Our amazing mental health experts linked up to chat about “Single and Killin’ It – For the Fellas” on this episode of The Break Room. Join us for medical tips and tricks – we’re focused on mental health, wellness and healing for Black folks at work. You can expect real talk from real experts about the real ways Black folks can protect and heal themselves from racialized trauma at work. Want to catch the next Break Room? Click here to check our schedule and sign up!
Dr. Brian Dixon (00:11): Afternoon, or good evening, y’all, good evening. So welcome back to The Break Room. I’m Dr. Brian Dixon, one of your hosts. I am a psychiatrist here in Fort Worth, Texas, with a proper practice where we help people live their best lives. I’ll kick it over to my co-host this evening, Dr. Olajide.
Dr. Olajide Bamishigbin (00:27): Hey, everybody. It’s Dr. Olajide. I’m an assistant professor of psychology at Cal State Long Beach, in Long Beach, California. I’m a health psychologist who studies stress and resilience in families, and I’m a father and a partner to a great family as well. So thanks for introducing us. What do we do here?
Dr. Dixon (00:45): Yes, so we are here this week–so we come every week to talk about being Black at work, especially focusing on the Black experience and mental health for Black people in the workplace. And so sometimes we bring some laughs, sometimes we bring some tears, but we always bring the realness. So today’s topic is mainly for the fellas. So we’re going to really concentrate on Black mental health for Black men, especially single Black men. So we’ll get to that in just a little bit, just to reorient you as always… so while we are mental health clinicians and therapists, and mental health experts, we are not your mental health expert. So if you need some help, by all means, reach out to your local resources, because all of this stuff that we’re learning is meant for your edutainment. So we always want to give that disclaimer. So to reorient you to the podcast, we always start off with the tea, which is current event stuff that’s been going on that catches our attention. We move over into the topic of the day, which I talked about earlier, and then we move to The Last Nerve, because there’s always something that’s getting on Black folks’ last nerve. And we’ve got a good one for y’all today. So the tea. What is the tea this week?
Dr. Bamishigbin (02:04): I don’t have tea, but I have some water.
Dr. Dixon (02:06): Oh, see, he’s hydrating.
Dr. Bamishigbin (02:11): Always. Always. Gotta hydrate. Love it. So the tea. So we talked about this. We were originally going to start off this episode by talking about Caitlyn Jenner, who has decided that she is going to run for governor of California. She recently did an interview on Fox News, which was batshit crazy, and that’s what we’re going to talk about. But some other news just recently came out, and we’ve decided to pivot to something that probably is a little more relevant.
Dr. Dixon (02:48): I like to pivot.
Dr. Dixon (02:49): Always, always. Can’t ever be scared of the pivot. We’ve got to be dynamic, always, always willing to change. So the Olympics happen every four years. They were supposed to happen last year, but because of the coronavirus and the COVID-19 pandemic, it didn’t happen in Tokyo. So it got postponed for this year. So this year it will be happening in Tokyo, Japan, and recently the IOC, the International Olympic Committee has decided that Black Lives Matter will be banned at the Olympics. So you are not allowed to have any clothing that says Black Lives Matter or have any slogan that says Black Lives Matter. You cannot raise a fist on the podium. You can not take a knee. You can not do any of those things or you may be punished.
Dr. Dixon (03:38): What? And when you say punished what are we talking about?
Dr. Bamishigbin (03:42): You could be banned.
Dr. Dixon (03:44): Like, banned from sports? So the thing that you–
Dr. Bamishigbin (03:46): Banned from the Olympics. Banned from this particular competition, I think.
Dr. Dixon (03:53): So when did this come out? I didn’t know anything about this. Number one, it floors me because it reminds me of the Olympics—oh, gosh. Who was it? Jesse, the track and field–
Dr. Bamishigbin (04:07): Jesse Owens?
Dr. Dixon (04:07): Yes. So Jesse Owens, and it was such a powerful, political statement, especially in a world where there’s Muslims [Uighurs] over in China being persecuted. People are going through some things in all sorts of places. That actually shocks me that they’re willing to do that.
Dr. Bamishigbin (04:23): Literally, look behind me. What’s hanging up on the wall?
Dr. Dixon (04:26): Oh, yes. That was a great segue. I didn’t even see that. What the hell?
Dr. Bamishigbin (04:31): That’s literally hanging up on my wall. They got banned in ‘68 after doing that, in 1968 after doing that. Thanks to one of my Twitter friends who pointed it out to me.
