No Hard Feelingswith Liz Fosslien and Mollie West Duffy
Liz Fosslien and Mollie West Duffy are the co-authors of No Hard Feelings: The Secret Power of Embracing Emotions At Work. They come on Rework to talk about how the future of work is emotional; why it’s useful to listen to feelings like envy; and how we can all take small steps toward a healthier emotional life at work. (NB: It is totes okay to cry in the bathroom at the office!)
- "Happy Pacifists," our episode about violent rhetoric (and its opposite) in business - 00:24
- "Big Integer," our episode about how Basecamp managed a major outage - 00:30
- "Spark Joy with DHH," our episode about applying Marie Kondo's tidying-up principles to business - 00:38
- Liz Fosslien's website. Mollie West Duffy's website. Their joint website. 1:22
- No Hard Feelings: The Secret Power of Embracing Emotions At Work - 1:28
- IDEO - 1:54
- Humu - 2:08
- Gretchen Rubin - 12:09
- The Shultz Hour, named after former Secretary of State George Shultz - 19:25
- Liz and Mollie on Instagram - 35:42
- The Book Table - 36:00
- "Independent Women,"the episode of our previous podcast about Women & Children First bookstore - 36:03
The Full Transcript:
[00:00:00] Broken By Design by Clip Art plays.
Shaun: [00:00:02] Welcome to Rework, a podcast by Basecamp about the better way to work and run your business. I’m Shaun Hildner.
Wailin: [00:00:06] And I’m Wailin Wong.
Shaun: [00:00:09] Wailin, do you want to talk about your feelings?
Wailin: [00:00:11] I always want to talk about my feelings. How much time do you have?
Shaun: [00:00:14] We have about 30 minutes.
Wailin: [00:00:16] I feel like we’re slowly turning Rework into the feeling show because we had our support team colleague Elizabeth on to talk about compassionate communication techniques. And then we had an episode about the big integer outage at Basecamp, and a lot of that episode was about interpersonal communication during a time of crisis. And then we had David on talking about Marie Kondo, which ended up being more feelingsy than I was expecting in the best way.
Shaun: [00:00:44] Yeah, it’s not something I see or hear about in other business podcasts or blogs or articles.
Wailin: [00:00:49] I think it’s because, and we get into this during today’s episode, I think it’s because we’ve been socialized to take emotions out of the workplace rather than recognizing them as part of the full human experience that we take into our jobs and then you know, deal with them appropriately.
Shaun: [00:01:05] That makes total sense. We feel emotions at home. Of course we’re going to have them in the office. I mean our jobs are full of emotional experiences, meetings, even answering emails. Oh, God, performance reviews.
Wailin: [00:01:18] Today we’re talking to Liz Fosslien and Mollie West Duffy. They both come from tech and design backgrounds and they have a new book called No Hard Feelings: The Secret of Embracing Emotions at Work. Like Rework, it’s written in a very friendly conversational tone and Liz does these fantastic funny illustrations. It’s a great fresh way to approach the topic of being a whole emotional person in the workplace.
Mollie: [00:01:50] My name is Mollie West Duffy. I am an organizational designer at IDEO and I am the coauthor of the book, No Hard Feelings.
Liz: [00:01:58] And I’m Liz Fosslien. I am a design consultant and coauthor and illustrator of the book, No Hard Feelings. And in February I’ll be joining Humu which was founded by Laszlo Bock, who was at Google leading HR for 10 years and they focus on making work better.
Wailin: [00:02:16] I wanted to start with kind of your origin stories, if that makes sense. Because you talk about them briefly in the introduction to the book, each of you talk about what your first jobs were and how they were both difficult in their own ways and got you thinking about emotions in the workplace. And I was wondering if you could think about and talk about what you had been told or at least socialized to believe about emotions at work prior to starting your first jobs.
Mollie: [00:02:51] I think we all go into work in our twenties thinking we need to be professional and that there’s no space for emotion at work. And so I, in my early twenties, was working a product manager for a startup. And it was incredibly stressful and I woke up one morning and the area right above my eye was completely numb. And I sort of shrugged it off and the sensation didn’t go away for a few days. And so finally I went to the doctor and the diagnosis was that I had anxiety from work and that it had pushed up into my head and I had this physical manifestation of anxiety.
