Sometimes you run into a problem so tough, so awkward, so infuriating, you have to assemble all your best and brightest friends to vent, commiserate and figure it out.
That’s the idea behind our new segment, “The Group Chat.” We bring in friends of the pod to address your biggest money and job problems. For this first installment, we were joined by NPR’s Julia Furlan and Keisha “TK” Dutes of Glitch and “Hear to Slay.”
We recorded this episode live onstage at Werk It, the women’s podcasting festival from WYNC Studios, earlier this month at the Ace Hotel in Los Angeles. Here are a few edited highlights.
Warning: Contains expletives.
I really don’t like the way my boss operates, I don’t like how he treats people. And I’m really bad at hiding that. I’m worried that I can’t stay at this company because I can’t deal with my boss, but I don’t want to give up a good job. How do I deal with a shitty boss?
Julia Furlan: I would say that there’s two things that you should do. And one of them is deal with the situation that you have in front of you, which is learn to bring your best self even if you hate it. And even if it’s really hard for you, learning how to sort of take feedback and give feedback is ultimately part of any job that you’re going to ever have to do. And it’s not super fun, but it’s very valuable. And then the other one is try and find another job that you like better, because people feel like their job that sucks is the only thing in front of them, and they feel dedicated to working and fixing the solution. Sometimes you just gotta say goodbye to a certain job.
I have a co-worker who is routinely late at completing tasks. Everyone is aware, and I have complained to leadership. Our entire team changes due dates to leave her two extra days to be late and make the overall deadline. Our VP has suggested I speak with her directly when she’s late to let her know she hurts my workload. But as the only black woman on a team of creatives, I do not want to reprimand her at all. That is not my job. How do I keep my shit on time and popping when I have to depend on her?
Dutes: I name check them. Yeah, “Hi, blah, blah, blah. Jane is not sending her assets. I cannot continue until Jane sends her assets.” Send.
Furlan: In writing. I think that there’s some power to that. It seems like also there’s a management problem. Like, the exchange for your power as a VP? You have all this fucking power, you should do your job like everybody else is. And one of those things is delivering not-so-great messages. I hundred percent one-up what TK said about just like, it’s not your job as the only black woman on a team of creatives to suddenly manage this person who is fucking things up for everybody.
Dutes: Yeah. I think a lot of people don’t take into consideration cultural aspects of dealing with employees and co-workers. Like, where did we come from literally, right? Where does the culture come from? And the culture of being a black woman in the workplace is like I said, being a fixer, being a person that is always going to make sure shit gets done. And honestly, now in 2019, we’re realizing we don’t, we can just sit back and do our jobs. Right? That’s what I’m out here doing.
How do you deal with male co-workers who asked to work on your projects last minute after the majority of the work is done without sounding angry or ungrateful in front of your boss?
Dutes: OK, that feeling angry and ungrateful part? In front of my boss thing? That kind of like weirds me out, right? Because we’re at work. You pay me money. I do my job. I don’t worry about my anger or my gratefulness. I don’t feel grateful for something. I’m giving you my time. And you’re giving me money.
Furlan: There’s a really good line from “Mad Men,” which is “That’s what the money is for!”
Dutes: Exactly. I mean, if I have nothing that’s outstanding, then I have nothing for you. Right? OK. “Hey, Jared,” I don’t know why I named him Jared.
Khrais: Jared feels right.
Dutes: Yeah. I’m like, “Hey, Jared, I’m good. You know, we’re all lined up on this, thanks.” But if I do have something outstanding, it’s usually some grunt work or some BS or something that I don’t have the skills for. And it’s just not done. So guess who’s doing it? Jared.