• Empathy Everywhere,
  • Mental Heath,
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Victoria Ferguson (0:00):
You 're listening to the Empathy Everywhere Podcast. I'm your host, Victoria Ferguson, the founder of East 29, where we're establishing a conscious dialogue that connects both the physical and mental health awareness behind the clean beauty movement, while combining skincare with self care to build a movement that embodies being softer inside, out. This is Episode Three 'Empathy in the Workplace' and we're here again with Chava Vietze. She's a startup consultant with years of experience in tech, who spent the last year exploring psychology, mental health and mentoring. Her mission is to increase diversity and inclusion with an empathy driven perspective in historically white and male dominated industries such as tech, venture capital, and startups. Welcome back!

Chava Vietze (0:42):
Thank you for having me! I'm excited again, to talk about empathy in general, but also taking a focus on empathy in the workplace. So excited to be here again.

Victoria Ferguson (0:52):
Last time, we touch base on how to bring awareness into everyday feelings and emotions, and then also our ability to grow individually, but also through others stories, and why sharing our stories matters. So today we can still take that kind of standpoint, it's 2020, things are going kind of all over the map. How can we if your new business start with a good head front? Or how can we change the culture in our businesses and our environments in our businesses where empathy really is the first deciding factor on how we do things or change things?

Chava Vietze (1:18):
Yeah, there's so much that we want to impact here. And I think we can start by, let's just talk about 2020 for a second. 2020, what's happened, we've got a world pandemic, we had George Floyd and a civil rights movement that has been unfolding in America, we have an economic crisis that is impacting across the globe, there's so many things that have now unfolded, got a catastrophe, right? Literally a world pandemic, that is considered a catastrophe, that is the highest level of stress that you can actually look at a barometer and 'Okay, where are we? 1-2-3 we're at a three. What that's been doing is it's been forcing people, organizations and governments and really any sort of organization, community or culture to actually look at what they're doing, how they're doing it, and it forced them to change. And we started with the pandemic, right, people had to move to remote work very, very quickly, if they were able to. We have entire industries that are unfortunately crumbling, because they were whether it's like restaurants and small businesses, we have commercial real estate and properties. And there's so much that has changed dramatically in our world in the past six months. And we need to not only have an introspective look on our own lives, right but also how are we doing business? How are we supporting each other in work with our colleagues and how we're building organizations and remote work and the future of work is a massive conversation I've been a part of recently, it's not going away. Coronavirus, is not going to just shut off on December 31. And we're gonna go into 2021 and be like, 'Great back to normal, let's go to be office, everything's going to be totally back to pre-March/February times, right?' We have to think about the future of work in a brand new way. The conversations that I've been having, I think that takeaways have been that we have focused so much on hard skills, becoming an engineer and learning coding or becoming a producer learning, video producing or any of those things, but there are some extremely important soft skills that we need to breed within organizations, whether you are starting an organization, or whether you are a fortune 500/100 company, and you're looking at your company 'How can we improve and really move forward in the future of work to continue to succeed?' And those soft skills I think are centered in empathy and compassion on the one hand, and then there's adaptability and flexibility, which really they all kind of intertwine. That impacts a lot itself. And I can talk about a lot of different directions. But the point is work needs an overhaul. That's it, right?

Victoria Ferguson (4:15):
I don't think anyone's willing to work in an environment that doesn't make them feel good or feel validated at this point. And to be fair, I don't know why it was ever something that people put up with. I spent the last few years being actively hated by a person at my work and I just never let it affect me. But the moment I stopped working with them, I realized just how great it felt to be away from toxic energy. Not only is there toxic energy that is lacking empathy and compassion, but then even the structures of how people get the job or not a lot of inclusion or it's like we just kind of go 'Oh, this is just how it is' and we just put up with it. But when we're taking the shift, for me launching my skincare brand, I have the most work on my plate than I've ever had before but I'm so happy. Why? because as my own boss, I'm very mindful of how I feel and why I feel that way and I'm able to implement on everything I do from a very compassion and, and with empathy standpoint, but when I worked for other people those things were never brought up, it was never talked about. No one cared how you felt, there's just kind of like 'shut up and roll with it.' And that's just how it was. But when you take a global pandemic, and all these things that are happening that we're just not willing to put up with anymore, it's not going to be that way ever again, there is no normal that we'll return to, we have to recreate what our "normal is." And I think it's really important that we have people who have been paying attention to that before this all happened. Because when people are trying to change in such a quick moment, there are people who have been as yourself, you've been studying mental health and mentoring for the last year, that's going to give you a good standpoint on how to actually execute, because you didn't start feeling this way in the middle of a pandemic, you felt this way, previous. So now, when we had the pandemic come in, you're kind of like, 'Alright, I just got to tighten up my shoelaces and actually implement it, because I've worked hard to get to where everyone is starting,' you've got a year ahead of us.