[00:03:24] And I realized in that moment, first of all that I needed a different job, but that also I needed to recognize that I was having emotions at work and I needed to start learning from them instead of just repressing them.
Liz: [00:03:37] Yeah. So I had a similar story. I got the job I thought I always wanted out of college and I put on a suit and went into a big fancy building and I was on a high floor and I think I had definitely been socialized to think that those were all the trappings of success and therefore I was successful and therefore I was happy.
[00:04:00] And I, similar to Mollie, started having headaches after a while at the job. It was long hours. And so I also reached a point where I was just having so many physical symptoms and getting so anxious and didn’t know what to do about any of that, that I ended up leaving the job because it didn’t seem sustainable for me. And made me very interested, then, in looking back and reflecting on what was it about the job that wasn’t meaningful for me and also on my end, what could I have done to practice better self-care and better manage my emotions.
[00:04:34] And again, similar to Mollie, it was realizing that you can’t just keep suppressing, suppressing, suppressing because your emotions are going to come out if it’s not through you talking and acknowledging and working through them, they’re going to manifest physically.
Wailin: [00:04:47] So then both of you, separately, as you are experiencing this, started to do research right? I think that’s what you say in the intro. You started reading books and looking for resources that would help you start to articulate some of these things you were feeling. Can you talk about what that research looked like? Did you find some interesting resources out there? And then what were the gaps that you saw, the things that did not exist, which then kind of led you to write your own book?
Mollie: [00:05:15] I, after I worked at the startup, I actually went and did research at Harvard Business School, looking at research on organizational behavior. So, I was really interested in the workplace and workplace norms and culture and how emotions show up within that or don’t show up within that and how leaders express emotions. So, I was doing some research, with some professors about vulnerability in leadership.
Liz: [00:05:42] When I left my job, I was a consultant and I had been going every day to Starbucks, maybe twice a day just to leave the office.
[00:05:53] So I left this job, didn’t know what I wanted to do. I knew I needed something to occupy my time. And so I went to the Starbucks no longer as a customer and I said, can I be a Barista here? I just lost my job. I need… I need money. So I worked there for about, I think it was like four or five months, while also doing a lot of research again into why didn’t this job work out? How can I better regulate my emotions? How can I better grapple with anxiety? And the interesting thing about doing that at the same time as working at Starbucks was when I started at Starbucks, I assumed that I would learn how to make a really excellent cappuccino, but maybe not that much more. And instead I realized that intentional design, whether it’s a space or a culture is so powerful in creating an evoking an emotion.
[00:06:40] Starbucks, the music changes based on the time of day, the lighting changes based on the time of day. And that’s all again for an emotional response. That intersection for me, this like research into psychology, and then again being sort of face-to-face with, I think, amazingly executed design, I started drawing little charts around my feelings and trying to visualize, visualize those. And that was sometimes cartoons of here’s what it feels like to be anxious.
[00:07:08] As I then went on to start applying for other jobs, I drew charts around, here’s a job interview in charts and here’s what I’m thinking. Here’s probably what the person who’s interviewing me thinking. And I had a couple of those projects go viral. And I think that was for me, the first signal of, oh, the visual aspect of this can be a really effective way of communicating these universal emotions and making them more engaging and accessible.
Wailin: [00:07:33] Around this time Liz moved to New York and was looking for new friends.
Liz: [00:07:37] I sent an email to everyone I knew asking to be set up on platonic friend dates. And Mollie was the first platonic friend and we just had this instant connection.
Mollie: [00:07:46] We wrote some articles together about what it feels like to be an introvert, both within life and at work. And… just loved collaborating with Liz on that. And I think Liz’s illustrations do such a great job of visualizing things that are hard to verbalize, like emotions and like what it feels like to be an introvert. And so I just thought, oh, I want to do more of this collaboration with her, with her illustrations.
Liz: [00:08:13] It just seemed natural. We both had these really common interests, had had common experiences around emotion in the workplace and so started collaborating on things and that was coauthoring and then also adding illustrations. And yeah, I think, also just kind of realizing that working with her, it was never stressful. I just felt a lot of positive emotions around it. So, that to me too was a really strong signal that we might be able to work on a bigger project very effectively together.
Wailin: [00:08:40] You had one line in your book that’s pretty prominent and I feel like this is what resonated with me the most and it was, “The future of work is emotional.” Can you talk about what that means?
