mean, this guy couldn’t have been more than 26 or 27. Anyway. It was just a very small world moment. I have Covid. Brandon is still feeling fine. He is still testing negative at this point. I ended up actually getting Covid pretty… I would say I had moderate Covid. I was not the person who had a sniffle, never would have known I was sick if I hadn’t tested. I felt like crap. I was so tired. I was so worn out. Sounded terrible. Was coughing a ton. I had a migraine. I was so worn out. Super sore throat. And I couldn’t do anything about it. My bed was in a truck. I couldn’t have sat down. My chairs were in a truck.
Joy: You can’t even be home comfortable because you don’t have a home right now.
Claire: Exactly. So I just took a crap ton of Tylenol and tried to push through it.
Joy: What did you take a shot of that morning?
Claire: Oh, the wellness shots? One of those apple cider vinegar cayenne shots. I was like, “It feels like I just drank the sun.”
Joy: You’re like, “I’m fine. I feel like I just drank the sun. I can go now.” That’s just a John Hay. Now we’re talking Jim Koch, John Hay.
Claire: Too many dads in this episode.
Joy: That’s a very John Hay thing to do.
Claire: It is. It is a very John Hay thing to do. But anyway, the moral of the story is, I got Covid. I tested positive for 12 days. I think the reason I tested positive for so long was because the first two days I took a bunch of Tylenol and just powered through it. Other people are like, “You can’t power through it. That’s how you get long Covid.” I don’t think I had true long Covid. I was worried about that for a couple of days where I was like, I am not getting better at all and it’s day 10. Yesterday was day 12. Today is day 13. I feel like day 12 I finally started to turn the corner. But that’s a long ass time to feel sick.
Joy: That’s a long time.
Claire: And we’re talking bone tired. By the time I get to the middle of the day, my brain fog is so bad I feel like I’m drunk. Today has been better. But on Tuesday, I was trying to work – because Monday was Memorial Day. Tuesday I was trying to work, and I got on a call. It was like I was watching myself from an out-of-body experience. I know I’m not making any sense.
Joy: Yeah, just like total brain fog.
Claire: Zero out of ten, don’t recommend. The kids did end up getting it, but they were sick for like a day. Brandon did end up testing positive. He probably felt sick for two or three days. My mom ended up testing positive. She’s on day four or five, but she was abs to get the antiviral, and that really helped. Somehow my grandpa has not tested positive yet. He’s the person who through all of this we’ve been the most worried about. Because he’s 95, you guys.
Joy: Oh yeah, he can’t get it.
Claire: Somehow, he has not gotten it. My mom has been isolating from him in their house. He has his own almost sort of apartment in the basement. And then the Sunday of moving weekend was my dad’s birthday, so we were supposed to go over there. Obviously, we didn’t do that, thankfully. So all things considered, and after everything we’ve been through, I got it at work. Just so annoying. So here I am saying –
Joy: Yeah, it wasn’t from the Mexico trip. It wasn’t from traveling.
Claire: No, it wasn’t from the Mexico trip. I know it was from work because I practically know who it was. A ton of people got it from this work meeting that I had been at.
Joy: Oh, did they know that they had it? Now I’m bitter.
Claire: No. They supposedly did not. I’m not positive, but I just have to –
Joy: I need to blame somebody.
Claire: I know. So after two years and change, finally happened. It was terrible. Zero out of ten.
Joy: Oh my gosh. Now I feel like I’m the last man standing.
Claire: You really are.
Joy: Now I just jinxed myself.
Claire: Yeah, you did.
Joy: I didn’t say it out loud though. But I still jinxed myself.
Claire: Hopefully not, because it’s not fun. So the thing about it that’s kind of the worst – obviously, it’s crappy. But we’re living in boxes, and I hate living in boxes so much. But I have had no energy. So I would have to unpack a box and then sit down for like an hour.
Joy: Oh yeah. Unpacking is the worst. Oh, it’s the worst.
Claire: It’s the worst.
Joy: I have a memory of when we moved into this house. Scott and I were a month away from getting married. I hate unpacking so much, and boxes were everywhere. Scott was like, “We need to unpack.” He is Mr. Do Everything Right Away. Put it all away right away. That’s just something that I tend to procrastinate. It’s kind of like what’s the plan for this came up. Because I would dilly dally and do things on my own timeline and be like, “What’s the plan for this?” And he got really mad that I wasn’t unpacking my clothes, and we got in the hugest fight. I remember just being like, “If this is what marriage is like, I don’t want any part of it.” Joke is on me because that’s what it’s like,
Claire: That is exactly what it’s like.
Joy: Still got married.
Claire: Here you are. We have been living out of boxes. We did the kitchen. That’s the most important part. We unpacked the kids’ room because they need a place to be.
Joy: They need their beds and their rooms. They need the routine.
Claire: They need the routine. Our room is still – we have some furniture. We ended up having to buy a bunch of furniture for our bedroom because our previous room was so tiny that we had one dresser that we shared and that was it. We didn’t have nightstands. So we bought some stuff and assembled that. But all of our clothes and a lot of our closet stuff is still in boxes. Most of our living room is still in boxes. Our basement is still in boxes. Our entire garage is front to back, side to side full of boxes. It just is the worst feeling in the world
Joy: Don’t you wish you could hire – well, I’m sure you could hire somebody.