Chava Vietze (5:54):
Yeah, thank you for that you made a few different points, right? Being in a toxic work environment. What is a toxic work environment? it means that you are not able to meet your basic level of needs, it means that you can't thrive. You don't feel that you necessarily have psychological safety and can bring your ideas freely. Safety in the workplace is not just physical that is outrageously important, that is a basic need, we need to meet, right? If you look at a psychological theory of Maslow's hierarchy of needs, you've got some basic needs: getting food, water, rest, then you have your safety needs of security/physical safety. And then from there, you move on to some higher level psychological needs. There are oftentimes workplaces are focusing very much on 'We pay you and here's a job and like, great, you need to take care of your livelihood.' But what now we've entered in the past six months or so is that work and life are bleeding together, because many people, and I come from primarily tech industry/startup world where you were in the office, but then you would leave and you would go home. Okay, what happened now, though, is that everyone is at home all the time, their home has become their gym, it's become their office, and it's their home where they have relationships with children, or partners, or guardians or whoever it might be. So we can't look at work in the same way that we did before. What we need to look at work is in a holistic way, and where we are really focused on overall well being. And it's not just for you, as an individual, companies need to actually integrate employee well being as a part of their overall company strategy, if they expect to actually move past and have longevity as a company. We have seen things that have surfaced with companies, whether they have poor diversity, whether or equity, you mentioned, inclusion, not feeling included at work, right, those things are stemming from not having very strong foundations in caring for one another, and really having compassionate view and empathy. Let's say that you have a co worker and usually performs very well, their a pleasure to be around in the work and you notice that over the past several weeks, maybe they've been late to meetings, or they've not been showing up or their projects are late or the quality is not up to their typical standard. Now, in some environments, what that means is they might get micromanaged. They may get poor performance reviews, they may just continue on the cycle, and no one cares. But there's a reason for their change in performance and to lead empathetically and coming from a place of compassion. You don't wait to give this person feedback and give them a terrible court performance review. You want to address it then when it starts, when you recognize it and create a healthy feedback communication loop. Otherwise, this employee will likely continue to again you don't know what's going on in their life, they could continue to struggle you are breeding more bad behaviors through now micromanaging them perhaps maybe they're working more hours so they have poor work hours like this employee is going to burn out. Totally. And where do you start you start with approaching that employee and asking them there's something going on that you want to share? Approaching them with compassion, with empathy. Maybe they are a mom there were at home now with their kid and they're on zoom doing hours of schoolwork with them. And then they're coming to work too. I have a beautiful example of something like this happening where there was a mother whos fantastic company found out that she was tutoring her child and also trying to work and what they did was like whoa, 'We're giving you a raise. Where we're actually going to help you hire a tutor so that we can continue performance at work.' Yeah, which was first of all unique situation, right? heartwarming stories just show what needs to be done at companies, they need to be thinking about holistic approach. Because work is not just work anymore.

Victoria Ferguson (10:15):
Company should care about you not just the time you clock in and clock out. It's a whole package. But for me, I think the only reason I was able to do it is because I have this simple understanding that it wasn't personal, the way someone treats you isn't personal, it's the direct reflection of their relationship with themselves. So I knew there was something going on with them personally, and I never took it personal. But then when you get away from it, and this is what it feels like to not be hated on for no reason? You wonder why you put up with it for so long. But then I have compassion for that person, if they're that unhappy, and that's how they would treat me I would think, well, if this is how they are to others, when they're unhappy, I can only imagine the words in their mind. Because I felt so much for them, I never ever crossed that line where I got mad back because that's me taking it personal. And I couldn't, it wasn't about me. But I don't think a lot of people know that, they will take it personal. It feels very personal. But I guess with having my son super young, I was able to learn how to deal with people thinking things about me that weren't true. And I've really learned to kind of shift away from it. But I think when we discuss how do we move forward in 2020, we have to understand that with a lot of hurt, even if it's not directly with someone, there might be a rooted hurt in their family or pain that they are carrying. And they're going to respond in ways that you might not understand but you need to try and have empathy and compassion as to why they're acting that way. Because if we only talk about the reaction and never about the action, we're never going to figure out a solution. We're just going to keep trying to put a bandaid on something and move on. But if we actually look at what is the root of what this problem is, maybe we don't understand what they're doing today, but we can figure out 'Oh, after feeling this way for X amount of time, this is how they're going to respond, I can fully understand that if I put myself in their shoes dealing with something all the time,' which I think is very easy to understand what's going on with a lot of the world right now, even if you're not actually directly affected by it, because if it happened to me and my son, I wouldn't put up with it. So I can understand how you could respond this way today.

