Zach and Ade celebrate Living Corporate’s 1-year anniversary in this very special episode! They reflect on everything that’s led up to this point, read a few user reviews, and so much more. Ade also shares her personal journey navigating the STEM field for the first time.
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Zach: What’s up, y’all? It’s Zach.
Ade: And it’s Ade.
Zach: And you’re listening to Living Corporate. Now, listen, it’s a really–what’s the word? A special episode, and I feel like there should be, like, some “Tony! Toni! Toné!” playing.
Ade: Why though?
Zach: It’s our anniversary. Not you and I. Well, in certain ways, yeah. Really the anniversary–yeah, but the anniversary of the show, right? Like, we’ve crossed the 1-year mark as a podcast, as an organization. That’s pretty cool, right?
Ade: It’s pretty dope. I think this is the longest-running creative project I’ve ever been involved with, which is saying something, so shout-out to us.
Zach: Man, super agree. Definitely shout-out to us, and yes, it’s definitely been–definitely the longest engagement–I keep on using all of these consultancy words, and it’s funny because my boss at my job keeps on talking to me–shout-out Juliet. I see you. Keeps telling me not to use all these consultancy words, but see, what’s hard for, like, me to articulate at work is that I genuinely like words, but I’m still kind of–you know, I don’t want to say, you know, [Ur-ish?].
Ade: I know–I know what you’re getting at.
Zach: You know what I’m saying, but at the same time though, right, I just like words, but they don’t get the “ish” side of me at work because of–because of reasons, right? So it’s tough, but anyway, yeah. This is the longest project that I’ve been a part–creative project that I’ve been a part of as well, and it’s dope. Like, I think it’s crazy because if you look, like, over this past year, like, you’ll see, like–I think what should make both of us proud is, like, a year of consistent engagement though. Like, it’s not like, “Oh, we did it,” and then we stopped, and then we did it and we stopped. Like, it’s been a year of consistency, you know what I’m saying?
Ade: Which is really a shout-out to you, because goodness knows that consistency is something that I lack in spades, but yeah. Without you there would have been very little consistency on my part, because yikes.
Zach: Nah, nah, nah.
Ade: We’ll get into that.
Zach: Yeah, we’ll get into that. We’ll get into that, but nah, actually, I’ma tell you, the crazy thing is that it was–what I was able to see in you and, like, the potential of this space that pushed me to be, like, really aggressive, right? And attentive and, like, not–and kind of unrelenting and neurotic in how we would, like–
Ade: I don’t know if that gives the right connotation or that has the right–
Zach: No, it’s conno–no, but I’m saying, like, there were times where I’d know that, like, I would get on your nerves. Like, I’d be like, “Ade, we gotta record. Ade, we gotta record. Let’s go. Let’s go,” and, like, we’re recording, like, multiple episodes at a time, and just me working, you know, just being, like, obsessive. Like, there’s a certain level of that, right, that was involved in this, and I think when I talk to people who created something and are building something, like, there’s a certain lev–like, a certain bit of it. Like, not to the point where it’s toxic, but a certain level of just obsessive, like, it’s all you’re thinking about and doing for a certain season of your life, at least just to get it going. And I don’t feel like it’s like that now. I feel like we’ve kind of–like, we’ve found a certain pace and rhythm and sweet spot, but to get something off the ground takes a lot of effort.
Ade: And I think for me that actually works for who I am as a person. I like immersion, and I’ve found that with anything, I have to live, breathe, swim, eat, everything consume a particular energy if that’s what I need to focus on at that time, otherwise it’s never gonna get done, and I’m also not the sort of person who gets annoyed by persistence, because it’s something that I’m seeking out. It actually attracts me in a way to all of the things that I want, and that people who–in places where I find consistency and persistence and passion, those are the things that inspire me, those are the things that have brought me back to Living Corporate, even when I have not been in the most ideal situations. Because it’s very easy to fall into the trap of complacence or just being like, “You know what? Everything is overwhelming, and I would like to just bury myself under the earth’s crust and just, like, lay here for a second.”
Zach: That’s real.
Ade: But I’ve found that on the other side of that discomfort is everything that you’re looking for, and you just have to keep pushing to get at it, if that makes any sense.
Zach: No, it makes a lot of sense, and I feel the same way. And it’s funny because, like, when I was talking to Rod with The Black Guy Who Tips–and this was, like, a while ago, but, like, he gave advice on the mic and off the mic, and we were talking about the fact that he said, “Man, you know, the biggest advice I can give you is just to keep going,” he said, because so many people will get started with podcasting and, like, you know, they’ll, like, do a couple shows and then they’ll–you know, they’ll get tired and be like, “Oh, I’ll catch up next week. Oh, I’ll catch up next week,” and, like, you look up and they’ve been gone for, like, three months, or, like, people will, like, really put a lot of effort on the front end to, like, promote the podcast, and then you look up and it’s, like–it’s only been, like, two months and they’re done. And I know for me, part of the reason so far–and again, it’s only been a year, right? It’s not like–we have time. We’re still really babies, right? Like, we have tons–we have a long way to go. [laughs] But I know for me it’s–like, the biggest fear kind of going into this was that, like, we would start, and we would, like, start off really big, and then we would fizzle out. So, like, I’m just really excited and thankful that we’re here and, honestly, you and I, like, we’re kindred spirits in a lot of different ways. Like, ’cause everybody doesn’t like someone who’s, like, persistent and, like will follow up and, like, hold you accountable and be like, “Hey, let’s go.” Right? Like, people don’t like that, so the fact that, like, your vibe resonates with that is dope, because it’s not common. So I’m really excited and thankful, like, for you to be here for real.
