Happy June! We review last week’s episode and the age factor, Joy’s life changes, thinking about what’s next, discovering your identity, staying true to what you really want, the definition of success and toxic positivity.
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This is Joy & Claire Episode 77: Just Because You Can Doesn’t Mean You Should
Episode Date: June 3, 2021
Transcription Completed: June 18, 2021
Audio Length: 55:46 minutes
Joy: Hey guys. This is Joy.
Claire: And this is Claire.
Joy: This is Joy and Claire. Happy June.
Claire: Oh my gosh.
Joy: Memorial Day has come and gone.
Claire: Yes. And here we are shocked to find ourselves in June. I just feel like April didn’t happen at all. So even though May felt like it took a while, I’m still catching up from the fact that April didn’t feel like it happened.
Joy: Yeah. We had – not to talk about the most exciting thing in the world, the weather, but we had the crappiest weekend weather-wise. And normally you associate Memorial Day weekend with sunshine, getting outside, and just happy things.
Claire: Pools opening.
Joy: Yeah. Kind of the cusp of summer. And that was not it at all. We were inside for two days because it poured rain.
Claire: Poured rain, which it never does.
Joy: Never ever. But I’m going to go ahead and say it for everybody that I’ve ever heard in any state is, we need the moisture.
Claire: Oh my gosh.
Joy: I feel like no matter where you live, everyone says we need the moisture. Maybe not like Seattle.
Claire: Well maybe less so in the Pacific Northwest and east of the Mississippi River.
Claire: If you live west of the Mississippi River, you probably need the moisture.
Joy: You probably do need the moisture, yeah. So here we are. I hope everybody liked the episode from last week. We have been partnering with an amazing company called Scouts Agency. It’s female-run. Their whole mission is to get females on podcasts. So, we’ve had some really great guests that we normally wouldn’t have, and I just love their mission and I love that they are putting women out there that are doing great things. So hopefully you’re loving these interviews.
Claire: Gaby was really sweet. So, we’ll get into Joy’s big life change, which we’ve talked a little bit about.
Joy: What are you talking about Claire?
Claire: No big deal. NBD. But Joy’s big life change, the change occurred like an hour before that interview was supposed to start.
Joy: Yeah. And we had already rescheduled with Gaby before because of something else that came up, and I was like, we can’t reschedule again.
Claire: So, I just kind of –
Joy: You did a great job running solo.
Claire: It was fun. She was great. She was super easy to talk to. I maybe wasn’t as prepared as I could have been. For example, not knowing who Amy Astley was.
Joy: Come on.
Claire: Joy was editing it. She was like, “Claire, how did you not freak out about that?” I don’t know who that is.
Joy: I’m like, “She worked for Amy Astley? Oh my God, she was on The Hills. Hello, Teen Vogue.”
Claire: I was like, if you guys are about to get this reference from literally our second episode, I’m really impressed. The time that Joy asked me if I like Pat Benatar, and I was like, “Oh, him.”
Joy: Who is he?
Claire: Who is he? I don’t think I know him.
Joy: It’s like I’m clueless. I’m like, “Do you like Billie Holiday.” She’s like, “I love him.”
Claire: That’s exactly what it was. It was the exact same, yeah. So anyway, yeah. Gaby was great. Here we are.
Joy: Here we are.
Claire: And that interview also made me kind of think, maybe we should be talking – I mean, I feel like we talk about mental health a lot. But I feel like I’m hearing – and maybe it’s just the younger generation, I don’t know. Again, I’m not… whatever. But I just hear still so much, no one is talking about this. I kind of feel like people are talking about it. Maybe it’s just because I’m talking about it a lot.
Joy: Or maybe it’s the way that we’re talking about it. Maybe it’s the social media… I mean, a post isn’t going to do it. But maybe as a podcast or with your friends even. I think that’s a different context of how you’re talking about it.
Claire: Yeah, I don’t know. I mean, we talk about it on the podcast almost every single week. At least, I feel like we do. Maybe we need to be more…
Joy: Maybe we need to be more in depth of how we’re talking about it.
Joy: Because I can appreciate that as well. There’s just such a surface-level way to talk about mental health. And just because you’re mentioning it doesn’t mean you’re getting into the weeds with it. But I also really appreciated that she was of a younger generation and how much I… I think we all make assumptions about people older than us or people younger than us and I just really thought she was very well spoken, very smart obviously. I think people in their 20’s, they’re the people that I think are going to change the world because they’re just so passionate. They get it. They really, really get it.
Claire: I think it’s interesting too when she was like, “Yeah, I’m too young to be taken seriously.” I remember feeling that way.
Claire: And now I feel like I’m almost to the point where I’m too old to be taken seriously. I don’t have TikTok. I don’t know whatever any of this stuff is.
Joy: You said you got your news from LinkedIn.
Claire: I get my social media news from LinkedIn. That’s the social media platform I spend almost the most time on.
Joy: Yeah, but you do that for work, right?
Claire: Yeah, it’s part of my job. But all that to say that I had that moment during the podcast that you all heard where I was like, I don’t think I ever had an age where I was like, I am the correct age to be taken seriously now.
Joy: It’s very true.
Claire: I went straight from “I’m too young” to “I’m too old.”
Joy: Yeah, and it’s also who you’re working with. Because for the longest time I was the youngest person on the team. And then you kind of start to measure up to whoever else you’re working with. “Oh, how old are you? Oh, well I’m older than you.” “Oh, then I’m younger than you.” And it kind of seems to always be this unspoken thing in the workplace. Yeah, when you’re older, it is interesting. I’ll see people who are coming into my workspace and they’re younger, and you automatically have this thing of, well… not “what do they know” per se. But almost like, “Well, I hope they can handle it here” or something of that nature where I think if anything, younger people have more stamina, and they haven’t been tumbled around in the businesses.