Chava Vietze (12:04):
Just sharing your experience, you are able to share the experience of what you've gone through and the feelings that you've experienced being an important work environment and having this life outside of work, which is admirable, because so many people are uncomfortable sharing that. And so I think that one thing we've discussed is just being able to normalize conversations, right? But you also made some really good other points about being reactive. So we can't be reactive, we can't just sit back anymore. And we can't accept the status quo, quite frankly, like we need to disrupt industries in the way that we work with each other. And your point of we can't continue to put band aids on things, that's exactly right. So I think if I were to try and start talking about actions that companies can take at various stages, right, stop trying to put a bandaid on things. I think what I've seen in the United States, we have many protests going on these protests continue to go on, whether it's a BLM movement, or whether it's in promoting diversity, equity inclusion within organizations and equality, companies came out with a statement. They said they support BLM, that they support diversity and inclusion within their organization and that's where it stopped. I was like, 'Well, where's the action? What are you going to be doing now?' You need to take an introspective look at how you do business. That means starting at the beginning. So where's the beginning? It's when it's the recruiting process. It's looking at how you advertise rules, how you recruit, how you talk about your organization. What are your core values? What is your mission? How are you delivering that mission? How are your employees delivering that mission? How do you work together and talk to each other? you're hiring a team you're onboarding the team, what is the experience you're giving to them? What questions do you ask them about how they best perform, right? How are they best managed? Then it comes to actually working with teams and what hours you're starting for people? What flexibility can you have? Perhaps some people are more morning people versus night owls and are there certain flexibility in hours, again, that you can get? It goes into benefits. Now benefits is a big topic right now because you mentioned band aids, right? Here's the band aid.. sending out a notification to your employees saying 'Hey, we're going to pay for your headspace,' headspace is a fantastic application, I've used it for years on mindfulness and meditation, 'because we want to support your mental health. So we're going to give you access to this app that is a band aid.' It's fantastic that companies want to provide this benefit, but you also need to provide the workplace that also supports them being able to take advantage of maybe meditation in the work day or exercise in the work day. It's not about the free perks and the free lunch also guys, let's talk about free lunch right now, no one's in the office. So let's reallocate some of the benefits you were providing to look at a holistic method to building your company. And so there are amazing tools, headspace one of them, right? That's just one piece. There's the entire holistic approach. There's financial health, there's education, there's professional development, there's leadership development, which is outrageously important. And then there's benefits and understand what your employees really need. And there's some really great resources, there's really great experts on the topics that you can work with to help you start having these conversations at work. We just again, I just love the idea that you mentioned of not being reactive and not putting band aids on and 'here are the tools you need to move forward with action.'