Mollie: [00:08:53] We have thought a lot about how work is going to change in the future and there’s two things that we think are going to change. One is that we are going to be more and more collaborative. And if you are more and more collaborative, you are working in groups with other people. And so it just, you need to have a better understanding of your own emotions so you can communicate them and they aren’t coming out and bad ways, unexpected ways, and understanding others’ emotions as well. The other big change is that more and more the workplace is becoming digital and as the world becomes more digital, it’s harder to communicate emotions because you’re stripped away of facial expressions, body language, ways that we normally pick up on others’ emotions. And so we have to try even harder to communicate the emotions in text, email, Slack, video conference. But, additionally, we just think modern work requires an ability to effectively harness emotion. And a lot of us have never learned how to do that.
[00:10:06] And so, as I mentioned, like when I started working, I had to sort of figure that out. And we think people find that overwhelming and so they tend to suppress or avoid their emotions. But humans are really emotional creatures regardless of whether or not we want to have emotions at work. And if we do ignore our emotions at work, we are actually overlooking important signals. Any time you need to make a decision, you actually have a huge toolkit inside of you, which is how you’re feeling about that decision. And if we don’t pay attention to it, we’re actually missing the things that our emotions can be telling us.
Wailin: [00:10:44] Yeah, because I feel like one of the myths that you knock down in your book, and it’s kind of done in a variety of ways… I mean, it’s kind of the theme of the book is that they are very kind of few of, you know, maybe even zero things that happen at work that take place in an emotional vacuum. Right? That even if you believe that you’re being purely pragmatic or making a coldly rational decision that actually does come back to emotions and how you’re feeling inside. Right? So, it’s this matter of harnessing them properly and in a healthy way. Right?
Liz: [00:11:18] Yeah, definitely. One of my favorite emotions that I think is pretty stigmatized that actually contains a really valuable signal, especially when it comes to decision making, is envy. And I think it feels bad to be jealous of someone else. And so often we either immediately suppress it or perform all kinds of mental gymnastics to try and say like, well, they don’t deserve it, or maybe we’ve become bitter. Or there’s all these reasons why this, I’m jealous of this person that have nothing to do with me when it might just be that I’m envious of someone else because they have something that I want. And so if you acknowledge envy and don’t immediately throw it in the trash, you might be able to have a better sense of what you value.
[00:11:56] And again, we’re not condoning acting out based on jealousy. It’s more just processing through that feeling and holding it up to the light and examining it. So one of the people we spoke to as we were writing this book was Gretchen Rubin, who is lovely. She wrote The Happiness Project and The Four Tendencies. And she told us that when she was a lawyer and she was considering switching career paths. She looked at her school’s alumni magazine and she read stories about people who had amazing law careers and she thought that was great, but it didn’t evoke a strong emotional response in her. But when she read about people who had amazing writing careers and were published authors, she told us she felt sick with envy and that to her was a really strong signal that that might be something that she wanted to pursue. And because she wanted it so much, she would also be motivated and it might be like an amazing career. And obviously that worked out really well for her. But I think that’s such a great story of not just suppressing difficult feelings, um, but really processing through them and then seeing the value that they might contain.
Wailin: [00:13:04] One thing that you mentioned in the book is this concept of EQ as kind of a counterpart to IQ. And this is a term, because I used to cover startups and tech culture at the Chicago Tribune. People are talking about EQ as it’s like trendy thing and like this is what I’m startups are hiring for now and like bootcamps are teaching about it and all this stuff. And to me, looking back now, it has this stench of like we’re dressing up something to sound more like sciency. So men will be into it. You might disagree with that and, but I was wondering if you could talk about EQ and maybe what some of the limitations are because I feel like the ideas that you explored in your book go beyond just this idea of like, oh, you should hire for emotional intelligence. Like whatever that means, you know?
Mollie: [00:13:54] Yeah, no. I totally agree with you. I feel like it was such a buzzword in the ‘90s and 2000s and… Let’s be clear, we would not have been able to write our book had that concept not been developed. But I think it’s, yeah, it’s like what is the thing that is more helpful now? And so first of all,it was so interesting when we started doing the research on emotional intelligence, EQ, is that all of the articles that are written on HBR and in Fast Company and everywhere are, it’s like for leaders. So there is no talk about teaching people emotional intelligence until they become a leader, when suddenly it becomes important.