Dr. Dixon (04:40): So the Olympics are a big moneymaker. So a lot of places are actually overdoing it. Their budgets are way too big for what they’re bringing in. But it is a prestige thing. So I’m surprised that these these folks are willing to disenfranchise their athletes in order to… I don’t know what kind of point they’re trying to prove, but it just makes me sad that racism, apparently, is alive and well. That just blows my mind.
Dr. Bamishigbin (05:10): It’s clear to me that the IOC does not think Black lives matter.
Dr. Dixon (05:15): In a nutshell. Preach.
Dr. Bamishigbin (05:16): In a nutshell, they do not agree that Black lives matter. And it’s just a statement.
Dr. Dixon (05:25): Yes. And the IOC didn’t have to say anything. They went out of their way. They put it through their PR, and their HR, and the hummina, hummina, hummina, and came out with a statement that is not inclusive in a world where we have Asians getting beat and killed and getting shot, that we have Black people being beat and killed and shot, and just, I don’t even know what to say to that.
Dr. Bamishigbin (05:49): Anti-Blackness. It never fails.
Dr. Dixon (05:51): Yes.
Dr. Bamishigbin (05:52): And it’s mobile.
Dr. Dixon (05:54): It never seems to stop. Well, this tea was really depressing. Thanks. Dr. Jide, wah, wah, wah. Most times I’m—ugh, and just when you think we’re making progress, vaccines are getting out, we’re thinking about getting rid of patents and dah, dah, dah, then they go and do some dumb stuff like this.
Dr. Bamishigbin (06:13): And I would just like to say one more thing about it if that’s okay. The last few weeks we’ve actually had a lot of discussions about allies and allyship. So in this moment, my question is where are the allies? Where are the white people and the Asian athletes and the Hispanic athletes and the European athletes and all the other athletes of the world saying, “We’re not going to participate because we find this to be problematic”? Given all that happened last year, the fact that all those anti-racists books were best-sellers. Where’s the outrage?
Dr. Dixon (06:50): Yes. That’s a great question. My hypothesis, and this is truly just water cooler talk because it’s The Break Room–so we’re in The Break Room, and this is just off the cuff, but my first instinct being mental health, folks, is I’m wondering if there’s some compassion fatigue going on. So compassion fatigue, meaning after a while when you’re so stressed out and you’re so traumatized you get tired of caring, you get fatigued of caring. And so after a while you’re just going to shut down. I think Dr. Nikki a couple of weeks ago talked about learned helplessness. And so yes, I wonder if some of that is going on with our allies. So if that’s you, if you are feeling that, that fatigue, that burnout, make sure to take care of yourself so that you can fight the good fight with us as we move along, because allyship [over talk 00:07:37] is super important. And so what we’re going to do now is we’re going to pivot over to the topic of the day. So we, at The Break Room, want to be very inclusive. We recognize that some of our listeners are employed. Some of them are entrepreneurs. Some of them are men and women. Some of them are LGBTQ. We want to be all encompassing. And we when we were doing our show notes, we figured out “Wait a minute, we need a show just for Black men to feel empowered, to remind them that they’re awesome and wonderful,“ especially with single Black men, because at the end of the day, we all start off single at some point. And then for the folks, those of us that get coupled up, we do so, but we want to give a shout out to those guys who were holding it down. And so I will kick it over to Dr. Jide to get us started, and then we look forward to seeing more questions in the chat, and then, remember, our brand email is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dr. Bamishigbin (08:40): In the chat.
Dr. Dixon (08:40): Yes. Put it in the chat or send us an email. So Dr. Jide, what you’ve got for the single fellas out there?
Dr. Bamishigbin (08:47): All right. So let’s talk about it. For the single fellas, this is a conversation for you in the workplace. So a lot of people meet their spouses in different places. The number one place right now is actually online, which probably doesn’t come as a surprise to anybody online. We meet people through friends. But a common place people meet their spouses or their partners is at work. So in 1990, 20% of people reported meeting their spouse at work. So one out of five. That’s a lot. It’s not as high anymore. It’s not as high anymore. It’s about 10% right now. But, once again, 1 out of 10 people is meeting their partner at their place of employment, so I think it’s important to talk about what that means and the ramifications of that. Given the world we live in right now, what are the ramifications of being a Black man working from home for your dating life? And what are the ramifications of–what’s your status in terms of health? I think when we think “What’s your status,” often we’re thinking about HIV and AIDS, but we now live in a world where it’s “Did you get that vaccine yet?”
