Podcast

In this episode of The Forum Podcast, Dr. Jessica Isom explores specific strategies and tools to support young people of color transitioning into the workplace.

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This podcast provides mental health and wellbeing tips and guidance to young people of color who are transitioning into the workforce. Topics will include peer networks and support, the need to seek assistance, identification of symptoms, and managing stress and anxiety with a focus on both early career and race based stressors in the workplace.

Learning Outcomes
  • How to access and build peer support networks
  • How to recognize distress in yourself and others
  • How to proactively manage early career stress, race based stress and performance anxiety

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Transcript

The following is an uncorrected transcript generated by a transcription service. Before quoting in print, please check the corresponding audio for accuracy.

Speaker: [00:00:00] The Forum on Workplace Inclusion 2021 podcast series is sponsored by Best Buy. More diversity in tech means more ideas that can change the world. Learn more at bestbuy.com/moreofthis.

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Something big is coming to a world of unknowns. Take the first step towards tackling inequities worldwide known by visiting forumworkplaceinclusion.org/ 2022. Thank you to all our listeners and subscribers. You help support the growth of the podcast and reach new listeners. If you like what you’re hearing on The Forum podcast, please consider writing a review on Apple Podcasts or wherever you listen to your podcasts. If you’ve already written a review. Thank you. Please consider sharing our podcast with a friend, family member, or a colleague that you think might find value in the content. Word of mouth is the best way the form grows. Thank you very much for listening and sharing. Thanks again, and enjoy the show.

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Ben Rue: Hello and thank you for tuning into The Forum on the workplace inclusion podcast series brought to you by Best Buy I’m Ben Ru program manager here at The Forum. We’re really looking forward to today’s podcast, Strategies and Tools to Support Successful Transitions of Young People of Color Into the Workplace, with Dr. Jessica Isom of Yale School of Medicine. This workshop provides mental health and wellbeing tips and guidance to young people of color who’re transitioning into the workforce. Topics will include peer networks and support, the need to seek assistance, identification of symptoms, and managing stress and anxiety with a focus on both early career and race-based stressors in the workplace. In this episode, listeners will learn how to access and build peer support networks, how to recognize the stress in yourself and others, and how to proactively manage early career stress, race-based stress, and performative anxiety.

Dr. Jessica Isom, MD MPH is a Steve Fund mental health expert. Dr. Isom is a board-certified community psychiatrist and clinical instructor in [00:02:00] Yale’s Department of Psychiatry. She primarily works in Boston as an attending psychiatrist at Codman Square Health Center, and with Boston Medical Center, Psychiatry Emergency Services. She received her MD from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where she also received her MPH with a focus on public health leadership. She currently serves as a member of the American Psychiatric Association Assembly representing early career psychiatrists where her contribution center on eliminating the need for health equity in organized psychiatry.

She has also been elected to the Councillor Position for the Massachusetts Psychiatric Society, where her focus on social justice and health equity provides an opportunity to improve the care provided to marginalized populations in the state. She continues to work with the Yale Department of Psychiatry residency program as a faculty track consultant leader for the social justice and health equity curriculum.

Her professional interests include working towards eradicating racial and ethnic mental health disparities, mitigating the impact of implicit racial bias on clinical care, and the use of a community-based population health approach in psychiatric practice. Her anti-racism teaching highlights the history of medical racism, interpersonal challenges, and interracial attractions, and provides a language for naming and responding to racism at multiple levels. She currently is working as a diversity equity and inclusion consultant and facilitator for individuals, nonprofit organizations, and private companies.

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Ben Rue: Hello, thank you so much for being here, Dr. Isom, and for being part of our 2021 podcast series, I’m really, really looking forward to this particular topic.

Dr. Isom: Yes. I’m glad to be here and hoping to offer some helpful information and context for the listeners.

Ben Rue: Being part of a university [00:04:00] and a very diverse university, it’s really important to get this information out there, this content out there to help our students who are going to be joining the workforce so without further ado, let’s hop on in. First question, what would you say is important for young professionals of color to think about as they enter the workplace?