[00:14:31] And if we know anything about how learning works, it’s like, well you need to start a little before someone becomes a leader. They can’t just learn that overnight. And also, like, why is that not important for everyone in the workplace and why are we not teaching these skills to people as soon as they join the workplace or even in college before they get to the workplace. The concept of emotional intelligence is very helpful, but that is about the ability to recognize and understand emotions. And success at work requires going one step deeper, which is you have to understand, yes, your own emotions, but also how to communicate those emotions given the specific situation that you are in. And so there’s a term that we like for that. This is called emotional fluency, which is the ability to sense emotion and know how and when to translate that into action in a healthy and productive way.
Liz: [00:15:30] I think a really crucial component of emotional fluency is also kind of understanding the need that is driving your emotion and figuring out what to do about that need. And sometimes it’s expressing it, sometimes it’s not. It’s just going to sleep, it’s eating something. And so, I think a great example of this as I was last year leading a design project and I noticed that a few days ahead of the deadline, I was just extremely irritated with everyone around me. And so I took a moment and walked around the block and thought to myself, I really like the people I’m working with. They’re not doing anything that’s inherently irritating to me. So what’s happening here? And I realized that the irritability was actually just my anxiety manifesting itself as just me kind of being probably a terror to work with a few hours that morning.
[00:16:20] So, I went for a walk around the block and was thinking to myself, why am I so irritated with everyone? And came to realize it was just because I was extremely anxious about meeting the deadline. And understanding that the irritability was a product of anxiety then allowed me to say, okay, the need driving this anxiety is that I’m worried that we’re not going to hit the deadline. And so that then allowed me to go back and talk to people about what processes do we have in place? Do we need to make any cuts to make sure that we can actually hit this deadline? And that the work we do hand over is impeccable?
[00:16:54] And once I had a better understanding of where we were and had a lot more confidence, again, in getting all the work done on time, I realized I was no longer irritable. So, I think just, again, it’s… When we talk about emotions at work, it’s really about acknowledging everything you’re feeling and, and analyzing it so that you understand even when I go to the table to start expressing what I’m feeling, how do I do that and what’s really, what’s the action here that’s going to help me mitigate the hard feelings. And also make everyone around me feel better.
Wailin: [00:17:26] What is like a good practical approach to starting to process your emotions at work when you know you’ve got a lot on your plate and you will have, you know, like let’s say 25 to 50 small interactions a day. How do you go about kind of doing this thought process where you’re thinking about your needs, your emotions. The other person’s needs and emotions, you know while also getting your job done?
Mollie: [00:17:53] It can definitely feel overwhelming and I think it’s good to remember, too, that small chunks of time built into your day. While it may feel like, oh, I don’t have five minutes to do this right now, can actually save you time in the long run. Because if you don’t think about your emotions and others’ emotions, it’s not like that is fine and will never affect you again. Most likely that will come up in a larger issue that will end up taking a big chunk of time, if you don’t handle it in the moment. In the term of a larger conflict or a project that doesn’t go so well.
[00:18:32] The first thing I’d say is just scheduling in more heads down time into your day. So… so often we are booked half an hour, an hour back to back and you are still processing what happened in one meeting and then you go into another meeting. And so you have to immediately stop processing and then you go home and you’re with your family and then the first time that your brain really starts to process that is when you lie down and you’re trying to go to sleep. And we all have had that moment where then the brain starts to really churn right when you don’t want it to. And so there’s just some small hacks that we talk about in the book. So one is just ending your meetings like 5 to 10 minutes earlier and then taking that 5 or 10 minutes and either silently reflecting or going for a quick walk around your office. But just letting your brain have some downtime to process.
[00:19:25] Another is taking a Shultz Hour, which was named after a former secretary of state, Shultz, who scheduled an hour of his day, sorry, just out of his week, to reflect. No digital devices. No one was allowed to interrupt him and just pen to paper.
[00:19:40] And then I think also if it’s reflecting on not just your emotions but others’ emotions, trying to build that into the space of a project. So at IDEO we have something called flights and we do at the beginning, middle and end of every project pre, mid and post flight. And we get together and we have a neutral facilitator who is not on the team lead a series of questions about how everyone’s feeling and how we want to feel and how we want to work together. So, just dedicating the time for that is really important. Individually or with your team.