Victoria Ferguson (15:49):
I'm always shocked when someone is so surprised that nothing is getting changed. I'm like, 'Well, what did you work on?' They're like, 'Well, she got mad, so I made sure she was good and calmed her down.' Okay, and what else did you do? Because that fixed this 30 minutes of being angry, but what did you do so that this doesn't boil over again? 'Oh, nothing. She's great.' Well, there's a reason she got angry, did you find it out? No, she was having a bad day. You can always go backtrack, figure out how do we go back and check this out and check this out. But because I've spent so much time in my life, knowing that when I would meet someone I'd be like, 'You know, I've sexual trauma, I don't really want to be hugged. It's not you I don't want to be touched by it's just, I don't want to be touched by someone I don't know, as I get to know you more, sure maybe, but just so you know,' I'm always overcompensating for what my things are. And then I bet you know what, like, I don't always reply, I'm a little bit cold but that's because I have to physically learn to get comfortable with someone after what I've been through. So I feel like because I've been conscious of self, I've been able to tell people, but some people never know why they're that way. I can tell you today that some people's energy just reminds me, you know, of the person that did what happened to me when I was 14. And I just don't like them. And I can try and explain to them why because I've been able to walk myself through this holding my own hand. But so many people just hide their own feelings and emotions and their stories, and they don't know why they're acting out. And a lot of the times an emotion will come out as something different. Someone who seems mad all the time, it could be anxiety, it could be just sadness. When I have anxiety I come across as mad, I know that and I can own that if someone says, 'You seem really angry,' I go, this is probably my anxiety kicking in. And I've expressed them that they know that my anxiety sounds like anger sometime, and then they'll work with me. And that's the only way that I've been able to get through it is because A) I've allowed you to understand myself B) you've seen the point that I've talked about and C) we're able to work together on 'Okay, you're not angry, so I'm not going to take it personally that you're mad at me, but how can we deal with your anxiety? Anxiety is something I think almost everyone has, but we don't talk about it ever. If you look up the symptoms of what is anxiety, it could be you don't eat, you don't do your laundry for five days straight and just sits there. It could be simply you don't answer your phone. There's so many things, It's like pause, that's anxiety? Okay, I probably do have it. But no one's like, 'No, I don't have it, It's mental health, I don't have it. No.'

Chava Vietze (17:49):
Yeah, a part of that is taking away that stigma of mental health., and whether you do that in the workplace, right? If you work with a comfortable team, and you're able to actually ,and you want to share more about how you work best in what gives you anxiety or in traumatic workplace experiences and things like that, right? There's this idea, again, with anxiety that you can just tackle it ,right? That you' can just shut it down. A think, or not even understanding rather that you have anxiety. You're like, I'm nervous, how is this displayed? I'm excited, how are we approaching stress? How do we actually move forward with stress and anxiety? A lot of that has to do I think with again, normalizing mental health, reducing that stigma there is ,realizing that life is tough, right? Literally life is tough. You're going to have experiences in your life that are anxious and nerve wracking.

Victoria Ferguson (18:48):
But how can you know any other emotion if you don't have anything to bounce it back off of if you haven't been nervous or afraid? How do you know that you're good?

Chava Vietze (18:55):
You know, I know this goes outside the topic of bringing empathy into the workplace. But it goes back to something I think we talked about in our last episode about education early on. I think there's a huge industry and a huge opportunity for education policy, and honestly really awesome technology to come in and try and shake up education and actually build mindfulness and an openness and empathy within a school, right? at something that they can grow with and bring this to the workplace. It's so funny you talk about just being able to talk about your emotions, but there was a study done where was an exercise done with oil rig workers that I can reference and send more information on it was a podcast and my NPR have an example where oil rig workers, very high stakes, high high stakes and high death rates, high injury rates, and through a number of exercises and training, they were able to change the culture, change the norm of of oil rig work. And this industry for this specific company to be able to be open to talk about their emotions, to understand why they feel certain ways, why they were brought up certain ways and actually change and develop more empathy, more compassion and more ability to realize that emotions are quite powerful. And we should talk about them. And what it led to is actually reduced death rates, reduced injuries on the job. So this is a very black and white example that I like to use because it has this easy correlation that you can talk about, right? Right. Because it was like, 'we did this we integrated psychological theories we and mental health and normalized it within this industry. And it led to reduced death rate.'

Victoria Ferguson (20:41):
When you find out that you're not alone, it sounds so simple, but it's such a massive change. Because even for me, I never talked about, for example, my hormonal depression that would come up a few times a year, I talked to five girlfriends, and all five had the same thing. But none of us talked about it before. We have each other, why don't we talk about it? I never really thought about it, called my mom, same thing. She's like, never really thought about it. I'm like how do we change it? If it's not going to naturally come to our minds to think about, how do we implement and start this dialogue? At what point in our lives so that it is a topic? We have sex at school, my son's last school, some parents were not comfortable with it. They didn't want it. But there was this really great program that came in that just wanted to talk about it and I signed my son up, and he was like, I don't want to go, I'm like, Yeah, you do. And after he went, he goes, 'it was really good' And I'm like, all these kids that go and go, yeah, I don't want to do it. And you go, you don't have to go. No, let's just get them talking and thinking, because even if it doesn't change them today, when your kid is growing up at some point, they're gonna be like, Oh, I remember when someone told me that. And then it's going to actually change for them.