Claire: You could. I looked into it. It’s like ten grand.
Joy: Oh. Oh, but I’d probably pay that if I had it.
Claire: Oh, one million percent. One million percent. At this point, I would pay that if I had that. If somebody wants to send me ten grand to hire an unpacker, my Venmo is… @clairehaykoch. Please Venmo me. I need help.
Joy: Oh my gosh. Wouldn’t that be funny if somebody did Venmo you. And while we’re at it, Venmo me so I can go meet Laird Hamilton and go on that trip.
Claire: If I had ten grand, what I actually would do is go on three more surf trips and just let Brandon unpack while I’m gone. Sorry Brandon, I love you.
Joy: Oh my gosh, that’s so funny. So you’re living in boxes. How is the new house? How is the old house?
Claire: The new house is great. So we’re recording a full week in advance on this episode, which is kind of a lot for us.
Claire: Right now, as of this date, is June 2. Our old house just went on the market today. The fact that we qualified for two houses still just blows my mind. Guys, mortgages are not real. When you see people who live in like 5-million-dollar houses, none of it’s real. They were like, “Yeah, sure, you can have a second house.” I was like, I don’t even buy the organic strawberries because they are $4.99, and you’re telling me I can just go buy another house.
Claire: Whose information are you looking at?
Joy: Money is fake. It’s all a conspiracy. QAnon everybody.
Claire: Words aren’t real. JK, JK.
Claire: JK. Except for real about the mortgages. So we’re selling our old house. We thought about keeping it because the lender said that we could. I was like, no, we can’t, we need that money. Our old house is so cute though. Now that it’s all clean and photographed, I’m like, oh, I want to live here.
Joy: I want to move back.
Claire: We were laying bed the other night and I was so overwhelmed, and I was like, “Can we just move back to our old house?” Brandon was like, “I mean, we could. Do you really want to?” I was like, “No, I guess not. But I like to think it’s a good option.” By the time you hear this, hopefully it will be under contract. Hopefully we will not be living in quite so many boxes. That’s my update.
Joy: Very good. Well because we’re recording a week in advance, it’s kind of annoying because the timeline for this is going to be real tight. So before this episode comes out, it will be very old news. Sorry if you can hear Joe and JT. Can you hear them? This is their prime play time after dinner, so they make a lot of noise out there. But Cadet is currently in team training. So yesterday, June 1, she entered into team training, which means she’s with a graduate class of seven other dogs. I think it’s eight total. They are starting training, which means all the applicants for hearing dogs that were chosen to go to this training are going through a week and a half of training with these dogs. Today, June 2, they did what’s called “pre-match” where the trainers match the applicants up with their dog, their prospective match. It’s a really special time. The whole staff comes out to the training room to see the pre-matches happen. So it’s really special. All the graduates sit in a circle –
Claire: And it’s very hush hush. I remember when you were in team training, you could not tell us who your dog was.
Joy: No, it’s super hush hush. You can’t say a word. I think I told Scott. Because I was like, “This is our dog.” I think hush hush for a lot of reasons, but mainly because within that week and a half, two weeks, a lot could change. Meaning the dog could have a reaction to this person. The person could not connect with the dog. It’s rare, but it happens. So they don’t want this person to all of the sudden be sharing on social media and then two days later something goes awry and they have to switch dogs. That’s usually why they have to keep it hush hush. They want to be able to observe the prospective graduate with the dog to make sure that it’s a good match. They are so good at matching dogs to people, but I think they just want to observe and make sure everything is going well, that the dog is comfortable, that the graduate is comfortable. And you guys, even though these dogs are so amazing, speaking as someone that went through the graduate team training, it’s really intimidating to be going through this training and be getting this amazing dog. That’s a lot of pressure to want to do a really good job. I remember feeling really scared when I first got JT. You’re sitting in the room with him and you’re trying to all of the sudden be like, now I’m a dog owner. And now I’m responsible for this amazingly trained dog. I think there’s just a lot of almost imposter syndrome. A couple of the people in my class, I remember the next day they were like, “I don’t know if I’m cut out for this.” I think it’s just this pressure that you have. You get over it pretty quickly because you realize, “I can do this. It’s fine.” But it’s a lot. I think they want to make sure everyone feels comfortable with this match. But anyway, when they do pre-match day, all the applicants are sitting in a circle and the trainers take the dog out and they bring it to the person, and they are like, “This is your dog.” I remember I was last. So everyone in my class got their dog match.
Claire: Oh no.