Wailin: [00:20:15] You also say in the book that every workplace has an emotional culture, which I think is really neat. And, you know, I was wondering, is there any way to assess a company’s emotional culture during the interview process or the job seeking process?
Liz: [00:20:34] Emotional culture is built around the seemingly small gestures and signals. For example, let’s say that you are interviewing at a company and you walk into the office, one thing to notice is what’s on the walls.
[00:20:49] So an example of an emotional culture that might be more about suppression or that doesn’t encourage so much healthy emotional expression is if in a break room there’s just a ton of signs that are scolding the employees thing. Like, don’t leave your trash here, don’t do this, don’t do that. And then compare that to you walk into a break room and there’s photographs of the employees from events or from a field day. That creates a very different environment. And again, it’s just like a small thing or seemingly small. And we talk a lot about that in the book, that these, again, seemingly small signals and gestures have a dramatic impact.
[00:21:27] Another one we like to talk about is when people are emailing you from the company, are they taking the time to spell your name correctly? So my name is, my full name is Elisabeth with an S, so E-L-I-S-A-B-E-T-H. And Mollie spells her name, M-O-L-L-I-E. It’s really nice when someone clearly has taken the time to just like glance up in the email, figure out how to spell your name correctly, and then actually spell it correctly. That really signals, We care about making you feel like you belong. And the other thing is just pronouncing names correctly. So, if someone before an interview, my last name Fosslien can be difficult to pronounce and I really appreciate it when people are like, oh, how do you say that? Can you, can you give that to me so that I make sure that I’m always pronouncing it correctly.
Mollie: [00:22:14] One other thing is that Adam Grant, writes about you can ask the question, tell me a story about something that would only happen here. So, like at IDEO we have… On Thursday we have something called make believe time, which where we have these creative activities like aromatic finger painting and writing group haiku poems and employees get really goofy and get creative. So, that is a great one-line question that you can always ask of an organization.
Wailin: [00:22:48] And then let’s say this person had a really good interview process and you know, got an offer and is now starting at this company. What advice would you give an entry level person, someone who was in the position you were many years ago at the consulting firm or at the startup. Kind of, knowing what you know now, what advice would you give an entry level person to say, here are some things you can do on the first six months to a year of being in a new job to kind of set up your emotional life in a healthy way. You gave some great tips earlier about having some downtime for reflection and stuff. Are there other things that someone could do? Maybe even they might be the only ones doing it in their workplace, but just kind of for their own like workplace self-care?
Mollie: [00:23:34] When you first start at a company, it can be hard to feel you have a sense of belonging and I think one way to combat that is that you can be proactive about reaching out to others. To eat together because eating together. We have this long, very primal tradition of like social glue and that’s when we talk about our emotions the most is for coffee breaks and meals between the meetings that we all can’t get out of because everyone when you’re new is happy to meet with you and they’re sort of like you said, there’s a six month window where it’s okay to ask people you don’t know to go out and have coffee and eat with you.
[00:24:10] And I think taking advantage of that, getting to know the emotional norms of an organization can be really difficult. And so trying to find people who you trust to ask the small questions. Like, how can I phrase this email so that it will come across as in tune with the emotion norms here at this organization and having that person read over the email before you send it. There’s just all these small nuances that can be very hard to pick up on and it can be nice to have a buddy who can help guide you through that.
Liz: [00:24:45] In the book we talk about this concept of creating a smile file, and it’s just a catchy name. But the basic idea is that any job, even if you love it and you love your coworkers, it’s going to be hard at times and you’re also inevitably going to need feedback to do better. This happened to me on my first job where at my first review I got overall positive feedback and then there were a few things that I needed to work on and I was devastated. I just couldn’t focus on anything besides that critical feedback.
[00:25:18] And so to help you understand that this is just a data point in your whole self and that it’s something you need to work on, but it’s not, you know, it shouldn’t destroy your self-esteem. We encourage people to create a folder and that can be in your email, it can be on your desktop, it can even be on your phone. And any time that you receive positive feedback or someone writes you an email thanking you for something, um, you just save that, screenshot it, write it down, however you can catalog it and put it in that folder. And so when you do receive a piece of critical feedback, you just go back through that folder and remind yourself of all the things you do well. And that allows you to really move past this knee jerk negative response and on to action and feeling motivated. Like, I am a good person. I’m generally competent. I completely have the ability to improve upon this one thing.