Claire: Right, they’re not as jaded.
Joy: Exactly. But I remember that. I remember being a 25-year-old therapist and working with families and teens, and the parents would be like, “You look as old as my teenager. Why are you doing therapy with my kid?”
Claire: Right. I got married, not super young, but I was – how old was I when I got married?
Joy: Oh, 26? Oh my gosh.
Claire: I think I was 28 when Miles was born.
Joy: Right, you were 28 when you had Miles, that’s right.
Claire: So not crazy early. I didn’t get married when I was 14 or something. I was definitely younger.
Joy: But this day and age, probably younger than your friends.
Claire: I was one of the first people in my friend groups to get married. I was by far the first person in my friend group to have kids. So, because of that, even though I am a similar age to a lot of people that I work with, I am in a very different life stage than they are. Most of them are, if they’re married, they’re recently married. Most of them don’t have kids or are just starting to have their first kid. So that sometimes makes me feel like I’m going to go home to my two kids that I have to feed, and I will get to work, or I’ll start my day and I’ve already lived a whole day trying to get the kids ready, or I’ve been up since 5:30 because the dog threw up or whatever.
Joy: Don’t you love waking up to barf? That’s my favorite way to wake up is either cat puke, dog puke, someone’s puke.
Claire: Someone’s puke. I remember seeing something. I think it was that account @semi_rad. I know I’ve sent his posts to you before. Ones that are all the outdoor comic and infographics. And it was like, “Why hasn’t somebody created an alarm clock that sounds like a dog getting ready to throw up because I never get out of bed faster than when I hear that sound.”
Joy: It’s so true. It is so true. I’ve seen a similar meme of that sort where they’re like, “Nothing gets me out of bed like a ninja than…”
Claire: Right, like hearing a cat about to throw up.
Joy: Ugh, yeah. Yeah.
Claire: Anyway, so it was a great interview. It was interesting to reflect on always having some reason to doubt yourself.
Joy: Yes. And that you don’t necessarily grow out of that just because you get older. I think as you get older, you definitely gain more confidence, and you care less about things, which is very liberating. I’m speaking for myself – I wasted a lot of time in my 20’s worrying about stupid stuff or caring about what people thought about me. Because I think you’re at that age where you’re just trying to prove yourself, so you’re constantly wondering where you stand. With age, that really goes away. That’s amazing. Or building your confidence is really good. But you never really just completely are like, “I made it here, I’ve arrived.” It just never happens.
Claire: No. Sometimes I still feel like, oh, I’m not being taken seriously because the people here think that I should know this already.
Claire: Yeah. You’re damned if you do. You’re damned if you don’t. If you are successful by 25, then it’s a fluke or whatever. If you’re successful at 55, you should have been successful sooner. There’s no way to win.
Joy: I was thinking about this with some of the celebrity interviews I’ve been listening to as well lately. Child actors, for example. Working since they were a kid and how much that messes with you, really not having a childhood. I think it was Demi Lovato, who by the way is amazing and she has a new podcast that I really, really like. I think it’s called 4D. I’m sure if you’ve searched any podcast, it’s one of the top charts right now. But she talks a lot about that, of how being a child famous person or actor or singer.
Claire: Child famous person.
Joy: Child famous person. Because she was on, what? What was that dinosaur? The singing dinosaur. Barney, she was on Barney.
Claire: Oh. I was like, there’s so many dinosaurs. You did not narrow it down at all.
Joy: The one. The first one. And so, she talks a lot about that and how that shaped her. How you learn to appreciate money at that age. But at that age, you’re too young to really deal with your money, so your parents are dealing with your money, but you’re making the money. And you’re all of the sudden becoming the breadwinner of the family. How weird would that be? To be the breadwinner at 9. Very bizarre.
Claire: That sounds great. I need to sign Miles up for acting classes. He’s already very dramatic.
Joy: Great. Let’s just channel that energy.
Claire: And Evie loves dancing.
Claire: I’m going to be making money.
Joy: You’re on your way.
Claire: I need to start a TikTok or something.
Joy: You should.
Claire: I’m too old.
Joy: So, age is nothing but a number, I guess?
Claire: So, on the topic of wondering what we’re doing with our lives, you had a big change. You talked about it a little bit on Instagram. We’re not going to get too far into the details, but more so the “what now.”
Joy: What now.
Claire: Give us the high level, the very high level of what happened.
Joy: Yeah. I’m going to give you the high level. Maybe in ten years I’ll give everyone the full story, if we’re still podcasting then. But just for the respect of a lot of things, I won’t be sharing what brought me to this decision. But you know my career as a therapist has been 20-some years. I recently went through a reorg. If you’ve never heard that term or been in the business world, reorg is essentially you have a management structure and then they just wipe it out. They’re like, we’re going to wipe out this structure and we’re going to redo it. The long and short of it is I made the decision, and I left the job. That was a series of a lot of things, but mainly just coming to the realization that this was no longer in alignment with what I wanted. I have been kind of thinking about different paths for the past two years but just never took it seriously because I kind of chose comfort over taking a risk.
Claire: And then there was COVID and nobody, you know.
Joy: Absolutely. That’s the last thing. I was like, oh my gosh, it’s the most secure job. You just kind of go to that place of security. So, I’m no longer with my job. My last day was Friday. And I’m terrified. I have no plan. What I’ve been thinking a lot about is how much I’ve had a plan my entire life. I know everyone’s like, you don’t have a plan, life just kind of throws you curve balls. But for the most part, my life’s been pretty safe and secure. I play it safe. As a person, I just play it safe. I’m not one to throw caution to the wind and sell my things and go live in a van. While that sounds wonderful, it’s just not my personality type. I’ve been thinking a lot too just kind of prefacing everything I’m about to say or have been saying is “good for you, not for me” to quote Amy Poehler’s book.