Chava Vietze (21:38):
Yeah, I mean, it does. It starts early on. The development stages that people go through, and our minds are very powerful, humans have so much can have so much control over their brain and their mindset, right? It does require habit changing, it does start at a young age. And there are cultural norms, right. And this varies from culture, to culture, country to country, interested industry. But if we can actually start at a young age to continue on to foster mindfulness, put more of a focus on emotional intelligence, right, I think why it's been IQ, IQ, IQ, right? Hard. All of these things, right. upskilling, and getting people the tools access they need. And all of these things are outrageously important. However, we haven't put enough of an emphasis on emotional intelligence and fostering that, I believe that there should be courses and probably starting in middle school, going into high school, going into college, about how to foster relationships, and how to develop a practice of mindfulness.

Victoria Ferguson (22:40):
Even how to like care for yourself in a relationship, if it's not for you, or it's not good for you, you don't have to continue trying. We're always told in school, to just be their friend, even if they are mean to other kids. At some point, there's a point where you're like, this actually isn't for me, because when I go into adulthood, I'm going be like, 'that's okay that they're kind of mean to me,' Not everyone needs to put up with that. For me, I don't have a grade 12, I have a grade 8 education. I had my son in grade 9. And I was so embarrassed, I did not have a diploma or a high level of education. And everyone goes, Yeah, but you have extremely high EQ. And it took me 28 years to be like, Oh, yeah, that's probably been more beneficial and it's helped me do everything I've done today. But how do we shift that? My son's teacher called me in last year, and they're like, you know, if you talk to Alex, he could paint a picture with his words but if I tell him to put it on paper, he's not that great. And I'm like, 'well, I'm sorry, he's going to probably be an entrepreneur when he's older. And I can't be mad at that. Because for me, I don't have a grade 12 so I can't expect him to be brilliant in school. I make sure I pay attention to him in person, if he ever is feeling he's short on something, I will work on it. But because maybe he didn't want to spend an extra 10 minutes writing this essay, when he could then tell me out loud, I'm not really going to be mad about it. It's shifting that, you know, when we go from school to then you need to know what you want to do when they need to go to university or college, they need to get into that job force, that rush is never going to make my kid actually be the best version of himself. But if he's checking in with himself, he's in tune with themselves, he can pick a workplace that maybe has a leadership with a compassionate point of view versus being forced into something that he thinks he likes or he thinks he needs to do it, because that's what he was the best end school. But that's not real life anymore.

Chava Vietze (24:10):
Yeah. I mean, I'm hoping that by the time your son actually enters into the workforce, at whatever point it is, that we have been able to make some substantial steps in the direction of just living again, in a world with more holistic workplaces that really promote self care, and professional and personal development and being in many ways, more collective philosophy, right? We live in very individualistic, at least in the United States, again, we live in a very individualistic culture, and the philosophies that we follow, they're very pertaining to the individual and less about the collective health of our colleagues, and our friends, and our neighbors and other citizens right that live around us but again, I think you are seeing this shift. I think there is a tremendous opportunity for again, new companies to come and really shake up what is work? Whether that means mental health, startups, and these sorts of things, whether that means just starting organizations that are really rich, and again, empathy, adaptability, remote work, giving opportunity, developing more soft skills, and leadership skills. I'm hoping by the time your son is ready that we will be in a much, much better place.

Victoria Ferguson (25:29):
We actually talked about yesterday, I'm like, 'you graduate in 2025? Okay, it's a decent time to get this together.' But even at this time, as long as we're working in the same direction, even if it's something as simple as instead of the competitive behavior in workforces actually kind of creeps me out, because that, to me, is based only because of someone's insecurity or the idea that if someone gets a raise or promotion, that means that I am less than, but it doesn't, if someone else is being rewarded for their work ethic, we should celebrate them, too. Because if I was rewarded for my work ethic, I would want to be celebrated and not hated it on. So when I look at my son, and I look at the future, and I'm like, Okay, if at least by 2020, we have the mindset of being able to celebrate others and not think that it takes for my cup, that's bare minimum what I want in the workforce, especially with my own business, I mean, my son really wants to help me with mine, which is great. But I think setting a tone with the dialogue. The conversations I have with my son about work, play and life, maybe they're uncomfortable for him. But now we're at the point where he says things to me that I'm just like, how are you only 12 years old? And then it's like, I'm so lucky, like, No, I think I've actually worked really hard to get you to have a compassionate point of view. Because when people said things, or whatever about myself and him, I walked him through all of my feelings about 'I feel this way, I feel that way. This is why,' and then every day I would explain how I feel better. I'm like, Look, someone can say something was not going to affect me long term, I will walk through it, I'll figure out why I feel that way, why it's bothered me. And so he when he was being bullied at school, I was like, 'Well, why don't you push them back?' And he goes, 'Well, nope, because they go home, their mom will be just as sad as you are. And I don't want that for them.' And I was like, okay, don't do that. You're correct. Thank you for checking me at the same time where I was trying to check you. And it's just that if we always lead from childhood, they're the only ones that are going to be in the future, we're going to die. Our children will be the future, they will be us in the future. So why wouldn't we put time into them?