Ade: Thank you. And just the last thought that I have on that is that I’ve found–and hopefully this helps somebody, but I have found that when I reach the valleys of my energy reserves and I’m completely tapped out, it helps having somebody like you, almost like a body double, because–I was gonna use a phrase.
Zach: Nah, say it. [laughs]
Ade: Ain’t no punk in my blood. So I will be damned if anybody else, like, next to me is outworking me and we have the same level of commitment, so if you’re willing to be up at 10:00 p.m. to record, I’m willing to be up at 10:00 p.m. to record, and if you are willing to cram yourself into a closet space to record, guess what? I too am willing to cram myself into a closet space to record, right? So there’s something to be said for having a partner in your commitment who’s willing to, like, go the distance with you, and you can sort of measure yourself and keep pace with that person. Not necessarily saying that you have to be down on yourself when you’re not capable of being where they’re at, but it’s almost like having a guidepost as to where you need to be, and even when your heart isn’t in it, you’re able to, like, mirror somebody else so that at the very least you’re going through the motions until your brain remembers what it feels like to win, if that makes any sense.
Zach: No, it does, it does, and it’s so interesting, right, because–the last part you said, like, really hit me, ’cause, like you said, “when your heart isn’t in it”–I think a lot of times, like, when we do things it’s like, “Man, if I don’t–if I don’t really feel like doing it, then I’m not gonna do it,” and it’s like, “Man, there’s a lot of stuff that I don’t feel like doing that I just gotta do.” So it’s just really interesting, like, when you said, you know, “when your heart isn’t in it.” And it’s–like, it’s really important because a lot of times when you’re doing something, especially if you’re trying to do something and build something over time, you don’t always feel like doing it, right? But, like, you just gotta do it. I mean, like, the easiest example is working out. I’ve been working crazy, so I haven’t, and that’s an excuse, but I haven’t been getting up like I want to that I budgeted in my time to actually work out in the morning. Like, I get up. I have an alarm that goes off at 5:30 in the morning. That’s for me to work out for 30 minutes every day. I have, like, a kettle bell. I’m, like, supposed to be doing this kettle bell routine, and I don’t always feel like doing it, but, like, I’m not gonna get the results I want if I don’t get up anyway, right? And it’s like–
Ade: A word.
Zach: A word. [both laugh] A whole word, but it’s true, and, like, you know–
Ade: You are dragging me in my hunched-over position and this, like, [inaudible] potbelly I have going on right now.
Zach: I’m dragging myself, nah. I mean–just shoot, listen. See, this is what happened. So I dropped weight, and, like–so now I’m able to look down–I dropped weight. Now I’m able to look down and see my belt buckle, so I’m like, “Oh, yeah. I can see myself.” Like, “I’m good.”
Zach: Right? But it’s like, “Nah.” Like, there’s more goals than just, like, not being able to see your shoes. Like, you should dream bigger than that. So there’s another word for you. Some of y’all are just shoe-starers. You need to be bigger dreamers than that. Keep going. Keep driving.
Ade: Drag me. Drag me.
Zach: [laughs] Man. So while we were talking, right, I had, like, other things that, like, popped up in my head, all right? So tell me if this is, like, a cheesy joke. So first of all, like, we’re not–this is not the topic of [inaudible]–
Ade: It is.
Zach: It is? Okay. Well, I’m gonna say it anyway. So you were talking about being in the closet to record.
Zach: Okay. How crazy would it have been had you been in the closet to record the episode–and I think you know what I’m about to say–
Ade: I do. All you had to say was closet. No, please. Finish.
Zach: Okay. How crazy–[both laugh] how crazy would it have been if you were in the closet to record the episode of being LGBT at work? That would have been nuts.
Ade: You are childish, number one. Number two, that would have been brilliant actually, ’cause I think I was still in the apartment with that alarm that wouldn’t quit.
Zach: Yes, yes. I remember that spot.
Ade: I just want to say that if y’all have been here for this long and you’ve heard me through the apartment with the alarm that wouldn’t quit, the house in D.C. where you may have heard random gunshots in the neighborhood, the apartment in Tysons Corner with all of the, like, zooming cars or that one day I was in the golf room and that one guy had a vengeance against golf balls.
Zach: He was knocking the mess out those balls.
Ade: He was not–like, just straight up assaulting golf balls, and I was concerned. Shout-out to you. We here. We made it.
Zach: We made it, dogg. We’re here, and like, yeah. So anyway, I’m just thankful for you. I’m thankful for this. I’m thankful for us. I’m thankful for JJ. It’s crazy ’cause we didn’t even–like, we didn’t let any air horns off. Hopefully JJ–hey, JJ. Listen, man. We’re not gonna get sued. Just go ahead and put “Tony! Toni! Toné!” at the beginning of this. Maybe let it loop in the background actually. We ain’t–
Ade: You know, I actually think this is an occasion for celebratory gunshots. What do you think?
Zach: Yes. Hey, JJ. Let them thangs go, bro. [he does]
Zach: [laughs] And some air horns. Put ’em in right here. [JJ does] Yes. Let ’em–yes, man. We out here, man. It’s been a year. I want to talk about these stats real quick, man.