Dr. Isom: It’s a good question and a really relevant question. I know you went over my bio, but I’ll say as far as making transitions into the workplace, I’ve done that three times as a young professional, first from college into medical school, then from medical school into residency, and then from residency into my job now as a psychiatrist. The transition period it’s been a very big part of my career so far. I like to think about it as focusing on what will I need to be successful and also what will I need to feel comfortable in the workplace?

A few things that come to mind are focusing on developing a level of competence in the workplace about what you’re expected to do and how you’re expected to perform. Focusing on developing credibility, translating what you do into others, trusting that you’re able to do those things, trusting what you have to say and what your suggestions are. Then also focusing on developing competence and people get that confidence from a number of different places.

For me, for example, it’s reading a lot of stuff, doing lots of homework to just feel comfortable that I know what I’m talking about before speaking, so competence, credibility, and confidence are really huge, but I would say the biggest thing I would underline is thinking about relationships and like capital R. The relationships piece is some people can be successful in the workplace as people who don’t really value social relationships as much [00:06:00] but even if you’re not a social creature, you still need those relationships to thrive basically. A lot of the time I am looking for who’s here, how might I categorize who’s here? Are they early careers? Are they mid-career or they late career? Are they nice or not nice?

Ben Rue: Also important.

Dr. Isom: Beyond nice or not nice, I also asked myself who’s popular in the workplace and why? Are they popular because they’re a person I shouldn’t be trying to establish a mentorship relationship with or peer relationship with or are they popular for other reasons? Because I really want to know who’s going to be good for me and not so good for me and popularity won’t always answer the question for you at face value.

Ben Rue: It’s important to be well-liked in the office, but it’s like, why? It’s like, are you popular for being a good person, or are you popular because you manipulate people? Our next question, with peer support networks, how are they formed and what purpose do they serve?

Dr. Isom: It’s interesting because the way I will answer this question is informed by the fact that I am a young professional Black woman specifically. The way that I view peer support networks is that a lifeline. I don’t know if other demographics might view them as optional or something that might be interesting to establish versus essential. Being a person of color in the workplace, depending on where you are, you might have access to a more diverse workforce around you with racial, ethnic, diversity, and other forms. A lot of the time, specifically as a person of color and more specifically as a Black person in the workplace, you usually are one of the few, if not the only so you’ll face challenges specific to that. It’s so [00:08:00] important for that reason to be thinking about how to build a network, both within the workplace and outside of it.

I can say all of my transitions, there’s the natural forming where we’re in a room, you look around for another person that seems like you, and you start a conversation and that can lead to lots of things that can lead to getting coffee or during a happy hour, or they might invite you to something that they knew about locally or vice versa but there’s a lot of other ways to form those relationships and it requires you to be a bit more proactive and just showing up to a meeting.

One of the things that you can do, for example, is just see what’s available in the workplace. They might have these groups called employee resource groups. They sometimes have different names, but they’re organized by affinity relationships and so it could be by your racial, ethnic identity. It could be how you arrived in the country. It could be your gender identity. It could be a number of different things but the people in the group are typically homogenous, and in that there’s some differences in their experiences but there’s a shared connection around that particular identity. In a really good workplace, they’re investing in those groups, that means getting only money, but time, attention, and access.

That means that you’re getting face time with people who make decisions, who allocate resources, who can listen to and be responsive to what you have to say about your experiences. For people who are differently social, and I say this because there are many people I work with as a psychiatrist but also who I know who have social anxiety, who might say, I’m not really sure if I want to go to that evening event or attend that lunch because it feels really uncomfortable to be there. I would encourage those people to figure out how to carve out some time to really be intentional [00:10:00] about those opportunities because that can be the one place where you get the FaceTime you need to get the things that you need in the workplace.

Another example of what requires us to be social, which can be hard for some of us is going to conferences but I am a conference extraordinary [chuckles]. I’ve been to so many conferences which is a financial stream. Some of the conferences I’ve paid for others, I’ve gone on travel awards or scholarships, which include not only the conference fee being covered but also lodging and hotel. At these conferences is where you meet other peers but also you can potentially establish mentorship relationships as well. I would say another thing to think about is how do you network with people and what does that mean? What does it look like and how to be successful? Because you could go to the conference and not do anything or you could go there and be a networking star so that’s another huge opportunity to develop those peer networks.

