Jet Fuel for Job Performance

In Working Assets: A Career Guide for Peers I wrote that “Your personality is your jet fuel.”

There’s no better jet fuel to enhance your performance on the job than using your unique perspective to create innovative strategies.

In the chapter Hope for Improvements in the Post-COVID Workplace I reiterated that today more than ever using your personality to find the right career is non-negotiable.

Can you and I afford to settle for less than full inclusion that allows us to show up on our jobs as our spectacular selves?

I’ve come to think that like Trudi Lebron wrote in The Antiracist Business Book “business is personal.” Forming human connections with coworkers and customers is imperative.

We will not thrive at work and traditional capitalism will fail in the post-COVID world if companies continue with business-as-usual.

If we cannot use our gifts and express our individuality on our jobs–two things that help us succeed everywhere we go–then it’s game over.

And the game of capitalism is over in 2022. The economy stalled precisely because the leaders of businesses couldn’t foresee the pandemic coming.

Those of us with the foresight to plan for the unexpected did better.

Peers with mental illnesses would ideally bring compassion for our company’s customers, loyalty to employers who treat us right, and stellar results for the firm.

Surviving and thriving when you have a hardship would give us the ability to persist in using novel approaches to solve a business problem.

The skills and strategies that peers use in our daily lives could indeed be the very Working Assets that will attract a forward-thinking employer.

Coming up a deeper dive into the mechanics of working at a “professional” job.

Using Individuality to Innovate

In Working Assets: A Career Guide for Peers I talked about different types of employment. Giving advice about working in an office as well.

The more I’m reading business books with a 2022 copyright date I plan on publishing a second career book within 2 years.

Issues exist in a lot of workplaces for those of us who are not “white cisgender male” employees.

Studying DEI-Diversity Equity and Inclusion practices covered in the 2022 business books gives guidelines for how to approach hiring and retaining workers who are happy to contribute their talents.

I’m of 2 minds: in Working Assets I advised that an office job is not the only job out there. I told readers to “Think outside the cubicle.”

Yet shouldn’t corporations “get with the program” in how they treat every employee? Enabling all of us to thrive in an office job. Why should we be forced to work elsewhere if we would like to work in an office?

My experience has been that a corporate office environment is not kind to us “beautiful dreamers” who think outside the narrow boxes we’re expected to fit in.

Research proves that companies with multi-racial workers who feel like they belong outperform the competition and skyrocket financially.

Not just the bottom line is what’s important. The wellbeing and financial security of the workers whose bottoms are warming chairs matters more.

Coming up I’m going to write a carnival of blog entries that link what I wrote in Working Assets to the guidelines given in the 2022 business books.

Focusing my lens on workers with mental illnesses.

We belong in a job environment where management recognizes that our individuality will drive innovation and achievement.

Disclosure Revisited

In my book Working Assets: A Career Guide for Peers I give clear-cut pros and cons of disclosing on the job.

In a podcast I viewed today titled Inside Schizophrenia the person talking said you most likely would not disclose to your coworkers on your first day on the job. Nor would you have to disclose at all given how the workplace is.

In the Inside Schizophrenia podcast the woman who was hosting the topic on dating with a mental illness told listeners point-blank that your personal style can elevate what people think of you.

I’ve been attacked for focusing on fashion and how dressing in style helped me recover in my memoir Left of the Dial.

The Inside Schizophrenia host was clear that how you dress can impress others. It can also help you feel great when you dress in stylish outfits.

For her she couldn’t wear prints or patterns because they set her off.

Fashion and style have long been ridiculed when women talk about these topics.

I urge you to reconsider using how you style yourself in clothes to help you come across as poised and professional on a job.

In the coming blog entries I’m going to talk more about disclosure and creating outfits to help you perform better on the job.

I will also talk in detail about something I wrote in one chapter in Working Assets about what to wear to work.

In my life I was the victim of an accidental disclosure on one of my jobs. Coworkers congratulated me when they found out I won a Volunteer of the Year award for my Mental Health Advocate work.

Not only that they discovered exactly why I won the award. This wasn’t my intent.

I still don’t think random disclosure to everyone everywhere is the way to go. And I stand by my assertion that the clothes I’ve worn have enabled me to get where I am today.

Coming up: What to wear on the job when you want to make a positive impression. And exactly how this can help you when you’re having a hard time on the job.

Covering Versus Being Candid

The concept of “covering” is one I will examine in detail in my second career book I’d like to publish within two years.

The question is whether someone with an “invisible” disability should be okay hiding in plain sight.

In Working Assets I examine the emotional cost of “living in a closet”–whatever it is you’re closeted in.

My story is out there in my memoir Left of the Dial, in my blogs, and on my author website.