Joy: Well, no. Because the whole time, I was like, “I know it’s JT.” I may have told this story before on the Girls Gone WOD podcast like eight years ago, but I’ll tell it again. But when you’re going through class, they have the kennel set up at the front of the room. So the dogs are all in their kennels. And I’ll never forget JT just kept staring at me. He just kept staring at me. When I’d look away and be like, “What are you looking at, dog?” And he would always stare at me. I remember thinking, is that my dog? It was really cute because at the very end when they gave the second to last dog to their person and JT was left, I was like, “I knew it was you!” It was really sweet. I was so excited. It was so special. The whole staff that works on campus comes out to watch pre-match and watch the graduates match with their forever dog. It’s really cool to witness. Everybody kind of cries, and everybody gets excited. It’s just a really, really special time. So today is pre-match day, June 2. My hope is that we hear tomorrow, June 3, that she’s pre-matched. If she’s not – the reason I say that is most of the time, graduate classes go in with more dogs than applicants. That’s just because if something doesn’t work out, they have a backup dog to fill in and see if there’s a better match for somebody. So there’s always a chance that she won’t match, but I just have such a strong feeling that she will. So by the time this episode airs. all of this will be old news and you’ll probably hear that we’re either flying to San Diego or not. Because we booked our flights already. As of right now, that’s where we’re at as of this recording. Kind of the timeline is that we’ll get a call from Canine Companions about the pre-match and they’ll say, “We’ll let you know when it’s confirmed.” Again, that just means they have to give the trainers time to watch the teams work together, make sure it’s the best match for the dog and for the human. And then we would fly out to watch her graduate on Friday, June 10. I can’t believe it’s here.
Claire: Are you just imagining her being in the pre-match and her little cute self being trotted out?
Joy: Yeah. So June 1, they met all the dogs. Everybody rotates. You work with like five different dogs throughout the day, so they give you a bunch of different dogs. And they give you your dog you’re going to be working with. You just don’t know which one it is. So they rotate you through a bunch of different dogs. One will be obviously the dog that you’re going to be matching with, just to kind of see how you do. It’s all very deliberate and calculated how they do this. It’s pretty amazing. Soap box for one second. This is why I get annoyed with fake service dogs because I’m like, you have no idea how much time and effort goes into the work to match with the service dog. It’s an incredible amount of work and time and energy. The thing that I imagine is if she’s worked with this person, they may have already felt a connection to her. So she’s already met this person and they’re probably just meeting and she’s going to be super excited. I imagine she’s just a wiggly butt. She’s a different dog now, you know. She’s been through six months of professional training. I keep that in mind. When we’re going to meet her, it’s not the same dog that we dropped off. That picture that I posted on social media on June 1, Canine Companions posted her class, so I posted that on Instagram if you want to see it. Actually, no, it’s stories. But just pay attention today when you’re listening to this episode. Just watch social media because we’ll either be going out to California or not, depending on if she’s going to graduate with this person. So what graduation looks like is we will get to see her before graduation. We’ll get to reunite, get the wiggles out. Because she’ll see us, and she might be a little confused. They always have the dog and the puppy raisers meet before graduation. And then we’ll meet the new person, and they’ll have a ceremony where we take the leash and take Cadet over to the new person. They call it the hand off. It’s very emotional, and everybody cries.
Claire: Yeah, I bet.
Joy: I watched the most recent graduation, like the regular service dog graduation, not the hearing. They have a hearing dog training and a service dog training. I just watched the recent service dog graduation, and within five minutes I’m bawling. I’m like, oh geez, I’m not going to be able to handle this. I’m not going to be able to handle this. So yeah, it will be pretty special. But all of my puppy raiser friends are like, “It’s kind of an out of body experience” They’re like, it’s almost the same experience as when you get married or something really big in your life. You just kind of float the whole day because you can’t really wrap your head around what’s happening. It’s just so cool. This is what she wanted to do. That’s kind of how you have to think about it. I know it’s a dog, but these dogs are the ones that tell you what they want to do with their life. Amazing. So if you see a CCI dog – so dogs with Canine Companions are in blue vests. If you see a blue vest out in the world with an orange leash, that is a hearing dog. I just learned that. I didn’t know that about the orange leash. But now I have connected with a gal who I puppy sat – no, not puppy sat. I dot sat. She’s a graduate. But I connected with a girl who lives down the street from me who has a hearing dog. So I’m learning all these cool things about her dog because that is what Cadet is hopefully going to do. It’s really neat. All in all, ten out of ten recommend this experience.
Claire: Zero out of ten for Covid while moving. Ten out of ten for puppy raising. Every time I see a service dog, especially a CCI dog, I feel like I’m having a celebrity sighting.
Joy: That’s what everyone says. It very much is like a celebrity sighting. And you know what, puppy raisers love when you come up and say hi, so please don’t hesitate. I actually love meeting people when I’m with Joe or Cadet. I love meeting people who have a connection with Canine Companions. We were once at the mall with Cadet. Someone came up to us and was like, “Oh my gosh, I was a puppy raiser.” Don’t be too afraid to approach a puppy in training because honestly it’s really good practice for them too to be greeted and to not have an excitable greeting. Always ask the puppy raiser if you can pet them, but I always love it when people come up to me. I just don’t like when people walk by and try to pet your dog without asking. That’s kind of annoying.
Claire: I mean, don’t do that to an animal at all.