The benefit of that is that you’re in the loop. A lot of times opportunities come from word of mouth, it could be opportunities for advancement in the workplace, it could be opportunities to do a leadership position in an organization. A few of my positions have come from someone just knowing who I was and saying, “Hey, this is this position, this is a deadline. Do you want to go for this? I’ll write you a letter of recommendation.” I was like, “Okay.” [laughs] I would have no idea that this opportunity was possible without that relationship. I would really see it as like getting your tentacles for lack of a better word out there through those relationships into spaces and places that you wouldn’t otherwise have access to.

Ben Rue: That’s such a great point and good networking, and [00:12:00] social capital is what I call it is so important for getting ahead especially for young professionals of color. I remember going to a fundraiser for the Alan Page Fund a couple of years ago. There was this Black mother with her eight-year-old son who was so confident in the space. You’d think he was an executive in his thirties. He was shaking hands, talking to people, being able to like maintain a conversation way better than an eight-year-old should. I asked his mom and she was like I make it a point to take him to places like this, to take him to these networking places and train him to make him comfortable doing this because this is how you’re going to be able to get ahead in life, is making these connections and impressing people with your social skills.

Just actually, which inspired me to want to start a nonprofit to specifically train young POCs, how to network properly and then get them into these spaces where they’ll make the right connection either through and provide scholarships for them to go to these because they’re cheap. Networking is not cheap and going to conferences is also not very cheap. We had The Forum have our annual conference which I hope to see you at someday [laughs]. A large part of why people go to it is to be able to make these connections, especially being in DEI which is such a small industry. It’s growing but there’s still you’re often the one person in your company put [00:14:00] in charge of DEI.

Many people just go like love the networking, love the opportunity to convene with their peers and also have then from connections they made at the conference then with people that had never known before they start working with them and the next year they were proposing us workshop together based off that connection. Yes, I love that and it is very, very important, and also ERGs are also so great. It’s so great to see them finally, really taking off and really being acknowledged and starting to take it seriously and not just like fun social groups but a place where you can actually form very important and vital connections that help people, especially POC or marginalized groups in the workplace, really find that connection that helps them through the day. That’s my rant [laughs].

Dr. Isom: Yes. I appreciate it for a few different reasons. One. There’s this show on YouTube called Awkward Black Girl.

Ben Rue: Oh yes. [laughs] You might’ve heard of that.

Dr. Isom: I am an awkward Black girl so like that is me. I think– if someone were to meet me now and I– the four years of college, the four years of medical school actually five and then four years of residency, I’m young but I’ve done all of the things in that time in a very concentrated way. People meet me now, they might be like, “Oh my God, she must have gone to networking school.” No. I awkward Black girl my day through all of these different things and it really was just through exposure. There would be people who would talk to me, I didn’t know what they were talking to me for or ask them for or why they thought that I would do with this thing that they were offering, which is sometimes in some ways was actually offering to establish a relationship with me, but I couldn’t even tell that that was what was happening to even take advantage of it.

Fumbling around and figuring it out is very much what I do and I think it’s important to be transparent about that because if people were to meet me now, they would say, “Wow, that really is just from just doing it over and over again.” It’s still something I’m learning how to do. The other thing I’ll say is for parents out there, a lot of my networking was done with the baby. I have a three-and-a-half-year-old. For the last three and a half years and also while I was pregnant, I was a parent networker. [laughs] I brought my baby everywhere. A large part of this too is acknowledging that people do have some stigma towards parents going to conferences and different events but that has shifted too in the past couple of years with a pandemic to where it’s a lot more accepted. For anyone who’s a parent out there trying to figure out, “Well, how can I manage this?” At least before they begin to talk, it’s okay to bring our babies to these things because it can actually help you network because people will see the cute little baby [laughs].