Claire: Yeah, you’re not somebody who finds… well, we’ve talked about this so much. You are a creature of habit. You thrive on routine. You are not somebody who feels necessarily liberated by the concept of just getting up every morning and doing whatever you want to do. That to you is stressful, not relaxing.
Joy: Exactly. So, I have been thinking so much about that piece of how I from college to grad school to graduating grad school, really the only time that I felt this level of fear – and fear’s not the right word, but uncertainty – where I just had to trust that something was going to work out. For example, when I graduated from grad school, it was oddly enough the exact, to the day, in 2003 of what I’m going through right now. I remember I had the summer off. June, July, August. I was like, alright, I’m going to give myself three months to get a job. After grad school, you’re just kind of scrambling. I didn’t have a job. I was wondering where I was going to live. All my roommates were moving on, everyone was moving on. And I remember just being so panicked that every single day – this may sound cheesy, but the sis 2003 Joy. I read The Purpose Driven Life. I was at a bookstore. I saw The Purpose Driven Life on top of a stack of books. And I picked it up, and I was like, I think I want to read this. I was so lost and scared that I needed some type of anchor. And that book saved me because it had just one day devotionals of what to focus on. It wasn’t super spiritual or religious, but it was enough to get me anchored to something to where I was taking it one single day at a time. And that I will always remember because when you’re in this moment – I’m having deja vu of that same time in my life – that when I’m in this moment of I don’t know what’s next, I just have to anchor myself every single day to be like, alright, what can I control today. And that’s this thought. Or it’s, I’m going to focus on “this” thing. So after grad school and I got a job, I worked for 11.5 years and then I moved into another job. For the past 20 years of my life, I’ve had a predictable job. And when I left my previous job, I had another job lined up, you know. So in this instance, it’s the first time in my life where… significantly, I’m not talking about college because that’s different – but in my adult career life where I’ve had no plan. It’s really scary, and there’s a lot more to how this all happened. But what it came down to was I really need to focus on what is going to make me happy. The other path wasn’t going to make me happy, even though I maybe thought it might or that might have been the more secure path. It is terrifying and I think for the first time in a long time being able to be like, what do I really want. I felt this expansion when this all went down of, oh, I get to define who I am. Because for the past 10-15 years, I’ve been doing what’s responsible and what’s expected, almost like the outer expectations. If we’re going to talk about four tendencies, kind of like they say about – what is it, the one that I am? The obliger.
Claire: Yeah. Where you’re a rule follower.
Joy: I’m a rule follower. I’ve been obliging my whole life.
Claire: That provides security.
Claire: I think when we think about rule following or doing “what’s expected,” we hear that talked about so much in social media of the hustle culture. “Don’t just do what’s expected of you. Break free from the path.” And blah blah blah. It’s like, you know what, there’s a reason most people do that because that security feels really good, and it is really good. And also, having an opportunity to take a step back and realize what would life look like without that.
Joy: Yeah. So, it’s almost kind of just stepping out of this shell that I’ve worn. And I’m not saying that it wasn’t me, but I started to really notice that there were things that weren’t making me happy anymore. And it was me recognizing this. I had a really great growth during my time there. I tried very hard and I heard some people kind of messaging where you kind of feel like you’re doing the square peg round hole scenario where I tried very hard to fit in or infiltrate something that just wasn’t fitting me and vice versa. It’s painful, and I had a very hard time with it. I’m nervous. I’m scared. I’m emotional. And my rule for myself right now is I’m just going to feel the feelings. When anyone asks how I’m doing, “I’m just feeling the feelings” and I’m not trying to rush into anything. Scott’s been amazing through all of this. He’s like, “I want you to just focus on taking care of yourself. Don’t look for a job tomorrow. Take your time because,” he’s like, “I could see yourself panicking and jumping into the next job that will have you, and you’ll be miserable in that one too.”
Claire: It’s crazy to think – we’re recording this on Monday afternoon. All of this has happened in literally one week.
Joy: Yeah, less than a week. Exactly one week. Exactly. Exactly.
Claire: I feel like it’s so important too to talk about that combination of, yeah, deep down I do feel that this is the right thing. And you’re super emotional about it, super scared. And it’s not like, “And I just knew. As soon as I walked out the door, I felt this freedom.”
Joy: No. But I think when I was kind of going through all of this, I’m like, I really just have to take time to figure out even who I am, like my identity. People talk a lot about second careers. Maybe that’s for me. Anything goes at this point. When I was at my naturopath yesterday and I told her about everything, Because you know, I was sick last year. I got freaking Graves’ Disease. And I know a lot of it had to do with the stress from work. I know it. I know that for a fact. And we can sit here and argue about how much you let work impact you and yada yada yada. I care deeply about doing a really good job. I just really do. I take my job very seriously. I’m a Type A personality. I would stress out about good grades. That’s just kind of the person that I am.
Claire: Yeah. Another thing we’ve talked about a lot, what you do –
Joy: Is a lot of my identity.
Claire: Yeah. You’re the type of person, you don’t separate what you do from who you are.
