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Welcome to Vol. 125 of the Intersection!

One more week left before my birthday solo trip! I'm excited, to say the least. I will be spending time this week going through all the recommendations that the Intersection community shared with me earlier this year to craft my trip itinerary. I usually do this weeks ahead of my trip, but this summer has slipped through my fingers. This will be my first vacation of the year and my mind, body, and spirit are READY. 
HOUSEKEEPING NOTE: In order to make sure you actually get to see these newsletters each week be sure to add my email address (info@anuliwashere.com) as a contact, so your email service knows to deliver these love notes of mine to your "Inbox" and not your "Spam" or "Promotions" folder. Thanks in advance!
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Follow @intersectionwkly daily on Instagram if you are bout it, bout it.

ON MY MIND

emotional & invisible labor


The subject of invisible labor has been on my mind for some time now. I define "invisible labor" as the extra "little" things a person does in a relationship that tends to go unnoticed or under-valued. Things like "office housework" fall in this category. Sometimes "invisible labor" is conflated into conversations about "emotional labor,"  and depending on who you ask they can mean similar things. 

I've been reading Morgan Jerkins' book, "This Will Be My Undoing: Living at the Intersection of Black, Female, and Feminist in (White) America" this week. One line, in particular, caught my eye and inspired me to pontificate this week about "emotional & invisible labor." Here it is: "As a black woman, if you are not always fighting for something larger than yourself, then you are somehow the enemy, not performing the 'correct' form of black womanhood in contemporary America. We should not have to choose between being black, being a woman, and being human in our own story." 

I've started to think more deeply about the requests I receive at work due in part to my reputation as a "culturally conscious" person. I've jokingly referred to myself as a "corporate militant," but I'll cringe if you call me "woke." Anyways, this reputation means that I frequently get asked if someone can "pick my brain" on a culture-related subject or if I can "spend just a few minutes" to review a piece of work from another team. And, because these requests are always packaged with the best of intentions, I feel emotionally obligated to say "yes." Because I want culturally-sound work to be produced. Because I don't want to be the reason one of our brands gets caught up in a "Pepsi moment." Because if I don't educate the person on the topic they request then who will. Because I have to do it for the culture. Because, as Jerkins explained, "if you are not always fighting for something larger than yourself, then you are somehow the enemy." The thing about these requests is that it is time away from my day-to-day salaried work. I do not get paid extra for these consultations, nor do I get paid extra from participating in any office affinity groups, but I've felt obligated to use my time in this way, often having to stay later or come in earlier to make of the time I lost. When you bill by the hour you become more conscious of how your hours are spent. I don't want to come across as rude in sharing any of this, but I really do not think people realize how much extra labor people of color, particularly black people, have to do in corporate settings. This Twitter thread is a prime example of the issue I'm talking about. 

On top of our salaried jobs we're expected to serve as "culture consultants," educating others about the trends of the day. We're also obligated to "do it for the culture" and serve as members of employee resource groups like a "black employee resource group" or a "Hispanic employee resource group." In these groups, we have to advocate for our own advancement and essentially defend our own humanity by creating programs to get people to care about diversity and inclusion. A lot of work goes into these commitments on top of our regular roles, but we do it to create and serve our communities. And, I'll be honest, as much as I love creating an inclusive community, sometimes it feels like a burden that goes underappreciated especially since we have to deal with frequent microaggressions outside of these communities. Since "Black Women's Equal Pay Day" just passed I'll reiterate again that black women worked 20 months to receive match what a white man made in 12. All this emotional and invisible labor isn't going to pay my electric bill, so I might as well shine a light on it. 

Part of my problem is that I care too much. I really do want to help others whenever I can, but I can no longer spend as much borrowed time doing it. I have to be more stingy with my time. Sometimes I can't fight for the "culture," I have to fight for myself. That said, to Jerkins' point, I should not have to choose, but here we are. It's not healthy for me to think that I alone know the answer to every cultural question or that I alone can prevent a mishap from happening. If anything, it indicates a greater need for companies to hire more people of color, so their teams are more equipped to address the cultural issues of the day.

Here are a few things you can do to lighten the load of your peers who may be taking on extra emotional or invisible labor:

1. If someone sends an email about an office function or gathering then ask if they could use your help. They may be coordinating the logistics on their own because they are used to not receiving support. Offer yourself up as a helping hand and be specific about how much time and effort you can contribute. 

2. Instead of asking to "pick someone's brain" provide a specific request of what you need feedback on and how much time you need to discuss the matter with them. Then ask the person's permission for you to block that time out on their calendar to meet with you, so it is a proper meeting. Bonus points if you include a job code for that time in the invite, so the person can accurately bill their time. Their counsel is of value to you since you asked for it, so make sure you can budget for it.