I find it’s less of an issue to have people find out on their own. Rather than telling them outright.

My diagnosis in fact is an open secret. And I’m OK with this because “what you can’t see you can’t be.” My aim is to give others hope for healing.

All along since 2002 when I started my Advocate career I’ve believed that recovery is possible. In the face of being told that no one can recover at all.

What do you think? Have you disclosed and where and when and to whom?

Total Honesty Versus Too Much Information

In my just-published book Working Assets: A Career Guide for Peers Finding and Succeeding at a Job Living with a Mental Illness I give clear pros and cons of disclosing on the job.

This July 2022 I cohosted a Zoom workshop on Editorializing Lived Experience. The question arose: When does being honest veer into TMI–giving too much information?

As an Author and Advocate who keeps 3 different blogs I advance keeping private the things you don’t want to tell others. Nor should you tell others everything if you ask me.

Other bloggers rack up 15 or 16 “likes” with their kiss-and-tell blog entries. On the job it’s dice-y dishing about the details of your diagnosis.

In an ideal workplace coworkers would be free to get and receive support for whatever issue we’re facing whether emotional or otherwise.

The fact is what you tell one coworker might not be kept confidential between the two of you. I’m aware of a situation where another coworker was vocal in a public area about what one person told them in private.

This is the reality. Word gets around whether you want it to or not.

This is a decision we all face: what to reveal and what to keep private.

My preference is to choose carefully what I post in my blogs and what I tell people at work.

How do you feel about this?

Recovery Redefined

I’ve written elsewhere that you can use your pain as the catalyst for figuring out your life’s purpose.

In one section of a chapter in Working Assets I talk about opting to have a purpose-driven life.

People who exert their time energy and labor on “Keeping Up with the Joneses” are less happy. They go into debt buying things that make them appear rich.

In the Andrew Hallam book Balance: How to Invest and Spend for Happiness, Health, and Wealth he talks about the four quadrants of success:

Having enough money.

Maintaining strong relationships (with yourself and with others).

Maximizing your physical and emotional health.

Living with a sense of purpose.

It’s living with a sense of purpose that is key to flourishing in recovery.

I recommend you buy Balance to have on hand. It’s one of the great personal finance books.

Whether a person can hold a full-time job or not the difference is in doing things that give you joy every day.

One person might bake a cake. Another person might ride a skateboard.

I’ve come to redefine recovery not as only possible when a person returns to having a normal life.

Hello–I worked in corporate insurance offices in the 1990s and wasn’t thriving. Even though I technically recovered.

My purpose as I see it that gets me going is to advance my vision of recovery in two ways:

From whatever illness or distress or trauma is in a person’s life. In whatever guise recovery comes to them as.

Healing is possible and there’s hope for healing.

I’m fond of using the skateboarding analogy as a recovery lifestyle that could suit a person.

In Working Assets I also make the case for doing volunteer work when you can’t work at paid employment.

In my view we must expand the definition of what constitutes recovery.

If you ask me the four quadrants of success should be achievable for everyone regardless of what we’re in recovery from.

This is because It’s Not About the Money. It’s Not About Acquiring Material Things.

Plain and simple recovery is about finding what gives us joy and going and doing that.

On and off the job.

Finding the job that is the right fit can enable a person to recover.

My Too-Crazy Dreams

At 5 years old I told my mother I wanted her to buy me Silly Sand. I must have seen the kid’s product advertised on a cartoon show on TV. She didn’t want to. So I told her I was going to go out and buy it myself.

Mom should have known then she wasn’t dealing with a normal kid.

In college I toyed with having a double major in English and Business. Scrapping that idea I graduated on time in four years with a BA in English and a Minor in Marketing.

Since the 1980s I’ve known what a target market is. Having taken marketing, retailing, advertising, and consumer behavior courses.

As a professional librarian today I check out business books shelved in the 658s and books about the economics of business in the 338s.

I search for these books on the library catalog limiting the copyright date to the current year 2022. In one burst I placed on hold 13 business books that were published this year. They’re being sent to me all at once.

Though Working Assets has just been published my goal is bring out a second career book within two years. To give peers tons more competitive information that picks up where the first guide left off.

In June 1987 I had graduated from the local public university where I lived. That fall I had a breakdown and couldn’t go straight to work. My goal at the time was to obtain a full-time job and live independently apart from “the system.”

I was a radical to believe this was possible. At a time when others though recovery wasn’t possible.

At 23 years old I had no role models for what I wanted to do. Without a blueprint I was sent out into the world to make my way. After my failed first career in corporate insurance offices burst into flames I went back to school to obtain a Masters’ in Library and Information Science.

Your dreams are beautiful and so are you.