Joy: And my naturopath was like, “Stepping away and really being able to find joy again will make you that much healthier long term.” Because on another note, my treatment plan is almost done. I’m wrapping up my treatment with her and feeling really good, kind of feeling back to normal. Almost back to normal. Her just kind of saying, “When you find that place of being able to breathe and really take it all in, I just know your health is going to rebound even more.” Because, she’s like, “Even for the past six months, you’ve been in an environment that kind of is doing the opposite of what we want to do for your health.” These are all my choices that I chose to get myself into. I’m not pointing fingers. I want to make that very clear. It’s just like, “Oh, this is just not fitting me anymore.” But because I’m such a rule follower, and I want to please people, and I want to do a good job, and I was like, “Oh. This is actually really killing me.” She’s like, “You don’t want to look back 15 or 20 years from now and be even more sick for whatever reasons because you felt like it was the more responsible thing to do.” So I’m really in it right now. It’s only been a week out. I’ll share what I can. I especially just want to share what I’m working on as far as what I want to do next. I don’t have a clear view of what exactly I want to do next. I have some ideas, but I’m not going to share that until I’m really out of this. But it’s crazy. It doesn’t feel like my life. I feel like for the past week I’ve lived someone else’s life. Where I’m like, “I don’t know whose life this is.” This is brand new experience for me. I guess I can say I’ve been lucky over my life that I’ve never been in a scenario like this before. I think if anything I have felt so freaking supported. And not in the sense of I’m looking for validation, but just people being like, “I support you. What do you need?” People calling me every day. My friend sending flowers. Because they know this is not an easy thing for me. I think what I love the most is my parents and Scott, the people closest to me, who are not worried. I’m almost looking for people to be like, “Yes, it’s real scary.” No one’s worried because I think everyone knows crap always works out.
Claire: Yeah. And that, like you said, it’s almost amazing that you’ve gone this far in life without having going through something like this to the point that you are so qualified, so smart, so prepared for whatever is going to happen next. And I think also, speaking as somebody who’s close with you, it almost is sort of exciting to see, oh now Joy is actually going to get the chance to do this thing that she never would have done on her own.
Joy: Totally. Totally. And by the way, Brandon was texting me through all of this too. Brandon is like the best emotional support person. And he was like, “Think of it this way.” And Sandy kind of says the same thing. “Would you ever have made this change? If you would have kept the path, would you ever have left?” I don’t think so. I would have, again, ended up where I would have been sicker. That losing your identity type of feeling or your health. I truly believe that I would have just kept the comfortable, as Sandy likes to say, even though you’re in a rut, you’re in a comfortable rut. She’s like, “Because the edges are really soft. You’re still in a rut, but the edges are real nice.” She’s like, “You just have to recognize, when you’re in a rut you need to get out even though it’s comfy in there.” So we’ll see. I am excited too. I think there’s that really hard turn of emotions where you’re just kind of pivoting from one to the next that makes you feel alive again, as annoying as that sounds. This does feel exciting, and I can feel it that there are better things ahead. I would not have been able to see that if I would have stayed the course of what I was on.
Claire: Well I think it’s exciting. I know it’s hard to go through. But like I said, it’s going to be interesting to see. I know the people who have been listening to the podcast for a long time know that I did something similar to this a few years ago.
Claire: What, 3.5 years ago now? Where I was in a super horrible, stressed-out job. That was a little more extreme. It was really just –
Claire: Super toxic. So, I ended up leaving without a plan. And we had a couple episodes around that time where we talked a lot about there’s the saying “leap and the net will appear.” To me at that time, that felt a little bit misleading. It was sort of like, leap and you’ll end up building that net, and it might not really look like the net you thought it was going to look like. But at the end of the day, you’re going to figure it out. I started coaching CrossFit again and did that for several months. I started a side business doing floral design. I did a handful of weddings that summer, which was super fun. I started doing all the email marketing for Shane Farmer for a while. All these little things where it gave me this opportunity to really dabble in these little ideas where I had always thought, well what if I did email marketing as an entrepreneur? And then I did that and was like, eh, not for me. Well, what if I was a florist again? Eh, maybe not for me. Well, what if I coached CrossFit full time? Eh, maybe not for me. But it gave me this opportunity to really fully put myself in these scenarios where I had often thought, “I wonder what life would be like if I had chosen this other path.” And it gave me the opportunity to weave together a few of those other paths and recognize, actually, maybe the grass is not greener in the full-time CrossFit coach yard. Maybe the grass is not greener in the floral design out of my garage yard. But I was able to answer those questions. That was enough to keep me busy, keep a little bit of money coming in through the door. Until I got to the point where I realized that for me, actually, I do want to go back to a corporate job. I just need to find a business that’s more win alignment with my values, and now I know how to look for that.
Claire: I remember the day that I quit. I was driving away. The business that I worked for that was super toxic, they’re building is huge, and it’s right along the main highway that goes between Denver and Boulder. I was driving by it all the time. And in those first few weeks when I would drive by, I would think, “Did I make a huge mistake?” I would always look at it when I would drive by and think, “I should be in there right now, shouldn’t I? That was dumb. That was dumb.” Looking back now, I don’t regret it at all. And pretty quickly I came to realize this is not a decision that I could have made any other way if I wanted to be true to myself. Like you were talking about, I could have just continued to shove it down deep and pretend that I wanted that life. And that’s fine for a little while. And it’s a paycheck. It’s a job. You know, you need to do that sometimes.
Joy: Yeah, that’s a really good point because I always think about Brené Brown or Liz Gilbert. People who would be like, “I quit my job and I’m traveling across the world.” No. I would never encourage someone to just throw caution to the wind. Because that’s not who I am. I always want to plan. But this is just an instance where that just wasn’t –
Claire: It’s not one of the options.
Joy: It’s not one of the options for me. So, I think that that is a very personal decision. I’ve been talking to a couple of people who are like, “Yeah, I’m right where you are, and I’m not sure if I’m going to do that.” Do what feels right to you. Because I know that 10 years ago, you would have never predates that this would be something that happened in my life because it’s not who I am.
Claire: And I think it requires, for a lot of people, getting to the point that it did for me, getting to the point where it didn’t feel like I had a choice anymore. I’m waking up every morning. First thought in my head when I wake up and the last thought I have before I go to sleep is, “I need to quit my job.”
Claire: You know. It’s the only thing I’m talking about. It’s the only thing I’m thinking about. I’m not present because all I can think about is, “I have to get out of here.”