Zach: In our first year we’ve had, like, 40,000 downloads, fam.
Zach: That’s not bad. Like, for a grassroots podcast with no–
Ade: Okay, first of all, don’t give me “that’s not bad.” That’s dope as hell. I just–I think you should celebrate everyone. One of the things that I’m taking away from the situations that I’ve left behind is that celebratory Milly Rocks are an important part of your growth and your development as a person, because celebrating the little wins and recognizing all of your small accomplishments rolls into the part of you that persists, because failure’s really demoralizing, and it sucks, but when you’re able to, like, go back to past situations and identify all of the ways in which you won and didn’t even realize, recognize, or celebrate those things, you’re able to be like, “Well, damn. I really am that [person].”
Zach: [laughs] That was super funny. Hey, Aaron. [that’s me] So look. You know, we’ve talked about Aaron in our past, and again, listen, I’ve–I’ve called our allies Buckys and White Wolves, and the reason why, for those who don’t know–
Ade: And don’t forget Winter Soldiers.
Zach: Oh, and Winter Soldiers. And the reason why, if y’all know anything about Marvel, y’all know that the Winter Soldier’s name was Bucky, okay, and that the Wakandans called Bucky “the White Wolf” in Wakandan. So Aaron–
Ade: By the way, I heard that attempt at an accent. It, uh…
Zach: I really–but this is the funny thing about that.
Ade: You’ve been practicing, huh?
Zach: No. So this is the thing–actually I started and I said, “Ooh, this is terrible,” and I stopped in the middle, right? I did not–I did not complete it. But anyway, Aaron is a–he’s a Winter Soldier, okay, and he’s also the person–when you look at, like, all of our social media stuff–and we’ve talked about him before. We’ve joked that he’s our diversity hire, and so Aaron, when you do the transcript for this and Ade said, “I’m that person,” make sure that you put person in brackets so the real ones know what you really meant. [laughs, and done]
Ade: All of that exposition…
Zach: All of that exposition just for that one piece of direction.
Ade: I can’t stand you.
Zach: And it’s funny ’cause he’s gonna listen, and he’s gonna be like, “Oh, yeah,” and he’s gonna do it. [they laugh, and that’s exactly what happened] Oh, my goodness gracious.
Ade: It’s been a year of, like, deep sighs with you. Just, like, a–
Zach: It’s been a year of deep sighs, but look–but, like, you’ve gotten your [inaudible] out. [laughs]
Ade: [utters the deepest sigh ever] A deep Negro spiritual sigh.
Zach: A Negro spiritual sigh?
Ade: Or it’s an Issa Rae. [https://twitter.com/issarae/status/918611371805282305?lang=en]
Zach: All the–all the Dad jokes and not nan a child around here. Pure Dad jokes.
Ade: Look. Listen, it just means that you are well-prepared.
Zach: I’m big ready. [both laugh] But nah. So, you know, I’m kind of at a loss of words because I’m just thinking about–I’m really thinking about what it took to make a year of content. Like, a year of content, and we’ve been working. Like, we’ve had full-time jobs, as consultants no less. Like, man, talk about that. Like, you have a whole new consulting job.
Ade: 60-hour weeks. I counted it. I counted and averaged my working hours, and I just want to say that whoever said consulting was an easy gig… you are a liar.
Zach: Oh, no. They lied. They lied. Well, this is the thing. It’s easy I guess if you trash and [in a hushed whisper] if you’re not black or brown. [laughs] Can we be honest?
Ade: You know, I mean… all these facts. Like, I don’t get to be mediocre at my job.
Zach: I’ve never–yo, I’m gonna be honest with you. I’ve never–[laughs] No, no, no. So let me be clear. I am not saying that–well, I am saying that white privilege makes your job easier. I’m definitely saying that for you, yes. So if you’re listening to this, I’m sorry. Be offended. It’s cool. [both laugh] What I’m not saying is that, like, everybody who is white thinks the job is easy, ’cause I do know there are some majority people out here who are working very hard in consulting. Like, they work super hard, but every time I meet somebody and they say their job is easy, like, I’ve never met a black or brown person who says consulting is easy ever. Have you?
Ade: Absolutely not.
Zach: Like, never ever. Never.
Zach: Eva eva, but the thing about it is–what I will say to that–you were talking about how many hours you work. So I don’t want to say how many hours I work because there are people who, like, mentor me who listen to this podcast. If I told them how many hours I work, they would coach me. They’d be like, “Hey, Zach. You need to relax. You shouldn’t be working that hard.” So I’m not gonna say that, but I will–
Ade: So maybe you need to relax and you shouldn’t be working that hard.
Zach: I mean, maybe so, but the point is, like, it’s been a grind, right? Like, it’s work. It’s been work–like, we’ve been working. We’ve been working full-full-full-full-time. You don’t really take a lot of vacation. I don’t take a lot of vacation.
Ade: Lol at a lot of vacation. Try any vacation.
Zach: Lol at the word “vacation.”
Ade: Right? And obviously that’s not to, like, compare struggles or anything like that.
Zach: Definitely not.