Joy: Don’t do that to an animal period –
Claire: Oh, I have to tell this story about Evie. So we have our kids pretty well trained, I guess you could say, to ask people if they can pet their dogs.
Joy: This is great.
Claire: So if we’re anywhere out – like if we’re on a trail. Or a lot of times it will happen when we’re walking to the park or if we’re at a restaurant or something. You have to go up and ask if you can pet the dog. Maxine sends me this text the other day. Evie was at dance class, and one of the other little girls, their mom or whoever brought their baby sibling with them. And Evie went up to the mom and said, “Can I pet your baby?” I told [UNCLEAR 22:26.10] that, and she was like, “Honestly, that’s how I feel around babies.” Like, “Hey, can I pet your baby? What do I do?” But the mom just laughed and was like, “Okay.”
Joy: That’s so cute. Most people are really good in public now. I have yet to see somebody do the drive by pet or touch them without permission. And parents are really cute. You should hear parents explain if their young kids are pretty young. “That’s a working dog.” It’s just so sweet. It’s a good teachable moment of seeing a dog in a vest. So overall, it’s super fun. I love it. And Joe is doing great, by the way.
Claire: Yay Joe. Okay, so we are going to do a little bit of Q&A. But first, let’s talk about our favorite sponsors, Ned.
Joy: Oh Ned. Oh you guys.
Claire: Those guys.
Joy: Here’s a little fun fact. I posted this on stories last night, and I truly, truly mean it. Sometimes I feel weird posting ad-related stuff because I want to be like, no, you guys, really truly. This is not something I’m just trying to be adsy about. But last night when I saw the picture of Cadet, I was so wired. I posted a bunch of stuff on social media, which makes me more wired because I want to see what people are saying. Like all of our friends responding to Cadet being in college – or team training. And I was so wired that I knew I had to wind down. I’m’ going to be so wired I’m not going to fall asleep. So I got into my medicine cabinet, pulled out the Ned, and used the Sleep Blend. Works perfectly. Totally calmed me down. That’s another real-life example of where it’s really helpful. Maybe you’re out late, you’re not a late partier. Maybe you’re in your 40’s and you don’t stay up too late, but you have a moment where you’re like, I just need to come home and calm down, Ned is a great product. So thank you, Ned, for being there for me when I needed to fall asleep last night.
Claire: And I like the Daily Blend, which is their full spectrum hemp. Obviously right now, there’s a lot of really hard stuff going on in the world. I feel like we don’t often try to provide a place where people can really disconnect because we think it’s important to not disconnect. But that’s what I’ve been really needing is a space to disconnect. So that’s what you guys are going to be getting on the podcast because I just can’t really go there. But I want to acknowledge that it’s been really, really hard for me lately. I haven’t been sleeping. The only thing that has helped to take the edge off has been being able to use my Ned CBD. Again, I know it sounds so adsy, but I am really grateful to have that as a tool. I don’t respond well to sleeping pills. I do take Ativan sometimes for true panic attacks. I haven’t gotten to that point. But I don’t respond well to stronger pharmaceutics that are sleep aids. Even over-the-counter things like Unisom really knock me out the next day. Using the CBD I feel like really takes the edge off enough for me to naturally be able to fall sleep, and I don’t feel any effects the next day. So that’s how I’m using it lately. A little bit less of a fun example, but I just want to acknowledge for anyone out there who is in that really tough mental space, I’m there with you. We love Ned as a tool in our toolbox. You can become the best version of yourself and get 15% off Ned products with code JOY. Go to helloned.com/JOY or enter code JOY at checkout. That’s helloned.com/JOY to get 15% off. Thank you, Ned, for sponsoring the show and offering our listeners a natural remedy for some of life’s most common health issues. And thank you listeners for supporting the brands that support our podcast.
Joy: Thank you, Ned. Can I start with an older question?
Joy: I think I posted something a couple months ago, and I keep forgetting to answer this question. But someone asked about career challenges. This question has been pushed out, kind of like in a toxic situation, much like what I went through. And their question is, what were some initial flags that I might have explained away or ignored but looking back now are signs. What did I do to get ahead of the issue that obviously didn’t work? Do I think there was a better way to handle it? Were there any warning signs? Was there someone who should have fought for you? Woah, that’s a hard one. Yes, damn it.
Claire: I have a less emotionally charged answer to this question.
Joy: Please begin. I actually am in a better place, to be honest.
Claire: I left a job a couple years ago. I was in an extreme, toxic overworking situation where the busier you were, the more glorified it was. The job was in the hospitality industry, so a lot of the employees worked in customer facing rolls. So there was not a corporate holiday policy because our busiest times were over the holidays. So if you wanted to take a holiday off, you had to take PTO. And there was this point of pride of how much work you could get done if you came in on Thanksgiving and Christmas. That should have been a huge red flag. I think the other really huge red flag that I recognize now looking back is we would have this annual department summit where people would get up and tell these stories about basically, every single one of them was like, “I hit rock bottom. I pulled myself up by my bootstraps.” Basically all the stories were about how they sacrificed everything to get back on track with their job. That was really the storyline that was glorified. This should be your number one priority. You are the only person who can help you.