A friend once described me as “a beautiful dreamer.” In Emotion by Design Greg Hoffman is a cheerleader for beautiful dreamers like me who ask “What if?”

Long before I read this in his book I had written a blog entry telling followers to keep asking “What if?” and “Why not?”

Reading Emotion by Design I’ve become hot to celebrate the distinct voices of the peers who are in my target market.

It’s 2022. Too late in the history of America to not speak out on the things that matter to us. Publishing Working Assets was my humble attempt to create economic justice for peers who traditionally were shut out of the workforce.

That’s a tall order for one person to undertake. I’m a tiny person with a loud mouth. I’m also Sicilian–so it makes sense that I would be stubborn and think I could do this.

In coming blog entries I want to give a human and person-centered spin to my belief that recovery is possible for the peers I’m writing blog entries and books for.

I was a person who believed in myself when no one else did. With the support of my family, therapist, and doctor I defied the odds.

Giving others hope for healing and having your version of a full and robust life has been my motivation for everything I do as an Advocate.

The UNCF had TV commercials in the 1970s that touted: “A mind is a terrible thing to waste.” A life is a terrible thing to waste too.

In the coming blog entries I’m going to touch on the theme of recovery in more detail.

Earning by Learning

Though I’m an Advocate for mental health and other social justice issues I think Conscious Capitalism shouldn’t be written off as a viable economic engine for businesses and workers and individuals alike.

The founder of the Container Store wrote the book Conscious Capitalism. If I remember right he coined this term.

Another author has written a scathing expose of Nike. His book allegedly corroborates that Nike’s sponsorship of student athletes caused the rise of rapes on campus.

Going back years ago Nike was also excoriated for their sweatshop scandal involving workers who sewed their clothes.

Taking this as it might be and has been I was compelled to read the book in the photo despite the fact that Nike isn’t infallible.

Greg Hoffman the author is a biracial man whose father is Black and mother is white. His adoptive parents were white and encouraged his love of art and sports from an early age. After meeting both birth parents and their families it clicked where he got his innate art talent from: His birth sister was a graphic designer too. And his grandmother was an artist who painted.

No–I don’t like to single out people along the lines of their race. Yet the facts of who Gregg Hoffman is and what he stands for deserve a call-out. He rose from being an intern at Nike to becoming their Chief Marketing Officer. In a 27-year career with the company that spanned breakthrough product campaigns.

The number-one principle Hoffman espouses is that through storytelling you can build a brand by making customers feel they are a part of the story. Treat them as humans and appeal to their emotions to create a fervor for your product.

One of the Nike campaign videos that I viewed circa 2017 left a lasting impression on me. The message of the video played into having empathy for your customers.

As a brand marketer (and as an ordinary human being) you need to step outside yourself to understand the experiences of others.

The video in question provoked a lot of people’s ire. Colin Kaepernick is narrating the idea that the dreams of your youth should not be abandoned when you become an adult.

The theme of the video was Dream Crazy.

The last thing Kaepernick says in the video is: Don’t ask if your dreams are crazy. Ask if they’re crazy enough.

Those last two sentences inspired me to dare greatly.

I recommend you buy Emotion by Design or check it out of the library.

In the coming blog entry I’m going to tell my story. I was crazy enough to think recovery was possible at a time when everybody thought it wasn’t.

7 Ways to Thrive in a Painful Job

I understand what it’s like to work at a painful job. Too I know what it’s like to love your job. Then to fall out of love and view the exit door as a great escape.

In my experience three prime reasons exist as to why a job can be painful:

The type of work. Robotic, boring, or monotonous.

The type of management. Abusive, money-hungry, inhuman.

The type of coworkers. Rude, nasty, back-stabbing.

Getting a new job might not be possible or necessary.

What to do when you’ve lost the loving feeling for what you do?

Prioritize seeking happiness.

What gives me joy is reading nonfiction books that help me achieve my life goals.

Research the firms in Fortune’s Yearly 100 Best Companies to Work For(r).

See what their hiring practices are and how you can sell yourself as an attractive future worker there.

Have an active social life.

Go on meetup.com to find a wealth of group events. In NYC you can join the #1 New York Shyness and Social Anxiety Network, for instance. They offer support groups, movie nights, and Zoom workshops.

Consider making a “lateral move” to a different position in the same company.

Here is where you can do new things. Years ago I transferred to a new location.

Volunteer to do new things in your current job.

Three years ago I signed on to mentor teen interns.

“Dress Your Best Life” like the title of the Dawnn Karen book.

Licensed therapist Karen has a practice focused on fashion psychology. According to her, how you dress can alter or amplify your mood. I try to dress extra sharp to rocket how I feel.

Fund your retirement as sky-high as possible.

This way you can afford to go out the exit door. Sooner rather than working into your old age.