Ben Rue: Exactly. What a great way to start a conversation unless they’re crying. [laughs] You mentioned with the pandemic and how– one positive I think that has come from the pandemic is that a lot of things have moved to virtual, which has made them more accessible for parents to go to more financially accessible. Our conference went virtual for the first time last year and which it was really great. We were able to get people from around the world who wouldn’t have been able to access it before, if not for either the ticket price but also the price of airfare and hotel and we do offer scholarships but there’s still like airfare. We don’t cover airfare so it’s still not feasible for a lot of people. [00:18:00] Largely because of that we decided to stick to virtual again this year because it helped with our mission of being accessible. Moving right along, how can someone recognize signs of significant stress? As you said alt networking can be very stressful and socializing and getting ahead and especially when you’re new in the workforce. How can you recognize significant stress in themselves and others? Are there aspects that often go unnoticed?

Dr. Isom: Yes. It’s interesting because in the transitions, which is why I love theSteve Fund because they proactively talk about– in their offerings, the fact that this is something that you’re going to have to deal with so both naming the stress but also offering some strategies for what to do about it. Because it’s very interesting that these very intense work environments often don’t [laughs]. There’s a culture of silence and an initiation into that culture of silence around all of the human responses to the work environment which clearly is not healthy. You might notice that there are things that are normalized and medicine is terrible. I skipped breakfast and then I just, “Ah, I didn’t make it for lunch.” I didn’t actually catch dinner, I just had peanut butter and crackers but all that matters today is that I got my test done.

Ben Rue: Yes.

Dr. Isom: No.

Ben Rue: Oh no. I was like, “It’s very familiar with DEI non-profit world too.” Mission-driven work. People are just like, well, just destroy their bodies and put themselves through the wringer in order to do the work.

Dr. Isom: Exactly. Yes. Now I understand you.

[laughter]

Ben Rue: That’s not the T. [laughs].

Dr. Isom: What destroying your body? What does [00:20:00] that look like? Because it’s so normal that you might not even recognize it, especially everybody else is also experiencing it.

Ben Rue: Yes.

Dr. Isom: Your body can definitely shut down. When your body shuts down, it’s doing it because it needs to. That might mean that you’re sleeping more, that you’re eating all the terrible things that you wouldn’t ordinarily eat. That you don’t want to talk to people. You don’t want to be around people and find it very hard to do the things that you used to enjoy doing. The lens through which you view the world can become more critical, negative gloomy. You might notice that in your interactions with people you’re more irritable.

Physically, the things that we can shrug off like body aches and pains, that don’t really make sense, headaches like feeling physically tired, feeling physically tense, and different muscle groups. If we think about those things in isolation, as opposed to grouping them all together, we could come up with a bunch of different reasons for why those things might be happening that does not include stress. If you’re walking into the situation thinking about, well, how is stress going to show up for me today? That’s like an entirely different approach than let me just make it through this day. Am I stressed? Not really sure, but I don’t have to think about that.

Ben Rue: Like these muscle aches, but it’s like, oh, I’m just in my thirties. Everything’s hurt now. [laughs]

Dr. Isom: Right, which is like no, no, no.

Ben Rue: [laughs] What? It’s what I’ve been telling myself.

Dr. Isom: It can escalate from there and it can get to the point where I know people talk about burnout and it’s interesting because I don’t know many places that don’t produce burnt out people. It’s like an expectation in most work environments that you’re going to experience some burnout unless they’ve really thought about what it means to have a healthy workforce. With that said, it’s really important to think about, well, where do these like stress reactions transition to [00:22:00] something that actually deserves more than putting good food in your body and exercise and maybe getting sunlight, but that might require you to have conversations through like the employee assistance program where you might meet with a counselor or for some people who walk in the door with existing challenges like an anxiety disorder or depression or anything else, they might have to be much more proactive and establish a relationship with the support before they even go to make sure that they can keep an eye on things and sustain themselves. We don’t talk about stress as much, I think because there’s just this culture of silence around stress being something that humans experience and should be doing something about.

Ben Rue: It is hard to talk about the stress and often when you do, you’re brushed off. There’s definitely multiple kinds of stress and one of the stresses, especially that young POC faces race-based stress. What makes race-based stress different from other types of stress?