Claire: So it got to the point for me where it was a choice that I made, of course, but at the same time it wasn’t. And I know that’s not the exact situation that you’re in.
Claire: But yeah, I didn’t quit and go start becoming an Instagram influencer who lives on a houseboat or something. But I just sort of laid low for a couple months and did a bunch of random stuff. To your point, I love when you hear people like Elizabeth Gilbert say, “Don’t quit your job and go” –
Joy: Yeah. She’s like, “That terrifies me.”
Claire: If you guys listening have not read Big Magic, just hang up the podcast right now and go listen to it on audio book. It’s really so much better on audio book because she reads it. And you guys know how I feel about when authors read their own books. Which I need to just quickly say that you guys have to listen to Shit, Actually by Lindy West. The last time I laughed so hard while listening to a book was Bossy Pants, which when Tina Fey reads. It is top notch. Although some of the jokes now when you hear them, you’re like, does not hold up. But this book, my friend Heather – hi, Heather – recommended it to me. So funny. Go download it right now. You will not regret it. It’s literally just a bunch of satirical movie reviews, and they’re all based on how much she loves the movie The Fugitive.
Joy: Which is amazing. When you told me that she thinks it’s the best movie of all time, I agree. I think that’s the best movie of all time.
Claire: Have you started listening to it?
Joy: Not yet. I’m going to drive to my parents’ tomorrow, and I’m going to listen to it.
Claire: When you hear her describe The Fugitive, you’re going to be crying-laughing.
Claire: It’s so funny.
Joy: So Lindy West, also the author of Shrill, also wrote Shrill the Hulu series with Aidy Bryant, yes.
Claire: So great. But anyway, back to Big Magic. Listen to it on audio book. I listen to it once a year. It’s so wonderful. And Liz Gilbert really talks about, don’t quit your job to pursue your passion. Don’t make your passion do that for you. Don’t make your art support you. I remember that book was the first time I heard that perspective. Because, again, hustle culture or girl boss culture, it’s so all about quit your job and live your passion.
Joy: Yeah. And people stumble into MLM’s that way, because they’re just like, ahh. And that’s how they prey on people.
Claire: Yeah. Or you go out there, and you do go out and “live your passion,” and then six months into it you hate it and you’re not passionate about it anymore and you’ve killed this thing that was a cool creative outlet for you. We talk about that a lot. That’s why we don’t do this podcast as a full-time job. This is very much our hobby. Neither one of us do this – I mean, we make a little bit of money here and there on our sponsorships. This is not our job.
Claire: And sometimes I’ll meet people and they’re surprised that this is not my full-time job. I’m like, first of all, thank you for thinking I’m that famous. And thank you for thinking I can make a living with 15,000 Instagram followers. But second of all, we wouldn’t want that. I think it’s also just interesting to think about that narrative of, corporate culture sucks you dry. Just quit and go live your passion. Because that’s no necessarily the answer either.
Joy: Yeah, it’s not one or the other. It really isn’t. There’s some things about corporate culture that are really, really great. And there’s a lot of people who work in corporate culture. I think it’s just what you said earlier. The right place, no matter what it is. I quite frankly don’t know which way I’m going to go with it. There’s a lot of thoughts in my brain that I could go. But because it’s just so new, I’m just not going to entertain anything until I feel like I’ve had a good two weeks away from it, at least.
Claire: Well I for one am mostly just shocked that you aren’t currently in Venice Beach. I don’t know why you’re not.
Joy: Yes, that is fair. That is very fair. Mostly because I’m going to spend a week with my parents.
Claire: Take them with you.
Joy: I have to monitor the creek.
Claire: You and your mom need to go to LA.
Joy: Yes, we do.
Claire: Okay, tell us about the creek real quick.
Joy: Oh, the creek. [laughing]
Claire: Give the people what they want.
Joy: Give the people what they want. Okay, so, anyone new to the podcast. My dad and my mom live on a piece of land in the mountains that has this whole creek that goes through their property, and so every May the creek starts running and my dad gets very excited and he measures the flow rate of the creek. And he just writes it down every single day. Not sure what he does with it. He just has a little pad of paper, and he just writes it down. Probably compares it to previous years. The cute thing about this is he does this manually by dropping something in the water. First of all, he measures the distance. He drops something in the water and has my mom time it.
Claire: As he jogs alongside it.
Joy: As he jogs along to see where it stops. It’s really cute. I’ve been posting videos of him measuring the flow rate. So I will be sure to post some videos this week, even though you’ll be listening to this after I’m there. But I’ll post some videos. You’ll see some good flow rate. It’s the best. It’s simple. This is what life is about. Life is about friends. Life is about sitting in the mountains and watching a creek flow and wonder how fast it’s going. These are the important things that I need to be reminded of, instead of what’s my next step.
Claire: Right, corporate ladders.
Joy: Exactly, exactly.
Claire: I will say, I think that’s the big thing. When we say working for a corporation isn’t always bad, I do think there is really, really, really, really something to be said for having that be true and also removing yourself from the mindset that you need to be constantly moving up, constantly doing more. I posted about this on Instagram 2-ish weeks ago at this point.
Joy: Just because you can do it doesn’t mean you should.