Joy: You’re responsible for all your success?
Claire: Exactly. It’s you and you alone.
Joy: It sounds like an MLM.
Claire: It was toxic leadership, basically. It was toxic, conscious leadership where they tried to say, “You need to figure out how to be your own leader.” I’m a coordinator. So it was just very, very toxic.
Joy: I need guidance.
Claire: Right. If you had a struggle or a failing, it would turn around on you that you weren’t a good enough leader. You weren’t doing… it was very, very toxic. It was your fault that you had failed at this initiative, whatever it was, whether it was big or small. And looking back, they tried to use that as, “It’s up to you.” They thought it was motivational, and it actually was so toxic. I have this moment I remember – I think for me this was so much more distinctive than other people. I would go into my boss’ office every day and be like, “I’m drowning. Help me.” One day she finally looked at me and said, “Well Claire, you were the one who applied for this job.” I mean, talk about a moment where someone should have fought for me and was absolutely not willing to. She was under water. She was not getting any support. People were quitting left and right in out department, so this poor woman was working three or four jobs. I have empathy for what she was going through. But at the same time, that was a moment I will never forget of feeling like, oh wow, I am completely on my own. Not only am I completely on my own, but I am being made to think that I have done this to myself. For me, the only things I really tried – because to set the stage a little bit more, Miles was not even a year old. I was a brand new, first-time mom. This was my first job out of grad school. I really didn’t feel like I had many levers to pull, so really all I did was try to work harder. I lost hair. I developed heart palpitations. I became physically very unhealthy. But the only really solution presented to me was, “You just have to figure your way out of this, and you just have to work it out.” I think now I’m a lot more quick to set boundaries. That’s the number one thing I pride myself on in my job. I am not going to answer your email outside of work hours unless we have a pre-arranged agreement that that’s going to happen. I’m not going to put myself through Covid. I’m going to take my days off. I’m going to take my PTO. I’m not going to check my email while on vacation. All of these things that I think are so normalized. Of course you’re not going to check your email while on vacation, but it’s so normalized to do that kind of stuff. Or just answer an email real quick right as you’re getting into bed. I have come to the point of having gone through that toxic experience, it’s so hard for me to take things personally at work now. I mean that in a really positive way. Because I had to go through this gauntlet of being told everything was personal, I now realize that actually I’m doing a good job. If something is not working out, that is not a personal reflection on anything I’m doing or not doing.in a way that means something about who I am. It might mean I am not good at this thing that I’m trying to do, but it doesn’t mean that I am personally a bad leader or not trying hard enough. I think this goes back to a larger conversation we’ve been having a lot this year of me coming to this realization of I don’t want to have to try hard. I don’t have to give 110% all the time. That should not be the expectation. The expectation should not be going above and beyond for everything. That’s not sustainable. You can’t go above and beyond for everything. You can’t give 110% all the time. I don’t even think you can give 100% all of the time, if I’m being completely honest. At work. Not if you have other stuff going on in your life. I think that’s the biggest thing now that I really try to keep in perspective. I don’t want to ever get to that point again to where I was leaving it all at work and didn’t have anything else to give anyone else in my life.
Joy: And not taking things personal is a game changer.
Claire: Huge game changer. I know I’ve said this like a thousand times on the podcast. But there is a Hilary Clinton quote where she says, “Learn to take criticism seriously but not personally.” Learning that distinction is so critical. The other big one is control what you can control, which is so buzzy. But it’s really true. I think the important part about that is recognizing – I think some people here, you think “control” and they think, quick, run around and grab everything so you can control all of it. And really what it means is be okay with the stuff that you do not have control over.
Joy: Right. Let go of the stuff that you can’t control.
Claire: Right. Don’t turn that around and try to use it to control everything. Use that piece of wisdom to actually let go of control and acknowledge the things that you have to just let happen. Like supply chain issues or whatever.