Dr. Dixon (10:07): “Which one did you get? Did you get the Pfizer?“
Dr. Bamishigbin (10:10): “Did you sneeze around me?” No. So Dr. Dixon, first question, what are the ramifications of being a Black man working from home? What do you think?
Dr. Dixon (10:22): I worry. Human beings are communal creatures, and I think that’s one of the reasons why Black culture is so strong, because it used to be we all went to church and we sang and we do things, or we have family reunions and funerals, and we’re very communal people, and so I do worry about single Black guys, because when you’re stuck in your house and you don’t have that contact or, worse, if all of your contact is just awful shit you just keep seeing through social media and the stuff you’re hearing from your friends, and the ridiculousness of your bosses telling you to do stuff on days where Black men are getting shot. I worry, I worry a lot. And so it’s going to make it real hard to connect with somebody if you’re constantly in trauma.
Dr. Bamishigbin (11:05): That’s real. That’s a really good point. I totally agree with you. And it’s hard to meet people. We don’t want to be on Zoom any longer than we have to.
Dr. Dixon (11:18): Correct.
Dr. Bamishigbin (11:19): So that’s really affecting single Black men and their dating prospects in this environment. This last year has been hard for everybody, but particularly single people, and a lot of that advice that came out, remember, was “Stay home. Don’t be around people.”
Dr. Dixon (11:38): Yes, socially distance.
Dr. Bamishigbin (11:38): You’re a psychiatrist, I’m a psychologist. We know loneliness is not good for anybody.
Dr. Dixon (11:44): Nope, at all. And one of the difficulties that, again, I just feel so awful about all of this, is we didn’t throw out creative solutions, and so people were just sitting at home, and you can Netflix and chill by yourself for a little while, and then after a little while you’re like, “Well, hell, what else am I going to do?“ And unfortunately, because of all the mixed messaging and what is safe and what is not, there were lots of missed opportunities, because there could have been things that people were outside doing that we missed. And so yes, I worry a lot about our brothers at home.
Dr. Bamishigbin (12:16): Yes. Well, we want you to know The Break Room’s thinking of you.
Dr. Dixon (12:20): Absolutely. And we have some ideas for you later on in the show.
Dr. Bamishigbin (12:26): Yes, we do. Yes, we do.
Dr. Dixon (12:26): But to your question about your status. So yes, this is fascinating. And I don’t know exactly where things are going to fall, especially for Black men and just people in general. It used to be, yes, with HIV, know your status so you can protect yourself, you can protect other people. There were billboards all around about HIV, and the rates in African-Americans, especially men and women, were really, really high. And so when it comes to COVID, COVID is deadly, and it can cause lots of long-term health complications. And so part of me says, “Yes, you should be showing your vaccine passport, you should be carrying around your vaccine card.“ And if you don’t have one, I say, “Hey, I politely decline. No, we can’t go get no coffee, because I don’t know what your status is.“ That’s a me thing. So how do you feel about that?
Dr. Bamishigbin (13:26): I think vaccines say a lot about a person. Whether or not somebody is getting the vaccine, actually, in this environment says a lot. So personally, once again, I’m married with kids, so this is not necessarily fully relevant for me at this stage of my life. But absolutely we want, I want, to be safe. It’s important. I want to be safe. I want to keep my family safe. I want to keep the other people around me safe by ensuring that you’re protected with the vaccine, which honestly isn’t even that much of a barrier. Come on. They have one shot. You can get one shot.
Dr. Dixon (14:09): I agree. I wholeheartedly agree. For anybody who went to grade school, you had to have a shot record. Most of y’all, some folks opted out, but that’s really few and far between. So I’m with you, dude. I’m with you. I’m just saying.
Dr. Bamishigbin (14:20): I saw on Twitter, this is something you might say to somebody who was hesitant. “Do you know anybody who’s died from coronavirus or COVID-19?” And most people will say, “Yes, I do, or I know somebody who knows somebody.” Do you know one person who’s died from the vaccine?
Dr. Dixon (14:39): Not a single one.
Dr. Bamishigbin (14:40): Not a single one. So those are your options. Get the vaccine. And we’ve seen so many healthy people have died. Totally healthy, young, strong folks have passed away from this. So please, please, for your safety, for my safety, for everybody’s safety.
Dr. Dixon (14:59): Preach. Amen. And for you single guys, absolutely take care of yourself. Self-care is super, super important.