Dr. Isom: In most conversations about stress people are thinking about an isolated incident, so I have this test coming up or I have this really big project I have to finish or something is happening, an event in the world that is very stressful. It’s usually able to be identified as something that’s discrete. Whereas race-based stress it’s all-encompassing in lots of ways. It’s past, present, and future. Overall what I’m saying is that it’s chronic. There’s the race-based stress of history. The legacy of that is what’s been passed down and then there’s everything that you’re experiencing in the present moment.

Then all the things that you’re anticipating you might experience in the future. One of the really big things [00:24:00] about race-based stress is that just like other forms of stress, it is exhausting but unlike other forms of stress, there’s an even larger silence. Even like a taboo nature to talking about how your racialization produces that kind of stress. People will be very invalidating at times, dismissive of it, and even hostile towards your offering that they could be contributing to that race-based stress themselves, so it’s really hard to talk about.

Ben Rue: Yes, you don’t want to be perceived as always using the race card or like being the angry Black person in the office. Which in itself is so stressful that like expressing any kind of emotion in fear of being viewed in this way. You’re just like suppressing everything and just internalizing it. As Black man in a predominantly white field, all of my industries have been, it’s definitely so hard to deal with that kind of stress because there are a lot of people that are like, “Oh, it wasn’t about race or, oh you’re being too sensitive. Why are you always bringing up race?” I’m glad we’re having this conversation for young people going into the workplace.

Dr. Isom: It’s a few things. I remember this guy, this white man in a conversation around DEI talking about walking on eggshells in the office. I was like, “Oh, that’s interesting.” What I offered was that you are likely walking on eggshells for the first time and everyone else around you [00:26:00]and there may be other identities that this person had that might contribute to their eggshell experience, but those weren’t unexpressed, so just rooted in their gender and their race, the eggshell is typically or others responsibilities. What these conversations on micro and macro aggressions are asking people is to be accountable to how they operate in this space. That feels like walking on eggshells but in a justice-oriented way [chuckles].

Ben Rue: Yes. It’s a lot of people being held accountable for the first time or being held to the standards that other people are held to in their office that they’ve never had to worry about because of their position of power traditionally in offices. It reminds me of Henry Cavill, the actor, during the height of The Me Too Movement made this comment like, “Oh, like I’m afraid to date now because I’m afraid that like a woman will accuse me or something.” He’s like, “I’m walking on eggshells around women now.”

Well, that’s just people being held accountable for the first time. This is like, if you’re not doing something wrong, you shouldn’t be worried but at the same time, you shouldn’t be too worried to ask questions. That’s another thing I think people are just like, “Oh, I’m afraid I’m going to say the wrong things. I’m not going to say anything at all or I’m not going to avoid that colleague of color just because I’m afraid of saying something offensive to them.” It’s just like, no, don’t do that but just be willing to listen if you do and be willing to be educated.

Dr. Isom: The thing is I’ve done some presentations for corporate folks on how DEI [00:28:00] and anti-racism relates to workplace wellbeing. I came across this really interesting book that essentially talked about how the workplace is killing us a little bit morbid but.

Ben Rue: Yes, no it is. [laughs]

Dr. Isom: It made it in this way that more people can understand. It looked at the data and it compared experiences of marginalization and the health outcomes as far as like heart disease just to cigarette smoke and marginalization of the workplace being on the margins, being ignored, dismissed and validated, not valued is equivalent to second-hand smoke exposure. If people were thinking about this eggshells concept, as I am walking on eggshells to save a few additional years of someone having a heart attack or extend their life expectancy by a few years as more of like an altruism exercise, as opposed to woe is me narcissistic view of that.

I think it would, it would be something people would be all hands on deck a lot for, and that is why for the stress conversation, it’s really helpful for not only people of color to know what race-based stress is and how it affects them, but for everybody to know because there are like psychological and physical consequences to that stress. It’s a lot for people to have to manage while also still perform.

Ben Rue: Yes. That’s actually a perfect lead for my next question, which is where does psychological safety fit into the experience of both early career stress and race-based stress?