Joy: Right. Well I’m going to keep mine short because I feel like I’m at a point right now I realized, as of yesterday, I don’t know if I want to talk about this anymore. I think it’s because I hit the year mark. And also just a very random fact of one of the benefits that they gave me when I left – Sandy always tells me, “Careful of what you say because the words you say is the story you tell yourself.” I try not to be bitter when I talk about it. One of the benefits in the severance package that I got is that I got a year of health insurance, which I was so grateful for. But it ended on June 1. I think when I talked about this previously too is that I had strings attached to the company still, so I was very worried about saying anything because they could be jerks and they could probably come after me. So as of June 1, I was like, oh my gosh, I’m finally free. I have no ties to them whatsoever. Not that I’m going to be lashing out, bashing. Because I’m kind of over it. I cut up the insurance cards. I put them in the trash. I was like, oh my gosh, this feels really big. I’m done. I’m done, I’m done, I’m done. So just in a quick nutshell of the red flags is that I remember trying to change a culture and trying to do it in a way where I was going to senior leadership and either expressing concerns or trying to show ways to improve and work with people who are so, so talented. And their response was very punitive and negative, and that was so devastating. A lot of it was a lot of lip service, so much lip service, zero action. That was a red flag. As far as getting ahead of the issue, I think what I tried to do a lot of times – and this was my fault is I would be a kiss ass and I would try very hard to make alliances because the culture was so messed up that you kind of had to make alliances to get by. So that was me trying to get ahead of the issue, but it would also backfire because that is not an honest and truthful way to go about it. I was not being honest with myself. And I knew that I was playing some of this game, which I think on some level, to survive in a place like that you have to do that. Not recognizing of how messed up that was is also when you’re in it and you’re spinning, it’s hard to recognize that that is what you are doing. So that didn’t work. It never worked. I also was in a middle management position, and middle managers have the pressure from the top and the pressure from the bottom. You’re constantly in this pressure sandwich where upper management would always say, “Well, it’s your responsibility, Joy. You need to take care of this with your team.” But they would never take accountability. I was always left with zero support from the top, having to execute something to my team and they’re just pissed off at the top, and the top would be pissed off at me because I didn’t handle it appropriately according to them. Which yes, I did. As far as warning signs when I was interviewing, absolutely not. Because everyone kind of presents their best self when they are interviewing, so I don’t think so. I think you should ask as an interviewee, you should ask a lot of really directed questions about the culture. I did that with my current workplace. I said, tell me about the culture. What is it like? I had three or four interviews, and I asked every single time. They all had great, glowing things to say that I felt were genuine. So I would say when you’re interviewing, ask directed questions about culture. As far as someone who should have fought for me, no. Because it was such a messed-up culture, I don’t think anyone in the top, I wouldn’t want them on my side. Looking back. Should they have fought for me? Maybe. Maybe, if they would have recognized all the great work that I did there. But no, they made that choice. And there is a part of me that is… let’s put it this way. They had to deal with the consequences of losing me. There was a lot of negative consequences of losing me. And that, to me, is a little bit of karma.
Claire: Yeah. Really validating.
Joy: Yeah, it was.
Claire: Alright, let’s do a couple shorter, fun questions. I mean, it’s just long.
Joy: Yeah. Rapid fire.
Claire: If you could dye your hair any color, what would it be? I think we’ve answered this one before, but I would go white, platinum blonde.
Joy: You want platinum. How is the wig situation? Have you had more information about that?
Claire: Oh, great question. I still am very interested in it. I have a couple accounts now that I follow. They are so expensive. And I knew this, right? They are like $1000+. The idea is a little bit on hold since we just bought a house.
Claire: But it still very much is on my radar. What about you? Pink?
Claire: Because your hair is curly.
Joy: Because my hair is curly pink. I just like pink. It’s more about what looks good on me. I don’t think any other color has – I like platinum, and I like pink.
Claire: Would you rather be a contestant on Love is Blind, The Ultimatum, or MAFS? What is that? Married at First Sight. Never seen any of those shows. That’s not true. I watched like one episode of Love is Blind.
Joy: I think you would be better at Love is Blind because you would sniff out any bullshit, and you’d be good at that. You wouldn’t be the person that’s falling hard for somebody behind a wall.
Claire: Definitely not.
Joy: You’d be like, “How do you feel about climate change?”
Claire: Yeah, no, I would not.
Joy: I don’t know, let me think. Probably Love is Blind. Because Married at First Sight, you’re putting your faith into these experts to pick somebody for you. I don’t know. I’d rather do Love is Blind. It’s still a blind date.
Claire: If you could create a holiday, what would it be? It would definitely be around baking or camping. But I feel like a camping holiday, then there would be no good camping spots left. Pie Day is a good one. Maybe Bread Day.
Joy: Bread Day. But that’s kind of like a lot with Donut Day.
Claire: I know. But I don’t know, is there a Bread Day? If there is a Bread Day, then I would like to expand the celebration of Bread Day. It doesn’t get enough media. I would like a bread parade. I would like to be crowned Miss Bread 2022.
Joy: I could see you doing a parade where the float is just a huge bowl of soup and you’re surrounded by –
Claire: Oh, what about a bread bowl of soup?
Joy: There you go. And then you’re surrounded by pieces of bread. You are actually bathing in the soup.
Claire: I’m in a hot tub of soup? I could see that happening. Especially because I hate hot tubs because I think it’s people soup.
Joy: You do. But if you’re in soup, is it the same?
Claire: It’s fine. That would be fine. That’s acceptable.
Joy: If you’re surrounded by soup, that is the loophole.
Claire: Then I don’t have to have the mental dissonance. Do you have one?
Joy: Well the first one that came to mind is a half birthday because I love birthdays so much. I know we joke about half birthdays. People will be like, “That’s my half birthday,” or maybe we actually do A Very Merry Unbirthday from Alice in Wonderland. I would really like to make that happen. And then the other one was probably just around a party where you can wear sequence.
Claire: There you go. Strawberry or grape jelly. Strawberry.
Claire: I don’t like the texture of grape. It’s too gelatinous.
Joy: Yes. Agreed.
Claire: If you could switch lives with someone for one day, who would it be?
Joy: I really want to know what Jennifer Aniston’s house is like.
Claire: Oh, that’s a funny answer.