Ade: It’s just, like, trying to give an accurate picture of, you know, just how exhausting this past year has been as well. Like, and as much as it’s been a year of amazing triumphs and just wins that we didn’t see coming, I’m working on a sleep deficit here, even on the weekends, and that’s not something I’m trying to continue for very long, because I understand that sleep is a necessary and essential component of life, and I’m even not trying to encourage the culture that says that in order to, you know, be a good worker you have to show up to work on Mondays talking about how sleep-deprived you are. That’s trash.
Zach: That’s toxic. That’s super toxic.
Ade: That is trash. Your brain needs sleep. But I also recognize that there are periods in your life where you have to take the L, whether it’s the social L, sometimes the sleep L, to get to where you need to be in the long run, and so that’s the time that we’re investing now for later, and I’m sure all of my full-time workers/part-time hustlers understand what we’re talking about.
Zach: Straight up. I mean, this is the thing. I just don’t know of any, like, entrepreneurs, full-time or part-time, who have made something pop, made the shake, without, like, really, really grinding, and I’m definitely not suggesting that you should be working yourself ragged all of the time, but there are gonna be some late nights. And, like, beyond you working late, I would say heart–more than that, you’re gonna have to think a lot. Like, you should probably be more mentally exhausted than you are physically exhausted if you’re really grinding at this entrepreneurship thing, because it just takes a lot of mental effort, like, to think through and strategize on how you’re really gonna get stuff done.
Zach: Think through how you’re gonna use your time, right? ‘Cause you can’t create more time, and you need sleep, ’cause it would be trash if we got on here talking about you don’t need to go to sleep when we be talking about drinking water. Matter of fact, since we brought up drinking water, go ahead–I just hiccuped ’cause I need some water. [both laugh] Grab yourself the nearest cup of water, go to the tap–unless you are in…
Ade: Washington, D.C.?
Zach: Unless you’re in Washington, D.C. or any of these other–if you’re in a poor black or brown community. Because of the way that racism is set up and white supremacy is set up, your water probably tastes disgusting. So hopefully–
Ade: Not only tastes disgusting, it probably has actual contaminants in it. So just don’t do that. [inaudible]. Just drink some water.
Zach: So don’t–yeah, don’t do that part, but maybe go get some bottled water if you can afford it, because the way that, again, white supremacy is set up and capitalism inherently built to destroy you and us. But, you know, if you can drink some clean water, go ahead and drink some right now. That’s all I was trying to say. It got kind of dark, but I meant it.
Ade: All of them caveats, and I just finished a bottle of water while you were speaking. I needed that.
Zach: All of them caveats–all of them caveats. [laughs] But nah, for real though. You’ve got to take care–you’ve got to take care of yourself. So let’s talk about this. Can we talk a little bit about, like, your journey with the STEM and what you’ve been learning?
Ade: This is big trash. [both laugh] No, actually this is top two most challenging things I’ve ever had to do in my life, and this is not number two. I spent some time thinking through how I’ve been taught to think about myself as a learner, how I’ve been taught to think about myself in relation to the world around me. I was one of those kids who always picked up concepts quickly at incredibly high levels of abstraction. I could have–and I was very, very young doing this–I remember that when I was a kid, my great uncle, [inaudible], would sit me down in the morning and hand me the morning newspaper–and I’m, like, five years old during this–and we’re just reading through the paper in the morning, and we’d say–and we’d talk about it, and he’d give me a little cup of coffee to drink with him. It’s probably his fault I’m short, because everybody else in my family is tall, but we’d sit and talk through these incredibly abstract ideas. We’re talking through military coups, we’re talking through changes in, like, global structures. I’m being more complimentary of my ability to hold a conversation with a grown man who was in the military about these ideas, but I say that to say that I was always socialized to think of myself as an intelligent person. When you are teaching yourself an entirely new body of knowledge that you’ve never quite interacted with in the same way–I mean, I took, like, Computer 101 class, so I knew, like, what binary code was or what binary was or what the CPU is. I actually had an interest when I was an undergrad in building my own computer from scratch. I really wanted to, like, put everything together because I thought that was really, really cool. I’m not a very tactile person, so I had never worked with anything in that way before. So those were entirely new concepts to me. I don’t think I’ve ever felt so defeated as trying to understand what a four loop or what a wild loop is and why I would use it, or what data structures are, or what an algorithm fundamentally tries to do, and over the course of the last year I have, like, doubted my intelligence. I have sincerely believed that my brain was just broken, and I’ve just discovered things that were patched over in an education system that wasn’t designed to serve me in the way that my brain functions. And I can go on rants for days about this, but I [inaudible] believe that should I ever be blessed with children I’m not letting them be educated in the United States of America, certainly not in the public education systems in which I was raised, in which I was educated, because those systems don’t teach you how to think critically or think creatively about problems. They teach you how to think about solutions.
Zach: Man. That’s so true.