Claire: Yeah. Just because you can doesn’t mean you should. And I personally went through something recently that I probably will never talk about on the podcast that really drove that home for me. You know what, I’m faced with a fork in the road, and I could go down the one way and a lot of people would expect me to. There was a time in my life when I would have fully expected to. And that time in my life was not that long ago. And now that I’m actually faced with this fork, I know in my gut that that’s not what I want. But it took me a long time to realize that it was okay for me to not take that road. In my mind, I was like, “But I could do it. I can.” And I’ve realized, listen. Just because I can doesn’t mean I have to. Just because I’m physically capable of taking on more, of doing more, of having more going on in my life doesn’t mean I have to choose that, even though that’s kind of my thing. I’m the go-to. I get stuff done. I’m the one that if you need it done quickly, you come to me. And removing that part from my identity and realizing I can choose to stay with what I have because it’s plenty and I don’t need to constantly be adding to my plate. It just was like this huge lightbulb moment for me. My whole life, I’ve been a big overachiever. I wouldn’t call myself Type A because I’m not very organized necessarily or clean. But I want to be the one who gets it done, and I want to be the one who figures it out, who does more with less. I finally realized – not finally, I’m sure I’m going to have this realization over and over my whole life. But recently have been in a season of realizing I don’t have to do more just because I can do more. I can choose to stay where I am. I can choose even to do less. That doesn’t mean I’m failing. It doesn’t mean I’m “not living up to my potential.” Let’s just get that out of our vocabulary right now.
Joy: I was talking to a life coach five or six months ago. We got free sessions with these life coaches.
Claire: Oh yeah, you had that career coach. You talked about it.
Joy: Yeah, career coach. She was amazing. And I remember telling her about this very thing, what you were just saying, about I just get so caught up in doing more and wanting to be more and wanting to stay ahead of everybody. I thrive on that thought of staying ahead of the rat race. She was like, “What if presence was ahead of the rat race?” I was like, what?
Claire: You’re like, “No, that’s not the answer. Sorry.”
Joy: But, that makes sense. Okay, I’m going to quote Adam Grant in his book Think Again. Rethinking all of these ideas, the stories that we tell ourselves. Do we ever stop and think, “Why am I telling myself this? Why is this my narrative?” Recently with all the job stuff. I start to go to the thoughts of doubt. No, no. That is not a thought I need to have right now. Think again about the stories that we’re telling ourselves. Just because we can do something and we can add more to our plate doesn’t mean we should. With climbing the corporate ladder, being in that environment, is that going to be good for us? What does status mean? What do we put value on? And for women I think especially it’s always doing more. How much she handles, how does she do it all, oh my gosh, she’s an influencer, and she has five kids, and she runs her… whatever.
Claire: And she has a white couch and it’s clean.
Joy: Yeah, always clean.
Claire: Totally. And I think it’s so easy to default to that.
Joy: Very easy.
Claire: And not only that, but I’m not going to tell you that it does’ feel good to be the person who does figure it out, to be the person who does do more with less.
Joy: Absolutely, absolutely.
Claire: And I think it’s just that mindset shift of realizing I don’t always have to choose that, just because I can or just because I feel like I should or just because I’m worried about letting other people down or just because fill in the blank. Just because I was in the talented and gifted reading group in 4th grade. You know what I mean? That to me has been an epiphany in the last couple of weeks. If you want to take it even further back, we’re talking about these deep-seeded beliefs that are very much rooted in capitalism, patriarchy, white supremacy. I recently hosted an interview for a work event that was between a woman who founded this skincare company. She’s a black woman who really struggled to get access to capital. The conversation was really about that, and then we had one of her investors who was a white woman be a part of that conversation about how this is how white investors can really show up for BIPOC entrepreneurs. Here’s how you need to have that mindset shift, etc. And one of the things that we talked about was the idea of if you are a startup entrepreneur having to grow your business really fast is a standard and a mindset that comes from white supremacy. And if you as an entrepreneur can say, “Actually, I don’t care how fast my business grows” or “I do have a plan to grow my business, and guess what? It’s going to take 15 years.” That is a way for you to push back on these establishments that have really dictated the standards that we hold ourselves to whether we want to or not. I think a lot about that with capitalism and thinking, of course this is how I feel because in the society that we live in productivity is the highest standard you can be held to.
Claire: It feels like of good, for me at least, to have that little voice in the back of my head that’s like, “F*** you, the man. I’m not going to apply for that promotion” or whatever the case may be.
Joy: Right. And be selective. Really think about what it is that you want, not what is the society golden egg or whatever.
Claire: Right. And it’s hard because I think it’s a little bit of a catch 22. If you don’t go for it, someone else is just going to go for it. You’re not going to change the system because you decided to lower your personal productivity. But at the same time, each person who chooses to redefine – I hate the phrase “define your own success” or “redefine success” because why do we care so freaking much about success?
Joy: Because we do.
Claire: Why does everything have to be about being successful. “Redefine your own success and then you can still be successful.”
Joy: You know what it is? It’s all the freaking positive, whatever, the speech people, the power of positive thinking people.
Claire: Yeah, the secret people.
Joy: Totally. I feel like they screwed us over. Screwed us over.
Claire: And I think it’s just in general that we have been taught this our whole lives that success is the thing you’re going for. Here are your goals. You want to be happy, you want to be successful, and you want to be wealthy. And being successful, by the way, includes being happy and healthy. So it all just rolls up to success. And it’s sort of that same thing where for a while we were like “strong is the new skinny.” It’s like, listen. Now you’re just giving me something else I have to be.
Joy: Like I was just content watching movies on the weekends eating circus peanuts.
Claire: Circus peanuts. It’s just Joy sitting in a pile of peanut shells.
Joy: No, haven’t you ever had circus peanuts? The candies.
Claire: And you talking about Spanish peanuts?
Joy: No, they’re called circus peanuts.
Claire: Oh. No.
Joy: It’s almost like cotton candy. Anyway, they’re squishy and delicious.
Claire: Oh no. I was thinking you were talking about bar peanuts where it’s a tub of shelled peanuts.
Joy: Well that would be delicious too. That’s what I always used to eat with a Dr Pepper.
Joy: That’s what happiness and success was, just being relaxed and doing that stuff.
Claire: Just drinking Dr Pepper.
Claire: And it’s similar to the thing of like, “Well any body can be beautiful. Any shape or size or age can be beautiful.”