Dr. Isom: Yes. It actually connects to something you said about how people respond to these conversations around DEI, antiracism, microaggressions, those sorts of things, and they might respond with, I’m not going to talk to these people anymore. The thought I had was, “Well, what you’re actually saying is that you’re going to close yourself off from learning.” [00:30:00] That’s what you’re saying, and there’s a really cool psychological safety framework from this researcher, Timothy Clark, and there’s a book that they wrote as well on this, and it has four different components to it, and one of those is actually learner safety.

Learner safety is if you think about a baby or a toddler, is the ability to be in an environment and do what they do, which is they crawl, they sniff, they poke around and lift things up, they venture out into situations, and they do that because there’s a space that allows them to learn something new, or to like, look for something different, and that’s not a fun space when that space includes the potential for harm but that’s the space that we exist in.

Learner safety in this context will mean that everyone’s on deck with being open to learning opportunities, and also creating SAP for others to learn. That means, maybe at some point, there won’t be eggshells for anyone, if an ideal sense, learner safety was precedent because there wouldn’t be retaliation for us being curious about wanting to know something. That’s one piece. The other piece of it is collaborator safety and again, this one talks about relationships, feeling safe to be with your colleagues, and to be free and unconstrained in ways that allow you to do your job, and race-based stress is largely rooted in being in a container that doesn’t allow you to be unconstrained.

You have to watch your tone, you have to get your facial expressions, you have to decide whether or not to respond to something that was offered, that was racist, or any of the other things. Collaborator safety means I’m in a workplace where, my colleagues are aware of these things having an impact on the relationship, and being held accountable to that, and I can just fully participate [00:32:00] in the dialogue without having to do much self-monitoring.

Then the other piece of that, the third piece is challenger safety, and this is a huge one, because a lot of times this if it’s not present, means there’s retaliation as a culture in the workplace. There’s challenger safety, I can speak up about something that’s going wrong or offer some feedback because I have permission to do so knowing that I won’t be suffering consequences as a result of that, and that’s both between people and also in the culture of the organization, and I can underline that one a million times because much of what I do in the workplace is challenged. I mean, disrupt, critique, offer feedback, and safety is not always there. A lot of the race-based stress reactions for me personally come from challenging something and then ducking.

[laughter]

Ben Rue: Running and cover.

Dr. Isom: It really happens and my body is sweaty, my heart is racing. I’m literally terrified after I offered a comment in a discussion. I’m like, “What?” [laughs] I’ll stop there.

Ben Rue: Oh, no, I was going to say it’s doubly, I want to say scary, or for you as not only a person of color but a woman of color, challenging things in the workplace. I have cis male privilege, which often helps but yes, as a woman of color, challenging things in the workplace must be extraordinarily stressful. Yes, I completely understand why you would be sweating and your heart would be [00:34:00] racing. I mean, I’d duck behind a desk.

Dr. Isom: That’s another benefit to the virtual space is that a lot of that stress reaction can be covered up. I somewhat related, wrote a piece about this on Medium, it’s called, When Anti-racism Becomes Trauma because I realized that people were not getting access to what was happening on the other side of the screen, and I wanted to share it. The other thing I’ll say is that, with the early career aspect of is to generationally, we are collective, more I want to say more because we often have a skewed view of the past, but I’ve heard other people say this, who are from prior generations, we do the challenge and are more vocal and say things differently, versus prior generations.

Even as an early career person figuring out challenger safety is key, distinct from the race-based stress part of it. I would definitely make sure that we’re having conversations around what it means to challenge how to know if it’s safe what to do if it’s not, because we just have lots of insights to offer, and we are offering them in lots of things.

Ben Rue: Yes, and, again, thank you for coming here and offering your insights. This has been such a wonderful conversation. I know it’s going to help many young people entering the workplace, and especially young POC people. Thank you so much. I’m sorry to say that this is our last question because I really genuinely enjoyed this conversation so much. I think it’s a really great question to end on, and it’s a three-parter. What are some proactive ways to manage early career stress, race-based stress, and performance anxiety?