Ade: And frankly, that does you a disservice, because one, you need to think about the problem, not necessarily the solution, because through thinking through the problem you are hitting on and thinking through critically all of the ways in which the problem is structured and you’re examining your biases about these different problems. Also the fundamental work of thinking through a problem requires you to think through other perspectives, and I think it gives you a level of empathy for others that we don’t necessarily get to learn in traditional educational structures. And I like numbering thoughts because I lose track of things really easily, but now I’ve lost track of several other thoughts that I had. But the point of what I’m trying to say is that I’ve learned so much about myself. I’ve learned about learning. I’ve learned that I’m not incapable of learning. I might be slower at picking up technical thoughts and high-level extraction in the way that other people may pick them up, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that I’m a failure or that I’m broken. And I also–I do this thing where I don’t quite give credence to the context and circumstances of my situation, and for those of you who are listening, I’ve been through some ups and downs, and I found myself recently comparing myself to other people, maybe in the meet-ups that I would attend or just–the D.C. tech circuit isn’t that large, and just struggling to articulate why it was taking so much longer than other people to get to a certain level in my education, and I had to give myself a break, recognize not only that I was working with an incomplete set of cards, but also recognize that I’m not working on anybody else’s timeline but my own. [? will say (something in a foreign language,)] which means that we don’t work by somebody else’s watch, right? Like, we’re not working on the same timeline, and that’s okay. So yes, I’ve learned a wealth of things about myself, about the world, about learning. Did you know that actually–this may or may not work for you, but it’s really helpful when you learn things to not stack your learning every single day.
Ade: Part of what I struggled with was that I thought I have to crank at this five hours every day forever, and actually if you space out your learning–so doing two days on, one day off, then one day on, one day off, and then three days on, it actually gives your brain time to rest, time to create the synapses that allow you to build the blocks of understanding, and it’s a lot easier for you to learn when you are doing, like, three fundamental things. When you are sleeping, which I didn’t do for a very long time, when you are working out–because exercising is actually a way of enriching your brain–and when you are giving yourself on and off periods of learning. So it’s almost like you feed your brain the information, and then you give yourself a break so that your brain can make sense of the information that you just provided it.
Zach: But you know what though? I understand that. That makes sense to me, like, in principle, because when you think about, like, working out any other part of your body, like lifting weights, you have to, like, give yourself time to heal, right? Like you’ll lift–you’re not gonna work out the same muscle group every single day. Like, you’re gonna–your upper-body one day. You can work out your legs the next day. You know what I’m saying? Like, you’re not gonna just do–you’re gonna give yourself time to heal, and, like, that’s really interesting though, because when you think about learning and the way that we talk about learning, it’s often in the context of, like, “Man, you just gotta repeat, repeat, repeat,” like, over and over and over and over, and the other thing that you said, which is so crazy, and something just hit me just now. You said–like, ’cause public schools don’t teach us to, like, really talk about problems, they talk about just, like, creating solutions, and we kind of–like, we praise that, right? Like, as a larger society. We praise not being problem-focused, right? Being solution-oriented and, like, thinking through actionable items to solve things, and it’s like, man, there’s value in, like, slowing down and really understanding the problem.
Zach: And, like, really ruminating on the problem, and it’s funny because the next thing you said, which also hit me, was focusing on the problem can really help you grow in empathy. And, you know, I pride myself–I call myself an empathetic person, but I’m not really good at, like, slowing down and focusing on problems and, like, really, like, thinking through and, like, cycling problems over and over and, like, being like, “Okay, what’s really–” Like, really, really slowing down and thinking about the problem, and that’s feedback I’ve gotten on my job recently, and I had to–like, for me, like, that was just a gut-check, you just saying that, ’cause I’m like, “Dang, am I really as empathetic a leader as I think I am if I can’t slow down and focus on the problems?”
Zach: So that’s real. So look, and all of the things you talked about, all of the things you’ve been learning and you’ve been picking up, you didn’t talk about why you’re doing it. Like, what are you trying to do?
Ade: At first it was solely because I wrote this list of 23 promises to myself on my 23rd birthday. I was going through this period–right before my 23rd birthday I went through this terrible break-up. It was with this person that I had a relatively toxic relationship with, but I was trying to find the win. I was trying to sift through the relationship and find all of the bits and pieces that added to my life, because I don’t necessarily believe that I have experiences for the sake of those experiences or the sake of just having a terrible thing and then getting past it or whatever. I think that I need to learn from everything that happens to me, even if the lesson is “Wow, that person was terrible. Never again.” So in compiling this list of promises to myself, I decided I was gonna learn a new thing, and I had just gone to a class that is held here in D.C. called Hear Me Code, where in a fem-centered space, or for people who are feminine of center, you come in, you learn how to write basic lines of code–so you’re not really creating a program. You’re just learning how to write basic lines of code. The syntax of Python, which is a really, really easy language to read and conceptualize, and I was like, “That is so cool. I really like that. I’m gonna learn how to code.” Knowing now what I wish I knew then, that was a really, really dumb thing to do, because when you create this abstract idea or this abstract goal, it’s really, really difficult to hit your mark, right? How do you know that you’ve learned how to code? Could I technically print “Hello, World” to a console in, like, three different languages? Sure, I could. Four now, whatever, but have I reached the level of mastery that it requires to call myself a software engineer? No, I have not, and the gap between those two ideals is so extreme that I almost set myself up in not thinking through what that meant. It is this character-building exercise now for me in that because I’m having to think through all of these really, really difficult things and all of these really, really high-level concepts, it also almost forces me to daily reassess who I am as a person and what I am dedicated to conveying to myself about myself. Yeah, I hope that answered your question. I have a tendency to, like, ramble, which you can see in my code, but–[both laugh]
Zach: We both do. Nah, [inaudible]–
Ade: You know, but I’m trying to convey an idea here, dammit. [both laugh]
Zach: No, no, no. It makes sense to me. I think–I think for me it’s interesting because your reasoning and, like, passion behind it is much more mature and, like, what’s the word? Just the desire for you to know yourself through what you’re doing rather than you being like, “Oh, I want to do X, so I’m learning this,” right? There’s a story and there’s a journey there. So no, it makes sense to me. It’s cool, and it’s just–you and I have talked about it offline, but I wanted to make sure our listeners kind of heard the “why” behind it. ‘Cause we’ve alluded to you learning this and spending your weekends and your evenings studying and going to class. I wanted to make sure that people knew a little bit more, and I know we’ll continue to share as your journey continues on. Let’s do this. What else do we want to talk about? What we got? We got, like, about a little over 35, 36 minutes in. Do we want to do–let’s read some of these reviews, yo.