Chava Vietze (27:14):
I know we've got an imprint to leave. And we've got a lot of work to do. But I'm hoping that again, I think it's really scary, because there is so much to do. However, we can chip away at small pieces of it. Yes, I think that we need to dramatically change social and public policy in many regards. I do think that private industry and private companies can lead the way in many ways, because you are launching an organization and you may hire people, which means they look up to you, which means you are training them and formulating ideas that then they may launch a company, they're going to take their experiences into their ventures. So people need to realize that they have a bigger impact than they might think even if they're in a smaller city, or they're just starting out in their career, you have an ability to have a large impact. And we need to think about how our combined efforts can have such a large impact going forward.

Victoria Ferguson (28:09):
Every large impact has a very small first footprint. And we need to do it.

Chava Vietze (28:13):
You have to take the first step, right. So however you're doing that, whether it means you're volunteering, or you're offering help to your coworker, or you're doing it at home, right, with education with help normalizing mental health with your own son. Again, kind of goes back to the entire podcast, right? 'Empathy Everywhere.' Like, what does that mean? It literally means everywhere.

Victoria Ferguson (28:37):
Well, your empathy shouldn't stop. If you don't live in a certain country, it shouldn't end 'Oh, I only am in Canada. So that's where my empathy goes,' Nope, empathy is literally everywhere. It's the air that I breathe. To me empathy and feelings are my currency. It's more precious than $1, or a piece of gold because I could attempt to earn that in whatever way but you really have to work hard to actually build proper empathy and how to actually use it. It's not, I thought it was common sense, I've learned in 2020 it is not.

Chava Vietze (29:03):
It's development, and it is self actualization. And life, as cliche as it sounds, life is genuinely a journey. And we are seeing life change even more quickly this year, with everything that is going on, and all the stressors that we're experiencing, and listen, I want to be really positive. I'm hoping there are some silver linings that come out of all this, I'm hoping that we can really push the envelope in terms of creating more holistic lifestyles that are very rooted in good ethics, right? And having really good morals and empathy, compassion, adaptability, growth, relationships, they're all important. Let's increase longevity for people.

Victoria Ferguson (29:46):
Well, that's just it. If we want to really have a good future ourselves. We can't just expect everything to be ours and want everything to be ours, but we have to want it for others as well. Because if everyone around you has nothing and you have everything, are you really living? no. So why don't we focus on everyone getting and you're going to realize that what you have is enough. And you'll be able to actually take a step back, take a moment, breathe, look at what you're doing and be like, you know what this is good enough, I don't need to have everything to feel good. It's more about that. And that's why for me, even with skincare, you could be the most beautiful person, look in the mirror and if you feel not so good on the inside, you're not going to see that. So for me, skincare and self care really goes hand in hand, because to look good, you actually need to feel good. And if you look at some people who have confidence, that is the key ingredient, it's not actually about what's on the outside, it's what on the inside that will push them to actually make a difference or make a change or do something. And I can't tell you, if I didn't have Alex at 15 years old, I don't know if I'd be here at 28. But because I had to actually shift through a very challenging part of my life so early on, every time someone comes up and go, I can handle that I've been through worse. And although that sounds awful, it's blessing in disguise. So I'm hoping 2020 is a blessing in disguise. As unfortunate as all of these things are, we can only hope that there's so much room to grow. We're basically starting from square one, let's build it properly this time.

Chava Vietze (31:03):
We've got to move forward. And there's a lot of inequalities that we are unfortunately, I think in many regards, some people are just realizing.