Joy: I just am so curious what her house is like. And she has dogs. I want to play with her dogs.
Claire: I think I would pick someone who has some amazing physical talent.
Joy: Of course you would. I pick Jennifer Aniston.
Claire: Yeah, and I’m like, I would want to do back flips or something.
Joy: Or be like Kevin Durant where you’re just one of the best basketball players.
Claire: Yeah. Or an amazing rock climber.
Joy: Oh yeah.
Claire: Or like Tia-Claire Toomey who is incredible at CrossFit. Something like that. I would want to experience a day in the life of someone who is incredibly good at some physical skill.
Joy: Yeah, that’s a really good one.
Claire: What is your favorite popsicle or frozen treat flavor? “I love orange popsicles,” says this person.
Joy: Good for you.
Claire: I do like an orange popsicle. We make popsicles for my kids with orange juice and coconut milk, and it’s like a creamsicle situation.
Joy: Alright. Well I don’t love popsicles because they hurt my teeth. So I’m going to go with an ice cream sandwich.
Claire: Oh, I love ice cream sandwiches. I would go with that too actually. A good ole fashioned ice cream sandwich where the cookie on the outside comes apart in your fingers.
Joy: Have you had one from Sweet Action yet? Did you ever go to Sweet Action?
Claire: Yes. Yes, I did. Here’s my thing.
Joy: Uh oh, too big.
Claire: Too big. How am I supposed to eat this? It’s frozen solid.
Joy: You have to leave it out for a little bit. There’s a little bit of work in preparation.
Claire: You have to unhinge your job.
Joy: Yeah, you do. It’s true. These are ones you can’t just pick it up and eat it on the street. You do have to take it home, leave it out for a little bit. There’s a little prep work.
Claire: That’s delayed gratification. I want the one that’s at the gas station that’s a little flat rectangle.
Joy: Yeah, and the paper.
Claire: The paper.
Joy: Just unwrap. Oh, those are so good. I want one right now. So good. What was the place – Sweet Cow? That we went to on 32nd and Lowell? And they have… is it the pretzel cones?
Claire: Oh yeah, those are so good. So good.
Joy: So good.
Claire: I love Sweet Cow. Longmont is getting a Sweet Cow.
Joy: That’s great.
Claire: That’s how we know Longmont has arrived.
Joy: Yes, it has arrived.
Claire: Carrot cake with or without raisins and nuts? I would say yes nuts, no raisins.
Joy: Hmm. I’ll say go ahead and throw it all in. I don’t have a strong opinion. These questions are so funny.
Claire: I love it. This person in all caps, “WHICH BEAR IS BEST?” I also have to say most of these questions are from April, so thanks for hanging in there with us.
Joy: Oh, thank you.
Claire: Which bear is best?
Joy: I’m going to have you answer this because I don’t know enough about bears.
Claire: Yeah, I have a lot of opinions about bears. I love a grizzly bear. I love a good ole fashioned brown bear standing in the creek eating salmon. Number one. Number two, got to be pandas. Right? Has to be. Number three, I think we’ve got to go with polar bears because their cubs are so cute. And that concludes my top three bears.
Joy: Thank you. I’m going to agree.
Claire: Do you concur?
Joy: I concur.
Claire: Great. Let’s see here.
Joy: Oh, I have a question. This came up last week. Did you have a high school snack that you ate every day?
Joy: Did you?
Claire: I was so obsessed with Cheetos.
Joy: Not at home, but at school?
Claire: At school. There was a vending machine. And also, we had a snack stand that was run by the PTO that was at the front of the school. It would open at 2. I think the school probably got out at 3. They made these fresh baked cookies – you made them in a toaster oven. I ate so many of those.
Joy: Oh my gosh, that’s amazing. I think back to all the junk.
Joy: Oh my gosh, our bodies were so young and –
Joy: Steel. My buns, they ain’t nothing…
Joy and Claire: They don’t feel nothing like steel.
Joy: Oh rest in peace Brittany Murphy. I in junior high used to eat – well this is because the popular girls recommended it. It was the chocolate shake. You dip your fries into the chocolate shake.
Claire: Oh, I love that. I still do that to this day.
Joy: But the cool girls were doing it, so I was like, I guess I need to do it.
Claire: Fun fact. At Wendy’s, you can order a kid’s Frosty. And it’s a Dixie cup full of Frosty that’s just enough for fry dipping.
Joy: Oh perfect. So that trend, it’s still going on? It’s still a popular trend with the kids?
Claire: It’s still a popular trend with the kids. I would know. Because I am a kid.
Joy: And then in high school, they used to sell these amazing cinnamon rolls that were just pure frosting. Oh my gosh, I’d get those after cheer practice. Great way to recover.
Claire: Yeah, you’ve got to replenish those glycogen stores.
Joy: Yeah. And then sophomore year, every day at lunch I would get a Snicker’s bar and a Diet Coke. Or Diet Coke… geez, who am I? Dr Pepper. I’m trying to think of all of the – I had many snacks to choose from. And then when we’d go after school to the gas station, I would get a raspberry lemonade with Hot Tamales and drink it. This huge, huge raspberry lemonade – no, raspberry iced tea.