Dr. Isom: I will say I got connected to the Steve Fund [00:36:00] and I am jealous because the answers I have are directly overlapping with the recommendations that they came up with. They basically created this crisis response Task Force, and they have recommendations for what is needed for us in the workplace. Focusing on the transition period, helping us navigate the workplace, thinking about the organization’s culture, and how they might audit that to get a better sense of what’s working, what’s not.

Also thinking about racial trauma, like connecting that to how we can be well in the workplace, and then figuring out how to develop relationships, and all that overlaps with these three prompts. The first one for early career stress, I would say, which I’ve said before, that you have to normalize, anticipate that you’re going to experience that stress, and the main thing to do is to establish relationships because those connections can help you with those serving as an outlet for you a resource for you, and for you building those peer and mentor networks that you need to help guide you around in the workplace.

That will connect you to those three things I mentioned before, which is credibility, confidence, and competence, which you need. Then for race-based stress, again, normalize and anticipate that that’s going to happen but a really huge thing is that we spend a lot of time with ambiguity. Was that racist? Was that not racist? I’m not really sure. Developing racial literacy, which just means understanding how racism will manifest itself at multiple levels can support you during those moments when you’re just not sure how to describe your experience, put language to it, and know what to do. Then the last thing for race-based stress, I love this toolkit from Boston University. It’s called hashtag racial trauma is real, and it includes a racism recovery plan, which we should all have next to our mirrors for those of us who look at mirrors, that can help–

Ben Rue: I love mirrors.

[laughter]

A little bit more before the pandemic, and all the COVID eating [00:38:00] but still.

[laughter]

Dr. Isom: I know now, it’s like not so much, but that recovery can be really helpful because you don’t have to reinvent the wheel every single time, you write down what you need to do and how you might monitor yourself. Then for the last one, performance anxiety, which is pretty huge. I know it sounds corny, but I promise you it’s helpful, affirmations. Affirmations are the statements that you say to yourself that can remind you who you are, what you’re about what you’ve accomplished, those are helpful, and then breaking down each performance into pieces, because a really helpful thing is to say that you’ve accomplished something. If you just say, I’m going to break this down into part one, part two, and part three, then as you accomplish each of those pieces that can reduce your anxiety throughout their performance, and I’ve found that particularly helpful for me. That’s my two cents.

Ben Rue: Thank you much for that and affirmations are not that corny. Actually, two podcasts before this was with Brittany Harris of The Winters Group, but she also has a podcast and a whole like a card series like Love Letter affirmations to yourself. That is something also to check out because you actually have and specifically for African Americans in the workplace in predominantly white workplaces, but awesome. Thank you so much for these wonderful interviews, great conversation. I thank you so much for being part of our 2021 podcast series.

Dr. Isom: You’re welcome. Take care, everybody, and get rest and be well.

Ben Rue: Thank you. Thank you so much to Dr. Isom for that wonderful podcast, and thank you to our listeners for joining and our sponsor Best Buy. To learn more, you can email Dr. Isom directly at visionforequity@gmail.com. New [00:40:00] episodes of The Forum podcasts are available at forumworkplaceinclusion.org/podcast. You can also find our podcasts on Apple Podcast, Spotify, Anchor, and Stitcher. Thank you again for listening. Have a great day.

Male Speaker: Thank you again for listening to The Forum and Workplace Inclusion Podcast. Don’t forget to subscribe to a podcast to get updates and the latest episodes. Also, tell us what you think by reviewing our podcast, we’d love to hear your feedback. For more information visit us at forumworkplaceinclusion.org or search Workplace Forum on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Thank you very much and have a great day.

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The Forum on Workplace Inclusion Podcast is recorded at Augsburg University in Minneapolis, Minnesota. One of the most diverse private colleges in the Midwest, Augsburg university offers more than 50 undergraduate majors and nine graduate degrees to 3,400 students of diverse backgrounds at its campus in the vibrant center of the twin cities and nearby Rochester, Minnesota location.

Augsburg educates students to be informed citizens, thoughtful stewards, critical thinkers, and responsible leaders. In Augsburg, education is defined by excellence in the liberal arts and professional studies guided by the faith and values of the Lutheran church and shaped by its urban and global settings. Learn more at augsburg.edu.

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