Ade: Okay. You’re not seeing me. You may be hearing the ash on my hands, but this is the Birdman hand rub.
Zach: I hear–I hear the [?]. How are your hands so small and so ashy? That’s crazy.
Ade: Wow. Wow. Wow.
Zach: That mug sound like *shaka-shaka-shaka*.
Ade: That attacked my character.
Zach: Shaka-shaka-shaka Khan.
Ade: Wow. Wow. Wow, wow, wow.
Zach: [laughs] That sounds–they’re so ashy. Let me see–let me see.
Ade: I just want you to know–nope. No, no. You don’t need–you don’t need to see. I washed–in my defense, dear listeners, I washed my hands before I got on this call because I have been dealing with a brood of approximately fifty-‘leven children in this house all day, and, like, half of them were sick and gross. So I had to wash my hands.
Zach: Oh, I feel that. That’s crazy that you said “brood.” Let me–but you know what though? We have these mics. The mics are pretty sensitive, so let me just see. Let me see, ’cause I just put lotion on my hands. My hands really–they should sound like two wet slices of ham rubbing together.
Ade: Okay, yuck.
Zach: [laughs] ‘Cause that’s how moist they are. So I said something moist–
Ade: Mucho yuck.
Zach: And then I said moist. Okay, here we go. Let me see. Nah, that sounded like a little bit of sandpaper running together as well. Okay.
Ade: I didn’t even hear anything. [same] This is trash.
Zach: [laughs] Well, I can hear it in my mic. That’s funny. Let me see. Hold on. Y’all hear that? No? [that time I did] Nothing?
Zach: Oh, yeah. Oh, yeah. That’s right. I’m moisturized over here, baby.
Ade: Wow. So now I’m going to get on here sounding like Ashy Magoo.
Zach: Not Ashy–not Ashy Magoo.
Ade: There is–there is no justice in the world honestly.
Zach: That’s crazy. And can I keep it a buck with you? I haven’t actually put lotion on my hands all day. I’m just naturally moist.
Ade: All right. Okay, well, that’s my time. I have to go. I must go. [?]
Zach: [laughs] Let’s go ahead and read some of these reviews.
Ade: All right, bet.
Zach: This one is from–first of all–hold on. Before I just get into reading reviews, right, let me put, like, an actual, like, intro and reason as to why we’re doing this. We haven’t read one review in the past year, and we have over 100–we have 127 reviews on iTunes, and then we have, like, a handful of other reviews, like, on our other spots where we publish our podcast, and so we just want to, like, thank and shout-out some of these reviews, man. So, like, I’ma read one, and then, Ade, I don’t know if you have yours up, you want to read some, but I’ma start–
Ade: I’m going there now.
Zach: All right, dope. All right, so this one is called “A Breath of Fresh Air.” That’s the title, and it’s from E from D.C. “Definitely a podcast worth listening to. Being a person of color in corporate is sometimes difficult to navigate because you may not know many others like you who have managed to lead a corporate job. You may be the first in your family working corporate, or you’re just trying to figure out what your corporate identity is. Thank you for creating this podcast for us.” Thank you, E from D.C. Shout-out to you. Thank you so much.
Ade: Shout-out to you.
Zach: Shout-out to you. Let me–let me read one more, and then I’ma let you go. This one–this one is from Jonathan Jones Speaks. “Built For This.” “Their voices are made for podcasting.” Uh-oh. “I love how you both feed on each other’s energy, bringing on guests that add tangible insights and tangible instructions. Your stories are transparent and transformational. Continue to educate and elevate.” Thank you, Jonathan Jones, from the Speak Your Success podcast. Thank you, brother. I appreciate you.
Ade: All right. So I’m gonna–I’m gonna go with two that are back-to-back. So the first one is from Lee Cee Dee [?] titled “Amazing Guests and Content.” “For a podcast that’s fairly new, Living Corporate came out the gate very strong.” Thank you. “The topics are so relevant to working millennials, and the guests are amazing. The first episode will always be so memorable and poignant to me, but also check out the mental health and LGBT episode as good places to start.” Thank you, Lee Cee Dee. Next one. This is from Mixed Girl Maine. The title starts, “This is for us, being corporate while.” It reads, “Thank you for this podcast. I am a former senior [?] manager of HR and an operations manager in the tech field. Being both the only or one of the few [?] managers and typically the only woman in upper management, I have felt for many years there was no community for me.” We got you, girl. “This podcast is my community. It speaks directly to me, my experiences, and since my corporate career ended last year with difficulty, I just wish I discovered this well before this week. Keep it up. This is amazing.”
Zach: Man, I love that. Like, we’ll just stop right there. I love–I love the fact that we’ve created something that people actually listen to and actually find value in. Like, I could tear up. I could cry a little bit to be honest. Like, that’s awesome.