Victoria Ferguson (31:14):
It's never too late to realize though, I understand that people probably think that but as long as you get there, I don't care how long it took you, I'm just glad that you got there. No judgement for all that time previous, if you're willing to be like, Look, this is what I did wrong this way, see differently. Maybe I've led this way in my office for the last 10 years, but this is what I want to do. And you have like, you know, your short term, medium term and your long term goals of how you want to change things, that's enough to start with, it's not going be perfect, you're going find out what everyone needs differently, especially with people working at home and then coming back, I think people will change their idea of what they're willing to put up with at work. I mean, I worked in film, we worked so many hours a week, we were right or die showed a show back to back. And then now it's like, I don't know if I want to be in film anymore. Because I want to have more of a family life and you realize what you're missing out on. So I mean, even that small blip in my reality, there's going to be that across the board for everyone. Companies said you can't work from home and not like that you have to work from home. And now they can't say you can't work from home anymore.

Chava Vietze (32:08):
Oh, yeah, this is going change dramatically, organizations, many of them, there are so many big companies who have already transitioned to remote work. And quite frankly, they're going to be working from home for the next year, a year and a half, we're not going backwards. And so it's really more a matter of let's think critically, thoughtfully, compassionately about the future of work and get on board. That's it, at this point, you got to get on board, you got to get on board. Otherwise, like you said, people are having these moments where they're realizing they don't need to work 80 hours a week in order to be successful, they can have a home life, they can have the professional life, it's a matter of the mindset and looking at how we can make this sort of success that I want personally looking at it.

Victoria Ferguson (32:57):
Well that's just it, I think, if you are curious, like how do I even you see if I have empathy? Or how do I you know, try and test the waters, what you can do for work for home, for friendships, for whatever it is always just ask yourself, 'would I be willing to put up this for myself, my child, or my family? And if the answer is no, you probably shouldn't put someone else through it. Would you be willing to work 100 hours a week, never see your family, not really get married, or have kids just for this job? Well, no, because now I'm over here and I'm married. I've got this. So no, I wouldn't put up with it. Okay, well, would you put up with someone being killed for something that they didn't do, or not even offense that deserves anything like that? Well, no, I probably wouldn't put up with that with my kid. Well, then that's probably the answer.' So you move on and you do the opposite. To build empathy, you have to realize these are the hard questions. I'm going to ask myself, I'm going to be brutally honest, I wouldn't put up with that, so I shouldn't make someone else put up with that. And that's where I've read any question I have, I asked that question for me, for Alex, no, so I wouldn't do it to someone else. Even the person at work, would I treat them the way that they treated me? No, because I know I don't like it, so I wouldn't do it to them, regardless of what they're doing to me. And I've always, no matter what, I've checked myself on that question, and I think anyone at work, or outside of work, ask that question and you can at least try to build a perspective with empathy versus just leading like you don't put yourself in their shoes.

Chava Vietze (34:08):
Yeah, I think for anyone listening who's like trying to figure that out, it's what you've summed up to is challenge yourself, get outside of your kind of world, your usual environment, right? Talk to people, get feedback, and walking in other people's shoes, looking at your own your own biases, and looking at other people's biases. That's where it starts.

Victoria Ferguson (34:27):
Yeah, we just need a starting point. We're not telling you how to do everything. It's just how do we start? This is probably a good way to do it.

Chava Vietze (34:32):
Yes. start the conversation and start it now! Today.

Victoria Ferguson (34:40):
Well, I love talking with you, that that is all that we have for today. If anyone wants to reference either these two podcasts, they're both great. I would love to talk to you again because I could chat with you forever.

Chava Vietze (34:55):
Yeah, this has been absolutely wonderful. Thank you so much, I can't wait to listen to the next episodes also that are coming up.

Victoria Ferguson (35:04):
I am so excited, and these ones are really important because right now it's like how do we deal with ourselves? And how do we deal with work? Because that's what we're trying to transition back to. So these two topics are super important, and I'm so thankful that you joined us today.

Chava Vietze (35:16):
Thank you so much. Yeah, it's been a pleasure.

Victoria Ferguson (35:19):
Thanks, bye. We deeply appreciate you tuning in to The Empathy Everywhere Podcast. If you'd like to connect further, you can find us @EmpathyEverywhere @East29th on social media, or you can check us out on www.East29th.com

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