How the World sometimes Turns

Hi Friends,

I spent some time licking my wounds last week and realizing that the opportunity I had been vying for probably wasn’t the right fit. But I responded with my real opinions this morning when the employer asked for feedback. Who knows if a human reads those things. Probably an “AI” is scraping the data. Oh well.

Only a few days after I received the pee test news I was offered an opportunity to coach a BIPOC and/or junior staff cohort at an organization who’s values are highly aligned with mine. Until we are signed and fully contracted I am going to hold off mentioning them here. The hourly rate is 15+ times what I was offered at the job where I was turned down. And thus, I will continue my “irrational” pursuit of self-employment while further developing affordable somatics and stress-relief opportunities and group mentoring.

The YouTube 1 minute video of a woman standing up for her land and her country.

There is a lot of heavy energy in the world right now, and not getting a part-time job is the least my worries as people in the Ukraine are being attacked. I was humbled to realize how lucky and privileged I am sitting safely at home, while others cope with unbridled tyranny on the other side of the planet. But I’ve also been so heartened to see how many people around the world are doing everything they can to help.

If you have not seen the video of the woman speaking to the soldiers about the sunflower seeds she wants them to carry in their pockets, it is worth seeing. Talk about “escalating” the situation. This is what courage looks like, unless the captioning is wrong (I don’t speak the language).

Last year I worked with a group called Fight for Right Ukraine while I was part of team facilitation cohorts for The Medici Group. They were a tiny but scrappy and resourceful team and I was greatly impressed with their creativity and their amazing resolve to find ways to grow their network of disability rights activists. I donated to a GoFundMe campaign (in Euros) because I know how hard they were working, and I believe this group has already made change legislatively and practically. In case you are feeling helpless and might want to make a small gift, I know the funds would be well-stewarded.

Be well,

Cristy

P.S. If you need a song to help bolster your personal Resilience, I’ve been playing this one by Rising Appalacia over and over again. The shorter video version still brings tears to my eyes. In case you need a small lift from the heavy energy this is something that has helped me to stay focused on the helpers in the world. I believe we are still are in the majority.

On Ableism, Pee Tests and Automated Systems

About a month ago I got a job offer from retail company to work for 12-20 hours a week in customer service. I was excited for the offer. It’s a store where I love browsing. And I wanted a part time job where I can leave the house three days a week, if at all possible. During the interview, I learned shifts would be 4-6.5 hours. Perfect.

From the time I submitted the resume and cover letter online, it was only two days until the interview. Then two later I inteviewed in person (masked) at the Bloomington Store. Later that afternoon after the in person interview I received the verbal and written offer, contigent on a background check and and a drug screen.

Of course these checks were totally totally expected.

However, it made me nervous when I went into LabCorp a few days later to submit my pee sample. I asked the attendant about the prescription that I take for focus which typically triggers the “positive test” warning. The attendant reassured me: oh, there’s a database, they can look you up there. I frowned, because I’m pretty sure this is not true. But I didn’t want to rock the boat at this early stage.

Three other times over the last 15 years when I had to submit to pee tests for employment purposes, I received a call from the lab. I was able to give them a prescription number and a pharmacy name so they could verify. No problem. Verification done. Not an issue.

(Side note: my nurse practitioner collects labs annually, to verify I’m not giving my medicine to someone other than me. Fair enough. I get it. And since I do this during my wellness visit, it’s not inconvenient.)

This time around, it was strange because I heard nothing for a few weeks. I began to wonder so I reached out to the recruiter a few weeks in. She told me she hadn’t heard back yet about the background check (they typically run these for cash-handling positions, and I get that). Okay, let’s wait a week or two more.

Last week she called again to say she was escalating the request and she apologized for the delay. I know she’s got full time employees to prioritize. Someone who works only 12-20 hours a week is not their priority. And they know from my cover letter that I’m self-employed and want a part-time job in order to supplement income that can ebb and flow seasonally.

When I received an automated rejection notice informing me that, “At this time, the results of one or both of these do not meet the COMPANY hiring standards. Consequently, we will no longer be moving forward with your offer of employment.” (I am leaving the company unnamed here because I hope the recruiter might make things right.)

What?!? Seriously?!?

I asked for a copy of the report to see what it contained. The company was able to send the report within two hours by email, thankfully.

Criminal background check: completely blank. Drug screen: red. Flagged for my focus medicine, which I have been taking for 17 years. (Side note: today it’s a lower dose than it was in my 30’s, because I’ve figured out nutritional and exercise interventions to feed my brain better). I called the background company again and they gave me the phone number of the Medical Review Officer (MRO) so I could report the prescription.

This MRO/service person was extremely kind on the phone and when I explained what happened he noted that they didn’t receive my contact information from the lab submitting the sample to them. So they were unable to contact me in order to verify the prescription number or pharmacy. He took down my scrip number and pharmacy information and told me that he would report back to the screening company.

This morning I received an identical second email message rejecting me for not meeting the standards of unnamed retailer. I have to admit, the second rejection email stung even more than the first.

Seriously?!?

I have no other way of knowing if some other employment verification information got messed up or if it’s still rejected because of the red flag on the substance screen. Did a human even look at the updated record? I have no way to know. Since I don’t have a criminal record, there might be something else lurking that I don’t know. And the recruiter claims she was not told by the screening company what was in the record that was of concern. So perhaps there is nothing she can do.