Dr. Bamishigbin (15:07): Yes. Yes. So the next point that we’re bringing up is that sexual harassment is extremely prevalent in the workplace. On one hand, dating your coworker or finding a spouse at work is a very common thing that happens. On the other hand, sexual harassment is a prevalent problem in the workplace. So I want to acknowledge, I’m a straight Black man, so I have certain privileges that occur in the workplace. But I think it’s important for us to have these conversations about this. It’s not on women to change sexual harassment, the people who are the victims. It’s on us to talk about this. And I always want to point out sexual harassment can occur from anybody to anybody. A man can harass another man, a man can harass a woman, a woman can harass a man, or a woman could harass women. Non-binary people can be harassed by anybody else. I want to point that out, it can happen any direction. But the biggest problem is men harassing women in the workplace.
Dr. Dixon (16:11): By far.
Dr. Bamishigbin (16:12): By far. It’s the biggest problem. So a survey in 2016 found that 60% of women, three out of five women reported unwanted sexual attention, sexual coercion, crude conduct, or sexist comments at work. Another survey found that 33% of college educated women who are working in white collar jobs reported sexual harassment. And 72% of those incidents came from somebody who’s higher up. And another thing, it happens in every single industry. It happens at McDonald’s. It happens in Hollywood. It happens at the university. It happens everywhere. It’s a pervasive problem. So one thing we like to do always on this show is to name things.
Dr. Bamishigbin (17:02): So we’re naming it, sexual harassment. All right. So what is sexual harassment? I just want to take this time to give you a brief definition of what sexual harassment is. Sexual harassment are unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature. That can affect an individual’s employment. That interferes with their performance and may result in certain behaviors like promotion or awards, conditioning their promotion or awards based on, “Will you have sex with me?” Something like that.
Dr. Bamishigbin (17:43): So sexual harassment is a real, real problem in the workplace. Things such as sexual pranks, touching or grabbing, standing close to somebody, asking somebody to hang out with you after hours even though they’ve already said that they’re not interested. All of these are examples of sexual harassment, and it can happen any way. Always. I want to point out it can happen anyway, but primarily, the biggest problem is men harassing women. So let’s talk about that. Yes, go ahead, Dr. Dixon.
Dr. Dixon (18:14): Yes. So the moral of the story is don’t be that guy. So keeping in mind, that we are a podcast about mental health, Black mental health at work. You have to do your role. You have to play your part in making a safe workplace. If you see something, say something. Be an ally to other people who are experiencing things. So we talked about allyship for the last couple of weeks. And it may be that you have to be courageous and you have to make some comments or make a report on somebody that you thought was your friend. And you still have to make that report to HR, whoever’s in charge of making sure that it’s a safe workplace.
Dr. Bamishigbin (18:54): Or make a comment about yourself, because you’re the one doing it.
Dr. Dixon (18:58): Yep. So yes, and it’s tough, and self-introspection, intro meaning in, spection meaning look. So looking in. So we’re naming things and teaching words. So introspection is super hard. And if somebody else pulls you in and they say, “Dude, that was inappropriate,“ learn from it, or else you may not have a job and or you may go to jail. So just be careful, be thoughtful about what you’re doing.
Dr. Bamishigbin (19:23): Yes. If you’re listening to this right now and you say, “Man, I’ve done that,” you can stop that behavior right now. Literally right now. You can say, “Tomorrow I’m done with this. I’m not doing this.” There’s always a way to be better. So please be better.
Dr. Dixon (19:39): Yes. So Dr. Jide, because you said earlier, if I heard correctly, you said earlier that people do meet at work. They oftentimes end up being partners or getting married. So are you saying we’re not allowed to date at all? As they say, don’t shit where you eat? So are you saying don’t do that at all?
Dr. Bamishigbin (20:01): So let’s talk about that.
Dr. Dixon (20:05): Okay.
Dr. Bamishigbin (20:05): Let’s talk about that. So how do we we manage this balance? That’s really the question. How do you manage the balance, that meeting a coworker and dating a coworker is a legitimate way to find a partner versus making sure you’re not engaging in sexual harassment? So let’s talk about some of the ways you can do that. It’s to make sure you’re doing the right thing.
Dr. Bamishigbin (20:27): Number one, read up and understand what male privilege is and what it actually looks like in the workplace to make sure you’re not perpetuating the same stuff, that you’re not accepting those same things. And once again, this is targeted towards men, towards men who are most often to be the people who are harassing women. So read up and understand what male privilege is in the workplace. What does it look like? Are you getting invited to bars after work, with the boss, and somebody’s not? Are you getting invited to play golf? Things like that. Do you hear comments that the bosses make about the female employees when the women aren’t around? Be aware of those things. So I think that’s always first, understanding the scope of the problem and how it affects people, because sexual harassment leaves scars on people.