Joy: Now you just pointed it out. We were doing just fine.
Claire: And why do I have to care so much about being beautiful?
Joy: Yeah. I was doing totally fine.
Claire: Can’t I just live my life in my mom smock, which I’m currently wearing by the way.
Joy: Which is amazing.
Claire: I’m sick of having… I don’t want to have to redefine success. I don’t want to have to redefine beauty. I want to just stop freaking caring about being successful or beautiful all the time and just go live my damn life.
Joy: “I’m exhausted. Where is he?” Sorry, that was a line from Sex & the City.
Claire: I’m tired.
Joy: I’m exhausted.
Claire: And I just want to live my life and not be constantly freaked out about whether or not I’m being successful or whether or not I’m beautiful or whether or not I’m fill-in-the-blank.
Joy: Because just like diet culture, there’s no ed.
Claire: There’s no end.
Joy: There’s no end to it.
Claire: There’s no end to it, and there’s no way to truly get out of it. So all you can do it just ignore it a little bit I guess. Make decisions that involve it as little as possible because you can’t truly never involve it. It’s just very… if you’re listening to this and you want to just go live in the woods in a bus somewhere with all of us, let’s just go do that. Maybe that’s how we do it.
J :Yeah, maybe. I think that’d be great.
Claire: As long as there’s a Sephora out there that you can test products on every 90 days just to get a hit.
Joy: [laughing] Just need a hit of my arm filled with products. Which by the way I still don’t test products. It’s so sad.
Claire: I know, I can’t wait until the day that you post that on Instagram. Like, “We have arrived!”
Joy: Just my arm full of tests and colors.
Claire: It’s going to be on your legs.
Joy: So great. Let me just tell you a funny story. It’s not that funny, but I’m going to tell it anyway. So Scott again has been so supportive through all this stuff, and he knows emotions are all over the place. And the day after all of this kind of went down, I woke up and I put so much glitter on my eye balls. My eyelids had tons of pink glitter. I kept just layering it on because I’m like, I don’t got to go to work. I can put as much glitter as I want on my eyes. And then I pulled out my hair chalk, and I started putting pink streaks in my hair with my hair chalk. Scott woke up. I got ready before he woke up. And he woke up, and he was like, “How are you feeling today?” And I was like, “I’m okay.” And he’s like, “You got a lot of pink going on.”
Claire: [laughing] It’s like, “Okay, just checking in.”
Joy: He’s like, “She’s going to crack.”
Claire: You look like a 5-year-old did your makeup.
Joy: Yes, totally. It’s like, “Okay, you got a lot of pink going on.”
Claire: He’s like, “No sudden movements. Just keep your voice low.”
Joy: Yes. “Everybody stay calm. Don’t even move.” Yeah.
C; “Joy, you look great. Don’t change a thing. Do you need some circus peanuts? Can I bring you a Dr Pepper?”
Joy: That’s how he was acting. “Okay.” Tip toeing. “How we doing? Got a lot of pink on.” I think today when I got my hair cut, he was convinced I was just going to cut it all off because any decision she makes right now is just from a place of, ahh. Okay. So finishing up, I really want to ask a question to the listeners and you. We talked a little bit about climbing the corporate ladder. I’ve heard from a lot of people this week about culture, environments of work. One of my friends – this is just my friend’s opinion, so making that clear – my friend was like, “You know, I’ve always seen the top of corporate culture, you have to either ‘drink the Kool-Aid’ or you just have to fake it and pretend that you like that environment.” She’s like, “I’ve never seen it be truly health and supportive of people.” I’m like, interesting. I only know my experience. It was just interesting to hear that. I’ve seen this flying around. Adam Grant talks about this all the time as far as how to make work a better place. But I have yet to see someone tell me that in this corporate world the top really embrace that. So if you have that experience, I would love to hear it.
Claire: Where do you work so we can come?
Joy: Yeah, where do you work so we can join you? It’s interesting to me. From all the research that I read and all the articles I’m devouring about work life and how to make a healthy workspace, it all says that you have to be compassionate and caring. The Dare to Lead book by Brené Brown is all about having difficult conversations and making sure that people feel safe and building trust and etc. But no work culture that I’ve seen has been able to do that.
Claire: The company that I work for is dyed-in-the-wool Dare to Lead. It’s great sometimes. Because it also gets really toxic.
Joy: Oh really?
Claire: Conscious leadership can be turned against you.
Joy: Like toxic positivity.
Claire: Yes, exactly.
Joy: Really? Interesting. Oh, interesting.
Claire: Oh, interesting. Yes. The company that I work for I think has so much potential, really rewards a lot of the things that I think you should reward, is very aware of the things that I think you should be aware of. Overall, for being a very large global multinational corporation, does a pretty good dang job. And it’s also really hard when you have a wide variety of leaders and you don’t want all of your leaders to be the same of course because that would make it worse. But also, it just means that when you do try to have that conscious leadership mentality, it can definitely be used against you by making it seem like –
Joy: Like kind of gaslighty?
Claire: Very gaslighty. And I’ve also seen this at the job where it was so toxic. It was all about everyone’s a leader, even if you’re an entry level coordinator, you should own your stuff and never be afraid to speak up to leadership. It was completely used against you by being like, if you had a problem, no one else – even your manager – was like, “Well, that’s your problem.” I remember when I was having such a hard time with a job, I went to my boss, and I was in her office every day being like, “I am drowning. Help me.”
Joy: I remember that. And she was like, “Well, this is how it is. Hahahaha.”
Claire: She literally one day said to me, “I don’t know, Claire. You’re the one who applied for this job.”
Claire: And I was like, “And now I’m leaving this job. So goodbye.” It very much was used against you. “Well, if you can’t figure it out, that’s your own leadership failing.”