Ade: This–why haven’t we done this before? I truly–
Zach: ‘Cause we’re trash, Ade. [laughs] ‘Cause we are wack.
Ade: I’ve never, like, gone looking through–
Zach: I’ve skimmed a few, but I haven’t really taken the time to, like, read and [?] on some of these reviews. Like, these are beautiful. There are some others on here that are just so–and some of ’em are long.
Ade: I love how Candice came in repping the gang. Like, she was like “gang gang” out here.
Zach: She definitely came in gang gang gang. She said, “I might be biased ’cause it’s my husband, but yo, this podcast is fire.” I said, “Come on, baby. That’s what I’m talking about.” She’s my peace and my reviews.
Ade: Oh. Well, then. Look, listen, I hear you.
Zach: The “be his peace,” that mess gotta stop. I literally–I be wanting to throw stuff when I see those little posts.
Ade: I just personally–all right, well, I’m just gonna leave that alone. I’m gonna leave that alone.
Zach: [laughs] I saw somebody–so I’ma say–I’ma say this joke because I feel like–’cause we’re essentially a D&I podcast. Well, really we’re an I–we’re an inclusion and diversity podcast, but anyway, that’s for another time. I saw some post that say, “My Latinx ladies, instead of trying to Hispanics, you need to be Hispeace.”
Ade: Oh, my God. First of all…
Zach: [laughs] I said, “First of all–“
Ade: That is terrible.
Zach: That is trash. I was like, “First of all–“
Ade: Secondly, [?]. Be Hispanic.
Zach: I said, “First of all, please be Hispanic.” First of all, Hispanic is not a culture, but please embrace your Latinx roots, whatever those may be. No, you will not sacrifice to be that some dude’s peace. No.
Ade: So here’s the funny thing.
Zach: Go ahead.
Ade: Set his whole world on fire. I’m joking actually. [?]
Zach: [laughs] Set his whole world on fire? That’s super–so, like, do the opposite. Be his destruction in this mug. Wow. No, but, you know–
Ade: Don’t take my advice, y’all. I’m not straight. I have no relationship advice for anybody. All right, moving forward. JJ, cut all of that out.
Zach: Moving forward. No, no. He’s gonna keep it in. This is gonna be funny.
Ade: Oh, boy. Oh, boy.
Zach: So what else do we want to do here? So let’s go ahead–you know what? You know, we ain’t gotta give ’em everything. Let’s stop. Let’s stop right here, okay? I do have an announcement though before we get up out of here.
Zach: Yep, yep, yep. So you’ve been rocking with us–if you’ve been rocking with us for any amount of time, you know that Living Corporate is not just a podcast. We actually have a blog. We have a newsletter. We have giveaways.
Ade: All that.
Zach: We have all of that. We have a lot of things going on, and I’m really excited to announce the fact that Living Corporate is now ready to expand our writing platform. So you should be expecting WAY more written content at a much higher and consistent clip than you have in the past. We have a team of writers. Like, these are people who are actively in Corporate America, focused and passionate on diversity and inclusion, focused–they have experiences in just being other in these majority-white spaces. We have some folks–I don’t know if y’all remember–y’all should remember–Amy C. Waninger. She came on, and she was our guest for the Effective Allyship episode. She’s actually one of our key contributors, key writing contributors, for Living Corporate, and so–
Ade: Shout-out to Amy.
Zach: Shout-out to Amy, man. Shout-out to Amy, yeah. Like, straight up. Love to all of our writers, and just really excited to tell y’all. So, like, you know, I think it was–I don’t know. I guess whenever we had, like, our last random episode. It was, like, in the New Year, I think. I don’t know if it was, like, the New Year or if it was, like, a New Year’s Resolutions episode, but we talked about “Hey, we got more–we got, like, more content. Like, we have more stuff coming.” Or maybe that was the Season 2 Kickoff. Maybe that’s what it was. Kind of running together, but the point is we talked about the fact that we had more stuff coming. We were gonna wait until it was ready, and so, like, I’m just really excited to say, like, it’s ready. Like, it’s almost April. We’ve been, like, lying in the cut just getting our content together. So for all of my creators, y’all know how it goes. You don’t want to just kind of jump out there. You want to make sure you have a little bit in the tuck. So we have it already, and we’re just excited, so make sure you check us out on livingcorporate.com–I’m sorry, living-corporate.com, please say the dash, ’cause Australia is still trippin’.
Ade: Big trippin’.
Zach: They big trippin’ to be honest. Yo, also–now, this is not a current events podcast, but yo, my man who busted the egg against my mans head though. Crazy.
Ade: Egg Boy for president of some country that’s not this one.
Zach: Shout-out to Egg Boy. Yo, and also–hold on. So we can make sure that we’re being fair, also shout-out to–shout-out to the Muslim woman who confronted Chelsea Clinton in a respectful but intentional way about her showing up at that vigil though. Shout-out to her too.
Ade: I–I have some thoughts–oh, let’s get offline. I have some thoughts.
Zach: You have some thoughts? We need to really actually–we need to actually have a podcast episode very soon about being Sikh and Muslim in the corporate space.
Ade: I’m down for that.