Wailin: [00:26:09] Thinking back to those early experiences you had where both of you ended up leaving your… the first jobs you had and kind of dealing with your stress and your anxiety after leaving those positions, knowing what you know now and having an of this enlarged toolbox… D0 you think that if you had this tool box then you would have been able to stay at those jobs and find a good place for yourself there? Or do you think that there was something in those work cultures that might have been broken enough where you’re kind of processing of your emotions would have led you to leave eventually?
Mollie: [00:26:54] Yeah, so for me, I think, um, I, I had only stayed at that job for a year when I left and the last six months who are like, I was counting down the days to be honest. So we talk a lot in the book about motivation and what are the different ways that you can motivate yourself even when you’re not thrilled with your job. Because we’re not saying that you should just quit no matter what. And, I mean, we both did after a time, but I think you can jumpstart your motivation internally. And so, I think had I known some of those things earlier on, I could have potentially stuck it out a little bit longer. So, one of the things that we talk about is how can you think about your work as a place of learning? There’s something called the Ikea effect, which is that if you put time and effort into something like putting together your Ikea furniture, you are willing to pay more for it than if you were to just purchase identical preassembled furniture from Ikea. And so the more time that we invest in our shelves and learning at work, the more we care about it. And I just, I think I was very much in the sense of I had just graduated. School was school and work was work, and I didn’t know how to think about, oh, maybe I could take a class on the side or maybe I could find a mentor within the organization to teach myself how to code or something like that to get there.
Liz: [00:28:21] For me, looking back, I would say one thing that sticks out is again, just how anxious I felt and how I wasn’t addressing that whatsoever. And I think I went into this job with the mentality of I’m an ambitious female and I just want to take over the world and succeed. And so my job is my everything right now, like in your early twenties, you should just be focused on work and building your career and your skillset. I did not cultivate a life outside of work as much as I should have. And so that made it feel when I was anxious about work, it felt overwhelming. It felt like my whole life was falling apart as opposed to, I think if I had, you know, maintained friendships more during that time or had hobbies or outside interests, and invested more time in that it wouldn’t have felt so overwhelming when I received critical feedback or maybe when I had a bad day at work.
[00:29:13] So, in the book, we really encourage people, you can’t be productive if you’re only ever working. And research shows that, you know, once you work more than 50 or 60 hours a week, your productivity just starts to dip pretty dramatically. So, that’s definitely something I wish I had done. And I try to practice now. I try to, on the weekends, you know, set aside time when I just will not be on a screen. And sometimes that’s really hard. I think, you know, because we are accessible 24/7, we often feel like we should be accountable or it’s hard to come back and see all these emails and not feel like, oh, I should have responded right away. But it’s, once you have carved out that time, you realize that the world doesn’t end. If you usually respond to an email on a Monday morning as opposed to a Sunday afternoon, it’s okay.
[00:30:02] People also appreciate, I always appreciate when I email someone and I don’t hear back until Monday because it feels nice. It feels like it also gives me space to breathe. So, that’s I think, again, just not letting your work become your everything is actually the key to being really happy and being able to stay in a job for a longer time.
[00:30:26] And one last thing I’ll say on that is I had a conversation with a friend recently and we were talking about this idea that so many of us have, especially I think early on in our careers where we say, when I get this promotion I’ll be happy. You know, or when I get this raise I’ll be happy. As opposed to what I’ve learned now is really when I’m happy I’m going to get that promotion. Because you’re just working from such a better bottom line. You’re healthier, you’re not likely to snap at your coworkers as much. You’re just able to manage your life in a much better way. So I think it really starts with how do you create a base life that, that fulfills you.
Wailin: [00:31:07] I really want it to end it on that note because it’s such a positive note, but I’m going to take us to a slightly awkward place for one second. Um, cause I did want to ask you, what was it like to work on this book during all of this Me Too stuff. Cause they feel like if you ever wanted example after depressing example of workplaces whose emotional culture is work fundamentally broken, it would be all of these Me Too revelations coming out and like across industries. Did that kind of factor into some of your thinking as you were putting the book together?