I have other opportunities coming up to work on projects that are more “in my wheelhouse” in terms of coaching and mentoring young leaders for another organization that is more in line with my values. So I don’t plan to spend a lot of time fighting this issue. However, if this is happening to me, I know I’m not the first person with a “hidden disability” to have this issue. Some day I will make use of this story when I speak to companies about inclusive design. This feels like the opposite of that.

Be well, Amigos.

Blog to podcast

Any of my blogging peeps have the experience of going from blog to podcast?

I keep hearing that in the “new” era we are in, people are getting tired of screen time. I know it’s true for me, and I have to be careful not to spend too much time on screens.

Podcasts can be a very consumable type of content and I have had a hankering to try this for a while now. I know I have a lot to learn but there are some useful “podcasts about podcasts” out there, so who knows?

Today I just did my first co-hosting of a podcast for the Multipod. It isn’t released yet, but I absolutely loved interviewing the guest! I’m addicted. I’ll be doing another cohost of an interview this Thursday.

I would love to hear your experiences, if you care to weigh in.

Cheers & happy Full Moon!

Much love,

Cristy

I didn’t use this mike today but I may use it in the future. Used my Jabra headset today.

Cycles of letting go

Hello Friends,

How is your winter going? I am on the eve of letting the email address associated with this domain expire since I have been gradually moving toward a modified portfolio of work.

For the past month knowing that Feb 10th is my deadline so I’ve been unsubscribing regularly. I am conscious how much more work it is to monitor one additional email account. I’ll be back to two main ones, and one I use for a business where I consult from time to time. That feels easier.

Photo taken in Schroeder, MN where the maples show us beautiful rituals of letting go.

As I do this, it’s been kind of nostalgic to walk back through projects and files that I started from 2018 to 2021 marking a period of experimentation with a number of offerings. 2022 feels like a year where I may “land” a bit more and embrace a couple of main areas. At the same time, I am looking for a nice ritual of letting go to mark the occasion. I don’t know about you, but rituals of completion feel important to me.

So often I feel excited to head off into the next big challenge, but then I leave “open containers” along the way. Then they continue to exist in the background, taking up bandwidth like the extra windows we have opened, or those apps we forget to close. It’s no wonder our brains start to feel tired and burdened.

I like rituals involving fire. Safe ones, of course, but I’m considering how to mark this occasion as a burning away of old pressures, identities, obligations. I haven’t decided on how to do that yet, but I’m curious if you do this type of thing to mark the end of a project or effort, and what feels right.

Can you share with me any ideas that you find especially helpful?

Thank you!

cristy@wedefydefinition.com

The virtual book party

It seems fitting that yesterday, at the beginning of the Chinese New Year and the celebration of Imbolc (in the Celtic tradition) that my first dozen author copies of my book arrived to my home.

I decided that I wanted my books to “hang out” with other books I’ve enjoyed and authors I love. So while my little writing muse (Willy) was dressed in his tuxedo best, I created a display to celebrate.

Cat sitting in a display with book: Unleash, Unlearn, and Enliven and books by Brene Brown, Martha Beck, Bessel Van Der Kolk, Jenara Nerenberg and Katherine May

While I know I have a long way to go in my author journey, and I’m not at the level of the amazing authors sitting next to my book. But I also know they had to start somewhere, and so did I.

Taking time to celebrate this event felt like the right thing to do. So grateful I got serious in 2021 about getting this process started and finished.

What’s your next big goal? How do you plan to celebrate when you achieve it?

Relief at Release

I breathed a sigh of relief yesterday as I ordered the first dozen author copies of my first book, Unleash, Unlearn, and Enliven: Seven Micro-Practices to Engage Your Somatic Wisdom. I get to buy at printing cost plus shipping from Amazon.

Is there some shameless self-promotion in this post? Yea you betcha, as we say in Minnesota.

I’m choosing to include not just the Amazon link as I encourage potential readers to buy the book, but also links at Bookshop.org, which supports Indie booksellers. I also include Barnes and Noble, because I truly miss hanging out in their bookstore/coffee shop as I did for many hours (days, weeks, months) back when I was finishing my masters thesis in 2006. I’m giving some love to Birchbark Books in Minneapolis. It is owned by author Louise Erdrich. I first read Love Medicine back in college I think. If you have never read Erdrich’s work, stop now and order a book by her. Any book. Don’t even read my book. Seriously, your money is better spent on her work if you haven’t read any of it yet.

My deepest hope for my first book is that it feels like nourishment and support to those who are bicultural and/or neurodiverse, with ADHD, or those with sensitive nervous systems who want to love those parts of themselves they often hide in the shadows. There is much love contained in it, and much hard-won wisdom. And I know it’s not for everyone, but I hope it helps my peeps feel less alone.

We live in an incredible time when we can spread the messages we wish to convey without the same gatekeepers who used to “control the store” so to speak. While I deeply respect the work of the traditional publishing world, I also know that the leadership there is overwhelmingly White and male. In recent years, many independent publishers have been established that cater to a more diverse reader base. And now as self-publisher, I get to join that list in a tiny way.

If you want to take a listen to the guided somatic awareness practice from Sound Cloud, it might make a nice 5 minute body-based meditation as a break from your day. I will someday have an audio book version of the entire book produced, perhaps. One project at a time. Spring has me thinking about podcasts to further spread the micro-practices, but I’ve got a little prep to do before that.

Hope your creative work is fruitful and satisfying in 2022!

Cheers,

Cristy