Claire: I was going to say, it’s probably Arizona iced tea.
Joy: It was raspberry iced tea. I would get this huge cup and rink the whole thing and eat the Hot Tamales and wonder why I had such a bad stomachache. It was just a big sugar bomb. I’d be like, why does my stomach hurt?
Claire: It’s just a mystery. Isn’t that also amazing?
Joy: You just don’t know. You’re like, ugh, I don’t feel good.
Claire: I’m severely lactose intolerant. And my whole childhood – I once was evaluated for stomach tumors. No one thought to be like, “Hey Claire, maybe it’s because you’re dinking a half a gallon of milk every day.” It was just a huge mystery until I was in high school. I feel like we did recently talk about high school candy because I remember talking about Nerds Ropes.
Joy: Yes. Mine was circus peanuts.
Claire: Speaking of snacks, preferred road trip snacks? Salty or sweet, or do you buy one of each kind? Road trip snacks… love slaty. And then sometimes I’ll get some chocolate maybe. I’m not a big gummy person, apart from the Nerds Ropes era. But I have some salty snacks and a little bit of chocolate.
Joy: I’m probably like a pretzel person. Pretzels or peanut butter filled pretzels.
Claire: Oh, I love peanut butter filled pretzels. Those are the best road trip snack.
Joy: Yeah. Really good. Really filling, but you could eat a million of them. Which by the way, it was funny. Somebody asked when I posted a meal the other day – from Thrive Market, I ordered this Wild Planet tuna, and they have these little tuna cans that are tuna pasta or whatever. It just has these yummy mixes of flavors.
Claire: Like a tuna salad?
Joy: Yeah, but they’re tiny. And someone posted, “Is it filling?” And I wanted to be like, does it matter? We don’t need to be worried about if it’s filling. I’m not eating a 250-calorie snack to be full. [laughing]
Claire: I guess if you were the type that’s really lacking on filling snacks and you’re like, maybe this is a filling snack I could grab.
Joy: Sure, that’s true. But it was just funny because I’m like, we don’t need to… no. Are we done?
Claire: We do have one kind of bigger question, and I think we need to talk about it for a second. I know we said it during the ad that we weren’t really going to talk about this. But somebody says, “How do you stay positive with everything that’s been happening for the last 3+ years?” I think there is no easy answer, and that’s why I wanted to answer this question. There is no right or wrong way, and there’s no single thing. Trying things and seeing what moves the needle in a positive direction, verses moves the needle in the opposite direction. That’s just kind of been the way that I’ve been approaching it. Because also, sometimes something that feels positive in one season might feel really counterproductive or really exhausting. I think back to right before the 2020 election, I was hitting it super hard on Instagram with abortion – I was getting into it in the comments with people and DMs, trying to advocate for abortion rights and trying to spread information. Similarly when the vaccines first came out. I would get into it. And that felt good to me. It felt productive. It felt like I’m using my voice. And now I’m in a phase where I can truly barely be on Instagram at all. I can barely interact with people. I can barely talk about this stuff on the podcast right now. There’s a lot that goes into that ebb and flow of what you can tolerate. I think the main thing is to honor that and not let anyone else dictate expectations for how you show up.
Joy: I think what happens is you don’t want to get to a point – and I said this before – to where you’re so overwhelmed that you’re not helpful. So if you need to take a step away, take a step away from social media. Take a step away from the things that are draining your battery, so that you can be a full-functioning human and be there for your friends, your family. Where you do have an impact and then you maybe can put your energy towards a cause that you’re actually passionate about. That’s where you should focus. It’s really important that we don’t get to the point of numb, overwhelm. I never want people to say, “Oh. I just can’t read the news. I can’t look at that stuff.” We have to at some point know what’s going on so that you can take action. You also don’t need to get so overwhelmed that you short circuit and give up. That’s a scary place to be. That is my hope when I talk to people about this. Do what you need to recharge your battery, but don’t get to a point where you’re overwhelmed. I noticed that when the election was going on in 2020. I was so drained because I was fighting pointless arguments. That’s battery draining, and it does nothing. So what is productive and where you spend your energy, it’s important to look at that. It’s not necessarily that you have to be positive, because it’s a very overwhelming place to be in the world right now. And recognizing that. But we also have to take care of ourselves so that we can, just with anything else, so that we can make changes and we can put energy towards the causes that we’re passionate about.
Claire: Alright guys. On that note, I think that wraps us up for this week. Thanks so much for being here. You can follow us on Instagram @joyandclaire_. You can find us on our beautiful new website, joyandclaire.com. You can email us firstname.lastname@example.org. Don’t forget to check out our sponsor, Ned. That’s helloned.com/JOY or use code JOY for 15% off. We love all of their products. They third-party test. They are really just a wonderful tool to have in your toolbox to help support mental health and be your best self. Thanks for supporting the brands that support our podcast. Thank you so much for being here. Thank you for listening. Just thank you guys for being wonderful. And we will talk to you next week.
Joy: Bye, guys.