Joy: Oh. Because everyone’s a leader. Instead of being supportive or recognizing the culture as the problem.
Claire: And this isn’t my current job. But no, it was very much like you are supposed to be a leader. And if you can’t figure it out, that’s your own leadership failure. You just aren’t in it enough. You just aren’t dedicated enough. You just aren’t owning it enough.
Joy: Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. Instead of leadership taking ownership to try to help.
Claire: Right. Instead of them being like, “Wow, let me…” You know. In my current job, I have a great manager. And my boss’ boss is wonderful. He’s like, “My job 100% is to block for you.” He’s like, “If you have a problem, if you’re trying to get something done and it’s not happening, come to me and I will use the Senior Vice President line in my signature to the fullest advantage. I will email who I need to email. I will call who I need to call.” And that is like, great, thank you. You recognize that your role is to help me get my job done. Yeah, that reflects better on you. If I’m being productive and getting my job done. And the team I work for is so wonderful, and there are also other teams where that conscious leadership totally backfires because it has turned into this very gaslighty thing.
Joy: That’s so unfortunate to hear, but I can see how that would happen. I think what I’ve noticed throughout my professional career, not speaking about any one in particular environment. From what I’ve noticed and from what I’ve heard from people is there’s all these trainings you can do, and you can get trained to how to be a positive work environment, or you can do these little day trainings with a whole staff about how to work better together. But unless you have that really strong foundation from the top, it goes nowhere.
Joy: It goes nowhere. If anything, it just makes everyone even more distrustful because they’re like, we’ve done all this training and nothing has changed.
Claire: And maybe this is different. The vast majority of companies that I’ve worked for are very, very large companies. I have worked for smaller-ish brands that are owned by very large companies. And the brands that I have worked for have been pretty big in the scheme of the company. For example, right now most of the teams that I work on are less than 20 people. 11,000 people work for my company all over the world, and 150 people work in my group. So within that, each group sets their own culture. But then it doesn’t matter still because if you’re getting conflicting communication or conflicting tones even or whatever from your bi-weekly video message from the CEO, it can really undermine any of the culture that your immediate leadership is trying to do. And vice versa. One of the things that I love about the company that I work for is last year, in the throes of the pandemic – at the end of the day, I work for an event company. We had a really hard year. Our CEO who is based in another country who, again, over 10,000 employees, really regularly would have these live town halls where he was very transparent of, “This is what we’re doing. This is why we’re doing it. Here’s how we’re trying to save costs. Here’s what we’re trying to do. Yeah, we might end up having to lay people off, but we want you to know that here are all the other things that we’re doing.” Very much treated like adults. Very much treated us like we were all in this tougher. Wasn’t trying to sugar coat it whatsoever, And then we have smaller group meetings where they’re playing “Here Comes the Sun,” and they’re like, “It’s going to be great.” We’re like, don’t freaking do this to us. We’re not children. I think it’s so interesting too to see even the best laid intentions, to your point, if all the leaders aren’t on board or even if one leader is like, “This is dumb,” that undermines what everyone else is doing.
Joy: Yes. Yeah, I think it’s interesting to watch how sometimes it’s almost like put on the responsibility of the workers to carry it through.
Claire: Which I think is somewhat fine because you need that buy in.
Joy: Sure, yes. And the default goes back to old style management. It’s almost like people are just incapable of really seeing what works. It’s unfortunate, but maybe that’s why I just need to start my own company.
Claire: Yeah, you just need to be the management advisor. That would be great.
Joy: Right. Yeah, so I would love to hear people’s stories or thoughts about that. Because I’ve yet to find a place that has done it successfully.
Claire: Talk to us about really supportive culture. Talk to us about toxic culture. Talk to us about culture that started off supportive and turned toxic.
Joy: Yeah, yeah, yeah, all of it. You can be anonymous. You can tell us how your company does it. All of the above.
Claire: If you want to – this isn’t an official send us a voice memo question, but feel free to send us a voice memo or send us an email, email@example.com. And yeah, this will be an interesting ongoing conversation.
Joy: For sure. I just want to work for Adam Grant. Is he hiring?
Claire: Right. But do you? Maybe he’s so intense. I don’t know.
Joy: That’s true. Maybe he’s not who he is on the podcast and in his books. He just seems like such a lovely person. Every time he’s on Dax Shepard’s show, I’m just like, “I want to work for Adam Grant.”
Claire: I’m just not sure that I’ve heard anyone on Dax Shepard’s show where it wasn’t like, okay, they’re fun, they’re okay, they’re fun. Dax Shepard brings out the very personable side of people.
Joy: Oh, Adam Grant. So he’s lovely. He’s lovely. Yeah.
Claire: What I’m saying is if you’re judging him based on how he shows up on Dax Shepard’s cast, then –
Joy: Oh, I get it. Because everyone looks so great.
Claire: Because Dax really makes everyone look good.
Joy: Dax is the best, yeah.
Claire: Just go work for Dax.
Joy: That’s a good point. Produce all their podcasts. Anyway, that’s the updates. A lot of stuff going on in our worlds. As always, we are so grateful that you are along for the ride. I’ve been tagged in some memories from Iceland, which made me just so, so sad for the days when we got to travel with our listeners. So maybe that will be in the near future. But in the meantime, you can reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Instagram @joyandclaire_ and our website is joyandclaire.com.
Claire: Please subscribe. Leave us a review. Share about us on your social media. The best way to support us is by sharing us and tagging us, even just in an Instagram story. That really does so much for us. So when you’re done listening to this episode, please just take a screenshot of the episode, share it on your Instagram story, tag us. “Great listen this week from @thisisjoyandclaire.” However you want to say. We really appreciate it.
Joy: Five stars.
Claire: Five stars. Five-star GIF. Alright guys, we’ll talk to you next week.
Joy: Bye you guys.