Dr. Dixon (21:19): Absolutely. It’s a trauma. Absolutely.
Dr. Bamishigbin (21:22): People just want to go to work. We don’t even like work. You know what I’m saying? And you’re already making it harder. You’re making it much harder. So read up and understand. Understand. That’s always first.
Dr. Bamishigbin (21:33): Number two. So you asked me, “So if I’m at work, am I not allowed to date my coworker?” It depends. If you are at the tippy top of your organization or your company, yes. You are not allowed to date your employees. No, you’re not.
Dr. Dixon (21:52): That’s a bold statement.
Dr. Bamishigbin (21:54): You’re not. Full stop. The power differential is just too much. It’s just too much.
Dr. Dixon (22:02): I agree.
Dr. Bamishigbin (22:02): It doesn’t matter how much they’re hitting on you, how much interest they want to show you. Part of being a responsible boss is avoiding favoritism. But also it’s to avoid even looking like you have favorites. You want to avoid conflicts of interest. You also want to avoid even looking like you have a conflict of interest.
Dr. Dixon (22:22): Correct. And remember, again, this show is all about Black guys. So I’m looking at you, Black guy. You are under a microscope when you’re at work. Period. I wish I could change that. It’s like driving while Black, this is corporate while Black. I wish that Dr. Jide and myself could just take that away, but we can’t. And so yes, anything that is unusual, that may be one step beyond where you’re supposed to go, may be misconstrued. So just be careful. Just be careful.
Dr. Bamishigbin (22:52): Just be very, very careful. I like to think of the example of President Bill Clinton, and obviously he was caught up in a scandal. The reality is, when you’re the President of the United States, there is no consensual relationship you can have with anybody except for your wife that you were married to before you became President of the United States. I’m saying the power. It’s about the level of power. If Bill Clinton snaps his fingers, anything he wants to happen can happen. So just be aware of that. If you’re at the tippy top, you can’t.
Dr. Bamishigbin (23:35): And in general, even if you’re not at the tippy top, if you’re above certain employees, be very, very careful. You have to be very, very careful. Because once again, the power, the power differential. Even if you aren’t necessarily trying to discriminate or treat people differently, your feelings might be hurt and you do, you reproduce that anyway, because you have the power.
Dr. Dixon (24:00): Yes.
Dr. Bamishigbin (24:01): So at the top, don’t do it. If you’re at the top, don’t do it. If you’re at the top, you shouldn’t have trouble finding dates anyway.
Dr. Dixon (24:13): We’re going to come to that a little later on, because I’ve got some ideas on that one. And then, real quick, so we see a question from Jennifer–we’re going to get to your questions a little bit later. So we didn’t forget about you.
Dr. Bamishigbin (24:25): Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. And please, type in more questions if you have them. So this is a rule I learned when I was working at the movie theater as a 17 year old, and it’s something that has stuck with me ever since then. Seriously, and this was 2008. 17, you’re chilling, working at the movie theater with a whole bunch of other high school kids, and our hiring manager told us this one piece of advice. “You are allowed to ask your coworker out one time, and if they refuse, that’s it. That’s the end of that. Anything past that is sexual harassment,” and that is actually a really easy understanding of it. People meet at work. Once again, it’s not a question. People meet at work. You can show interest in a respectful way, but after it’s rejected, if it is rejected, that’s the end of it. Don’t treat this person differently in any way. Go on with your life.
Dr. Dixon (25:29): Yes. It’s one of the things that I teach all of my teenage boys in my clinic before they become teenage men, and especially my Black teenage boys, which is if you ask somebody out and they say no, you walk away. You have control over your feet. You have control over your method of leaving. You need to leave immediately and do not engage.
Dr. Bamishigbin (25:52): Correct. Rejection is not the end of the world. It’s not the end of the world. So the next thing. So you’ve done that, and maybe you’ve been picking up on these signs from your coworker. And you’re right. So they do say, “Great, let’s go on a date.” Great. This is good. You are correct. You’re respectful. They’re there with you. In general, and this is just general for relationships, you should treat people well.
Dr. Dixon (26:22): Absolutely.
Dr. Bamishigbin (26:22): So that’s a blanket rule. But, if you have a romantic relationship with somebody at work, you should probably treat them even more well because the stakes are much, much higher for both of you.
Dr. Dixon (26:36): Absolutely.