Zach: Like, we need to–like, we need to, like, really get on that, like, for real. Like, that needs to be an episode that we drop very soon, because the level of just, like–man, just the bigotry, dogg, and, like, I don’t think people really understand that, like, Islamophobia is definitely tied into white supremacy. It’s just crazy, and, like, I just–man. And it’s crazy to say I can’t imagine, ’cause I can, which is sad, ’cause we’re black. So it’s like I can definitely directly understand and empathize and sympathize with how these people feel, ’cause it’s like, “Man,” but it’s just nuts, man. Like, it’s just crazy. Like, we’ve got to talk about this. Okay. Well, shoot. Let’s see here. Before we get up out of here, Favorite Things?
Zach: So my Favorite Thing right now has to be Jordan Peele. He’s a beast, dogg. Like, he’s super cold.
Ade: Have you seen Us?
Zach: I did, and actually, let me take that–well, nah–yes, actually, I’m gonna go ahead and still say my Favorite Thing is Jordan Peele, because he gives space to a very chocolate, all-black family in a major motion film.
Ade: Which you wouldn’t think it would be surprising to see a family that have consistent skin tone amongst them not having one random mixed-race daughter with two black ass parents. That is not the case, as the history of American television has taught us.
Zach: I’m saying. Like, and they’re so–they’re dark. Like, they’re dark, and they’re–it’s just beautiful. So yeah, you know, Jordan Peele is, like–he’s my nod for Favorite Things this week because–and I’m not saying Favorite Things as if Jordan Peele is not a person. He’s a human being, but what I love about–what I love about Jordan Peele is, and, like, what I really aspire to do is to, like, create platforms for other people to shine. That’s, like, really my passion, right? Like, creating platforms for other people to shine. Like, Living Corporate, I love Living Corporate because–and it’s my passion, it’s my heart, because we’re creating this platform to, like, highlight the humanity and, like, the perspectives and affirm the humanity of people that often get ignored. Like, he’s doing that with his work, and I did see Us. This is Us. Is it This is Us or is it just Us?
Ade: It’s just Us.
Zach: It’s just Us. Goodness. Yeah, This is Us makes me cry. Not the show, just the trailers of the episodes make me cry. That’s why I know I can’t watch the show.
Zach: I know. I’m very sensitive. So Us is amazing. Lupita though? Ayo. She bodied that. She KILLED it. Oh, my gosh. But, like, and I knew she was–like, look, I’m not–I knew Lupita was a solid actress. I didn’t know she was that cold though, so forgive my ignorance.
Ade: You are apparently not forgiven, because here you are.
Zach: Man. Yo, when I tell you–that performance though, and I reckon–now, look, she is–she is classically trained. She is a–she is a thespian. Like, she didn’t just pop up out of nowhere. Like, she’s been–she’s been working for years. Like, she’s been building her craft for years, so I’m not asleep to that.
Ade: Isn’t she Julliard-trained too?
Zach: Uh, Yale.
Zach: Maybe she went to Julliard too. We need to get a researcher. We need to get, like, a researcher that we can, like, point to, and they can kind of just mutter stuff in the background and, like, keep us on track, ’cause I don’t know. But I do know that she went to Yale. In fact, hold on. I got Google in my hand right now. I’m just finna check it out. Hold on. Did you say Julliard just because, or, like, did you hear that?
Ade: I feel like I read something about her being at Julliard.
Zach: Well, we about to check it out. Nah, just Yale.
Ade: Oh, no. I think it’s Viola that was at Julliard.
Zach: You right. All right. Well, JJ, cut all of the Julliard stuff out, but the point is–
Ade: No, it’s okay if I’m wrong.
Zach: Okay. [?] Okay, cool, no problem. So JJ, keep all of this wrong stuff in. [both laugh] But no, she bodied that. Like, I was like, “Ooh!” I was shocked. Like, and everybody in the–and, like, you know, when you go to movies with black people–scary movies with black people, you know, it’s really not scary and it ends up just kind of being, like, funny.
Ade: A whole lot of commentary [?].
Zach: A lot of commentary that I was–that for some reason I just thought that I wasn’t gonna get this time, as if, like, we all was gonna show up and not be black at the movies, but it was great, and yeah, so that’s my Favorite Thing. Okay. Well, cool. Listen, man. Shout-out to y’all for real. Appreciate y’all. Year 1. We are officially 1 years old. We here. I’m not gonna say we’re never going nowhere, but we’re gonna be here for a while. So get used to us, get comfortable. Lean back. Put your conference line on mute so we don’t have to hear you in the background, or unmute yourself to make sure you actually speak up and you’re heard. That was–that was kind of, like, a consulting joke, you know what I’m saying?
Ade: [not enthused] Yeah.
Zach: Yeah… all right, well, thank y’all for joining the Living Corporate podcast! [laughs] We’re here every week. You can follow us on Instagram @LivingCorporate, follow us on Twitter @LivingCorp_Pod. You can check us out online at living-corporate.com. Please say the dash. Let me tell you something though. Our search engine optimization is so popping now, you just type in Living Corporate and you’re gonna see us. Just type it in. “Living Corporate.” We’ll pop up.
Zach: Yerp, and then–yes, also, yes, real quick, shout-out to all of our guests. Shout-out to JJ, our producer. Shout-out to Aaron, our admin, okay? Okay. Shout-out to Shaneisha [?], our researcher. [long pause] Shout-out to all of our writers.
Zach: [laughs] Shout-out to all of our writers. Shout-out to our families and significant others, and yeah, this has been Zach.
Ade: And Ade.