3. Before asking someone for a brain dump, do a bit of self-service first and Google the questions you need answered. Don't always rely on people to provide you with educational labor. Especially when there is a whole Internet of information out there. Once you start to read things then, if you still have questions, you are more prepared to asked pointed questions to your co-worker instead of very broad abstract questions. 

4. Verbally recognize and acknowledge the person for their time. When someone goes out of their way to help you then be sure to express your gratitude to them. A simple "thank you" (in-person or via email so they can add it to their "SPARKLE" folder) and a billing code will go a long way, just don't overstay your welcome. 

All this is to say that we must be considerate of our own time and the time of others. As Aretha taught us, it's all about R-E-S-P-E-C-T. 
Have you taken on extra emotional or invisible labor at work or in a personal relationship? What did you do to reclaim your time? 
Feel free to sill reach me directly by replying to this email.

ON YOUR MIND


[EDITOR'S NOTE: Last week's newsletter resonated with quite a few of you. Health is such a personal subject, so I am thankful to those of you who shared your experiences with me and shared words of encouragement with me. I am happy to share that I am feeling better. I took a recommendation from a reader, Sarah, below to switch froma MD to a DO and it helped. I'm digging my new doctor and it's the best care I've received in years!]

Sarah Says:"Thank you for sharing about your concerns with healthcare. I have had a mistrust of the healthcare system for a while now. Something that was recommended to me was seeing a D.O. instead of an MD. They’re more holistic. https://osteopathic.org/what-is-osteopathic-medicine/what-is-a-do/
I also see an acupuncturist and have had a Chinese medicine doctor recommended to me as well. I don’t know if these are anything you’re interested in, what kind of healthcare you have access to but these are the types of healthcare outside of traditional MD visits that I’ve found helpful. Good luck."

Michelle Says"Girl, I can go all day about my distrust of the healthcare system. It's why I got my master's in health communication. Also, please tell me you've read the Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. Or at least seen the HBO movie with Oprah. I hope you find health and healing! Also, whenever you're prescribed an antibiotic, take a probiotic. Gut bacteria is important to protect. I had surgery and was on antibiotics for about 4 months straight. My stomach was wrecked for almost the entire year. Get well soon!"

Kirsten Says: "I’ll keep you in my thoughts and hope that someday soon you find a doctor who will really listen to you and help you find what’s wrong. 
Last year when I switched jobs
my Doctor who I loved & was my Doc for the past 13 years, could no longer take me and my insurance. I searched all over the Internet for a gyno that had a great reputation in my area. I was able to find someone great who listens to me and understands what’s going on. But I saw this on CBS this morning last weekend and I am very alarmed. Many of these women died because they weren’t being listen to or their needs addressed. https://www.cbs.com/shows/cbs-sunday-morning/video/j_oul2h3RvapHRS5Ruj93qbBNnayhFbs/at-risk-mothers-and-childbirth/
10 years ago I was having knee issues and went to a generalist who treated me like crap. Because of
that I didn’t even want to go to any other doctors because he made me feel so horrible. So less than two years later I tore my ACL in that knee and it cost me over $25,000 because I had crappy insurance when all was said and done. I’ve also known great doctors who stopped practicing around 15 years ago.  They were losing money and couldn’t afford to be doctors anymore thanks to the health care insurance industry dominating over hospitals.  It’s part of the reason why since then we’ve seen a large amount of smaller hospitals get sucked up into larger hospital networks. They couldn't battle insurance companies anymore.
It feels like a never-ending battle that only large corporations will win. :(
Stay strong!!"


 

WORTH A LOOK

Items I've read and appreciated this week.
women in the bs workforce
nyc's k-town has changed
house hunter realtor secrets
how to work from home
discussing black women
black hair textures on screen
tripadvisor changed travel
your workplace isn't your fam
the million dollar mystery

BECAUSE I CARE

Jobs, events, and opportunities for you.
prod dev, tanya taylor
entertainment editor, cosmo
a cool music curator gig
pt copy editor, 21ninety
intern, washington post
public policy, girl scouts
regional mktg mgr, redbull
the la times is hiring
editor-in-chief, wirecutter
Was there an article featured in an edition of The Intersection that you loved? Have you applied for a job listed here in the past? Did you attend an event previously shared in the "Because I Care" section? Let me know! I'm eager to learn about how this newsletter has impacted you personally.

Slide into my inbox by replying to this newsletter or emailing me at info@anuliwashere.com. Either way, your message will reach the same inbox. Thanks!
You can find me online and on social media below:
Website
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Bonus points if you use the hashtag #intersectionwkly when writing about or sharing this newsletter online.
Copyright © 2018 Anuli Was Here, All rights reserved.


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