Dr. Bamishigbin (26:38): So some tips for that. One, keep work work, keep play at playtime. Please, outside stuff, dating, relationship, whatever, that can happen after 5:00 PM to 9:00 AM, 5:00 PM to 9:00 AM. That’s time for all of that. But 9:00 to 5:00, if you’re in the office and you’re working, there’s no “Hey, babe.” There’s no–don’t have sex in the office like you see on TV. You will get in trouble.
Dr. Dixon (27:05): Oh, my gosh. Yes. That whole Grey’s Anatomy nonsense. Oh, my gosh.
Dr. Bamishigbin (27:12): Don’t do that. That’s only on television. Don’t talk about that particularly. You should keep stuff to yourself at work anyway, but particularly if you’re dating somebody who’s also at the job. Keep that to yourself. I mean, the ins and outs of your relationship. Keep that to yourself, because you can’t sour other people’s opinions or change other people’s opinions about this person in the workspace. So work is for work. Play is for play.
Dr. Bamishigbin (27:44): Next, know the rules for dating coworkers. So I looked this up. In every state except for California, employers can put a no fraternizing rule. Only in California they’re not allowed to do it, but essentially it says, “Listen, you are not allowed to be with a coworker. You’re not allowed to be with a co-worker.” And I (think?) that’s kind of draconian. I get that. I get it. I get it. Because for every relationship that does go on, and they get married, there’s 10 office relationships that end really, really poorly, and it affects the temperature of the office and the chemistry of the people working in the office. So you have to be very, very careful. Know your rules. Know “Am I allowed to do this? Is this something that’s heavily discouraged in the office?” Or is it kind of “Well…” Like I said, I worked at the movie theater, we were all 17. They really honestly don’t care. That’s a totally different environment than a 9:00 to 5:00 button-down place. So things to be aware of.
Dr. Bamishigbin (28:55): Next, be mindful of how people perceive it. Perception is everything. Perception is everything,. So there’s the question of generally you shouldn’t date people who are under you, who have less power than you, because if they start moving up, regardless of if they moved up based on their merit or if they did it because of their relationship with this particular person, people are going to feel a way, and you have to be able to accept that.
Dr. Dixon (29:27): Absolutely. So you should know your handbook, and if you don’t have a handbook ask for one, because it protects you and other people. So yes, by all means, if you’re, “Hey, what are the rules?” And they’re, “Oh, just, argh, argh, argh,” no, ask for something in writing, because that is what’s going to protect you if something bad goes down.
Dr. Bamishigbin (29:49): Next, and this is important, be ready for it all to blow up.
Dr. Dixon (29:53): Booommm.
Dr. Bamishigbin (29:57): And perhaps that may mean one of y’all has to find a new job.
Dr. Dixon (30:02): That’s correct.
Dr. Bamishigbin (30:03): Because when things are going good, they’re great. But when things go bad, people change sometimes and it’s Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. “This is a totally different person than the person I thought you were.” So these are things to just be mindful of when you’re in the workspace. We here at The Break Room want people to find happiness, want people to find relationships that fulfill them if that’s what they want for themselves. But you’ve gotta be smart.
Dr. Dixon (30:36): And that is the perfect segue, because what if you just want to be single? Well, so one of the things that I always harp on, because I’m in a committed relationship right now, but I have been single for most of my life, and I would read books and I would always read about how wonderful it is to be in a couple and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, and I read this one book, and I don’t even remember the name of it, but it basically said “Enjoy being single, because being single and being in a couple is part of the same coin,“ and if you’re in a throuple, good for you. I don’t know how you keep up with two people, but peace and blessings. But the idea is enjoy and embrace the moment where you’re at. So if you’re single, you have benefits that couples don’t have. So really, really enjoy those, those moments, because there’s going to be coming a time when you get into a couple, and there may be a time when that couple breaks up, and you’ll go back and forth, and neither is better or worse than the other. Is that fair to say, Dr. Jide? Is that fair?
Dr. Bamishigbin (31:32): Absolutely. You should be happy no matter your situation.
Dr. Dixon (31:38): Amen.
Dr. Bamishigbin (31:38): Your happiness shouldn’t even be contingent on another person. So in general, I agree with you. I absolutely agree with you.
Dr. Dixon (31:46): Awesome. So another point, after I had a really bad breakup, when I thought that the world was going to end and I’m by myself and I’m, “Oh, my gosh, what am I missing? What’s the whole point of a being in a couple anyway?” and I’m reading this book and it basically says, “Well, being in a couple is all about creating a shared history, and as a single person you create that shared history with your friends,” and I went, “Holy shit, that’s right.” So I would go on trips with friends, I’m texting friends, we have memes, we have game nights. Sometimes we cook, and we have Friendsgiving. I get to do all of those things because I don’t have a ball and chain hanging on me.