Mollie: [00:31:46] Yeah. It’s funny you say that because we actually had to take out a few different quotes that we had used from various men who kept getting called out during the Me Too movement. Like we had a Louis C.K. quote and we were like, eh, take that out. Take that example out. And you know, we thought a lot about like this is not a book about how to deal with discrimination or harassment. We wanted to touch it in a more indirect way because I think there’s a lot of great resources already out there. And just, the workplace is constantly changing. Whatever we wrote two years ago, by the time we got published, may or may not have been up to date. Um, but yeah, I think it’s a huge problem. In general, the workplace was designed by men, the workplace, the modern workplace, was designed in the 20th century for men who that was fair because they were mainly the ones working there.
[00:32:42] But now the workplace should not be designed for men. And we have to think about updating the structures and the norms. Just getting away from the Me Too movement for a second here. One of the big things we talk about is that both men and women need to think about how to express their emotions more. So that yes, traditionally, women have been seen as the more emotional sex are more in tune with our emotions. But, you know, especially when it comes to leaders, like we need men, male leaders, to be just as in touch with their emotions as female leaders. We all need to have more emotional fluency. And how do we get there?
Liz: [00:33:21] Both of us, again, have had these experiences where we felt like we couldn’t talk about our emotions and, and we couldn’t even acknowledge them to ourselves. And so we really hope that this encourages people to, I think, also just be kinder to themselves and understand that you can feel feelings and you can still be very professional and very successful.
Wailin: [00:33:39] Right. And I appreciate it too, as someone who’s like cried in the bathroom at every single job I’ve had.
Mollie: [00:33:45] I think we all have.
Wailin: [00:33:47] So much, so much crying in the bathroom.
Mollie: [00:33:50] And crying… I’ll just add one more thing. Crying—we talked about this in the book is something that has a lot of stigma around it, but that is not inherently bad. And crying means sometimes that we’re angry and so we’re expressing it like that. Or it also just means that we care a lot about whatever we’re doing. But, for whatever reason it’s been portrayed as, oh, you’re just sad and there’s stigma around it and go to the bathroom. But it’s something that is such a human reaction. And of course you should, you know, take the time you need to go settle yourself, but to not beat yourself up for crying. It’s really important that we remember that we’re humans. And that’s an okay response.
Liz: [00:34:31] Yeah. One organization actually that we heard of, they have a crying room in their office because they were just working on such intense… they were all in very emotionally, extremely emotional situations. And so I think that’s a great way of establishing a norm of, hey, we know that this work is going to affect you. We know that you might want to step aside and kind of express your feelings, you know, by yourself or maybe with one person at work that, that you feel very close to. But that’s okay. And we’re going to communicate that again by explicitly putting a sign on the wall that says crying room.
Wailin: [00:35:05] Or if you work from home like me, it’s just their whole house.
Liz: [00:35:09] Crying house.
[00:35:09] Broken By Design by Clip Art plays.
Shaun: [00:35:21] Rework is produced by Wailin Wong and me, Shaun Hildner. Our theme music is Broken By Design by Clip Art.
Wailin: [00:35:27] Special thanks to Ryan Kailath and Emile Klein for their help with this episode. You can find Liz and Mollie at their website, LizandMollie.com Mollie is spelled with an I-E at the end. You can also check out a lot of Liz’s fun illustrations at LizandMollie on Instagram. The book is called No Hard Feelings: The Secret Power of Embracing Emotions at Work, and my suggestion is to call up your local indie bookstore and ask if they have it. If not, I bet they will special order it for you. That’s my local bookstore does. Shout out to The Book Table in Oak Park, Illinois.
Shaun: [00:36:00] Uh, shout out to Women & Children First bookstore in Andersonville.
Wailin: [00:36:05] Also a great store. We did a whole episode on them.
Shaun: [00:36:07] Liz and Mollie talked about keeping a smile file and if you’d like to give us some fuel for the Rework smile file, please rate and review us on Apple Podcasts. It really helps the show and it’ll make us happy.
Wailin: [00:36:28] You have to do it in my voice though.
Shaun: [00:36:30] [inaudible falsetto]
Wailin: [00:36:30] Excuse me. You almost pulled a muscle trying to do my voice.
Shaun: [00:36:36] It’s too high.
Wailin: [00:36:37] My voice is not that high. It only gets high when I’m upset.
Shaun: [00:36:42] [Comically low voice] Well, it’s higher than mine.