Dr. Dixon (32:24): I don’t have somebody going, “Oh, where are you going? Who you going with?” So build, and very intentionally build, a shared history with your friends, because those are the family that you choose, and you have the right to be able to do that. And one of the things I always throw out there is, at the end of the day, in the midst of COVID and racism, it’s going to take more deliberate effort. You’re going to have to work at this stuff. So before in a workplace, most times you worked at the same place because you and whoever that person is would have a shared interest. Well, now that you’re working from home, y’all are gonna have to build a shared history. If you’re on an app, you’re gonna have to build a shared history. So just be creative with it.
Dr. Dixon (33:07): If that’s going out on a socially distance walk. Just do things that are really, really interesting and creative.
Dr. Bamishigbin (33:14): Alrighty. Next step. So expose and learn your company’s biases. So there are biases everywhere. So I didn’t know until I think my sister was, I don’t know how old she was, maybe 10, and I think I was like six or seven. I didn’t realize that (on) girl shirts the buttons (are) on the opposite side of boys shirts. I had no idea. Blew my mind. Did you know that?
Dr. Bamishigbin (33:39): I didn’t know that until just now.
Dr. Dixon (33:40): Oh, yeah, it’s crazy.
Dr. Bamishigbin (33:42): Don’t tell anybody that. Let’s cut that from this episode.
Dr. Dixon (33:45): I know. I’m like, “What the hell is this?” Or that there are scissors that are right-handed scissors and left-handed scissors. And these are all very subtle biases that you don’t see because the majority speaks, the majority rules. Well, we live in a majority white culture that says that you’re supposed to do a certain thing. Each company has a very different bias. So when I toured Google it was all about open workspaces and scooters, and it was very brogrammer, that sort of thing. And that’s very geared towards a single life, whereas there are other places that are very family-oriented, and as a Black man, you have to figure out what spaces work. And so do your research before. Like Dr. Jide said earlier, read the handbook, do the research. I always jokingly say never go to Pizza Hut and ask them if you want a hamburger, because what are they going to tell you? No. They’re going to be (like), “We don’t make hamburgers.” And so yes, you can get all pissed off and, “Oh, I want argh, argh, argh,” but if Pizza Hut don’t make hamburgers, then you’re just shit out of luck.
Dr. Bamishigbin (34:49): And can I just add to that? Definitely. The point about a workspace being biased towards families or single people, no matter what, you have rights, and as long as you’re doing your job, you should be fine.
Dr. Dixon (35:06): Preach.
Dr. Bamishigbin (35:06): So I know many single people who say their boss kind of expects them to pick up extra work because they feel “Well, you don’t have kids, or you don’t have a partner, you don’t have whatever, so you should be able to do this extra thing outside of work hours.” No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no. If you’re working nine to five, you can ask me for stuff during my nine to five just like you can ask of anybody else.
Dr. Dixon (35:26): Absolutely.
Dr. Dixon (35:27): Just because I’m not married, just because–not me, but in general, just because a person’s not married, just because the person doesn’t have kids doesn’t mean they don’t have a life, and it doesn’t mean that their time is not just as valuable.
Dr. Dixon (35:38): Preach. Preach.
Dr. Bamishigbin (35:39): And at the same time, be mindful of understanding the difference between benefits for people with families and understanding that people with families have different needs. Because there are people who are (like), “Oh, well, they give these extra benefits, people with kids, they’re getting these extra stimulus checks”, and it’s (like), “Yes, because it’s another person.”
Dr. Dixon (36:00): Yes. Kids are expensive.
Dr. Bamishigbin (36:03): So be aware of that. Be aware of that.
Dr. Dixon (36:04): I love it. The next point I want to bring up is make sure that you, again, intentionally build your social network. So one of the great reasons why I love Living Corporate (and why) we’re super excited to be y’all’s hosts. In a traditional world, this wouldn’t exist. So I’m a psychiatrist in Texas talking to a health psychologist in California. How are our paths ever gonna cross? But since the paths have crossed, I’m (like) “Holy shit, we have so much in common. We get along great.” We build these networks, and then we can help each other out. And so Twitter, LinkedIn, your fraternity. So I’m not a fraternity guy. I didn’t do that in college. But use all of those networks and those connections as a single person, because again, you have the most flexibility in your schedule and in your life. So use those to build a better network.
Dr. Dixon (36:55): And then the last thing I’m going to throw out to you is learn the game. So back before I was in a relationship, I was a single guy. I counted up. I shit you not. I’ve been to over 30 weddings in my life. Yes. And I’m always the guy that’s out on the dance floor, dancing with grandma, and I’m having a great time, and I love it. That was my shtick. That was my thing. You have your own shtick, you have your own thing. If it’s dancing, if it’s singing, if it’s running a business, if it’s wearing bespoke clothes and the cut of your suit. You do you. And the important thing is treat yourself. If you’re single, embrace it. Paint your walls whatever color you want to in your house, because you can always paint them back. You do you, boo. You do you. [over talk 00:37:45].
Dr. Bamishigbin (37:45): Enjoy being single. Enjoy being single. There’s lots of perks to being single. I have kids. Every time I leave the house, I need, like, 15 minutes, because this one has to use the bathroom, we’ve got to make sure we pack snacks. Oh, this one needs help putting on their shoes. Oh, this one has to use the bathroom again. So enjoy the things you have.
Dr. Dixon (38:03): Absolutely. And so let’s skip over to some questions before you do The Last Nerve, because I know we’re coming up on time. So let’s see. So Dr. Jide, oh, that’s awesome. What Jennifer mentioned is a question about allyship, and we’re actually going to put it in our question bank. We have a whole spreadsheet of this stuff. Y’all, we’re Black folks, and we organize. Let me just say. So we’re gonna put it in our spreadsheet to make sure that when we start talking about allyship again, we’ll come back to that topic. So thank so much for asking that question. Also, thank you so much for clarifying your position. So before we get to The Last Nerve, we want to make sure that y’all know that y’all can reach us anytime at email@example.com.
Dr. Dixon (38:50): Alrighty. So Dr. Jide, if it’s okay with you, I have a Last Nerve. Is that all right?
Dr. Bamishigbin (38:57): Be my guest.
Dr. Dixon (38:58): Okay. So my last nerve. So y’all, The Last Nerve is stuff that has put some Black folks out. And so I’m going to say that The Last Nerve tonight is actually directed at Black people like me. So let me do my 90 seconds on the clock starting right now. So the thing that gets on my last nerve, it is directly connected to what we talked about when we first started this podcast, with our Black excellence and John Henryism. So y’all, I got–I wouldn’t say attacked on Twitter, but we posted a clip on Twitter about being an ally. I give the example of me making 20 grand less than one of my white female colleagues, and somebody had something they wanted to say online.
Dr. Dixon (39:41): And my first instinct was, “Oh, my gosh, let me appease this person. Let me write this tweet.“ And then I went, “No,“ and then I wrote another one and deleted it, and (then I) wrote another one. And then it finally dawned on me, “You know what, Brian? Hush and refer. She needs to go do her work. It is not my responsibility at this point, in this nation, at this time.“ It is not my responsibility to educate you. There are multiple books out there that you can read, including White Fragility, which is written by a white woman. There is How To Be An Anti-Racist, and there is So You Want To Talk About Race? Multiple books that you can get from multiple companies. So Black folks like me, if you are struggling and trying to do the most and always trying to help people, make sure you have good boundaries.
Dr. Dixon (40:26): So I need you to remember these words, hush and refer. When something’s happened, shut your own mouth, hush, smile, and then refer that person to the proper resources so that they can educate themselves. And then, if they choose not to get educated, you can choose not to talk to them. And so that is my new mantra going forward. So I want all the Black people I know, hush and refer. That’s my Last Nerve for tonight.
Dr. Bamishigbin (40:55): Can I just add to that?
Dr. Dixon (40:55): By all means.
Dr. Bamishigbin (40:57): If you need to block, do not be scared to use the block button. Okay? My first little bit on social media, I was (like), “Man, why do people fight people so easily?” Now having been on Twitter for going on four years, listen, I ain’t going back and forth with you. I’m going to live my best life. I’m not going back and forth. [over talk 00:41:22].
Dr. Dixon (41:21): I love it.
Dr. Bamishigbin (41:21): [inaudible 00:41:21] if you need to block.
Dr. Dixon (41:24): Yes. I love it. Well, y’all, we are super, super stoked that y’all came out tonight to listen to us on The Break Room. So during our next podcast, some of our other co-hosts will be back on. We appreciate y’all taking the time out. As always, send us emails, follow us on Twitter @thebreakroomlc. And if you need anything else, we’re around. So deuces, we’ll see you later.
Dr. Bamishigbin (41:47): Thank y’all. Have a good night.