Do I Need Work Friends? with Tre'vell Anderson | Crooked Media
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June 21, 2023
Work Appropriate
Do I Need Work Friends? with Tre'vell Anderson

In This Episode

Are work friends overrated? How can you manage the awkwardness of your friend becoming your boss? And is it possible to have a work fling without it ending in disaster? Tre’vell Anderson, co-host of What A Day and author of We See Each Other: A Black, Trans Journey Through TV and Film, joins host Anne Helen Petersen to answer all things friendship.

 

 

TRANSCRIPT

 

[AD BREAK]

 

Anne Helen Petersen: Hi, everyone. I’m Anne Helen Petersen, and this is Work Appropriate. [music plays] We have had a couple of really heavy episodes, so I thought it was time to do something just slightly lighter and focus on a question that I think a lot of us have had over the course of our careers. Should I make friends at work? If I should how do I do it? If I have them, how do I manage those friendships? Especially when one of us gets promoted or moved or fired and things get awkward? I found the perfect coworker here at Crooked, someone with a whole lot of work friend experience to be my co-host. [music plays]

 

Tre’vell Anderson: My name is Tre’vell Anderson. I use they/them pronouns and I am a journalist and author, co-host of Crooked Media’s What a Day podcast. I have another podcast. You know, I got 12 jobs. Okay. [laughter]

 

Anne Helen Petersen: Well, this is why you are the perfect person for this episode [laughter] because like a lot of us, you do and have done so many things for work. So can you talk through a little bit of that journey for us? 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: Yes. So I’ve been a journalist for the last decade or so. I started my career at the Los Angeles Times in a diversity fellowship program. I was there for four years covering Hollywood entertainment, movies, etc. I left there to go to Out Magazine to be their Director of Culture and Entertainment. So then I was in like management and leadership at that point and then got laid off two days before Christmas 2019. And [laughter] I have been a freelancer ever since. Got a couple of podcasts. I just wrote a book that came out a couple of weeks ago called We See Each Other A Black Trans Journey through TV and Film, and I do some consulting here or there. I do a this, a lot of that, you know, whatever I need to do to pay the bills. 

 

Anne Helen Petersen: So what are your thoughts on the necessity of work friendships or work relationships? I feel like I’ve gone through different periods in my life where they felt really important. And sometimes when I’m like work friendships are part of the problem, you know what I mean? 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: Absolutely. [laughter] I think it depends on how much time you are actually spending at work, right? 

 

Anne Helen Petersen: Yeah. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: And what other types of friend groups you may or may not have access to. So when I first started at the L.A. Times, I had just moved out here by myself. I didn’t know anybody. And I was in this fellowship program that made me feel like I always had to be working and I always had to, like, volunteer to do extra shit. And so work friends became very important because that was like the only sort of community that I had. And I’m still close with some of those people to this day. But then over the years, work friendships have become less necessary because I’ve built kind of my own community outside of work to where now I feel like I can have more of a separation between, oh, that’s a work colleague. We go out to happy hour, maybe once every other week. [laughter] But I’m really spending my time with like my core group of friends who who may not even know what the hell I do for a living, you know? 

 

Anne Helen Petersen: Right. I mean, I think there’s two things that often happen in the years immediately after college or grad school. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: Mm hmm. 

 

Anne Helen Petersen: Like when you’re in college, you’re used to your friends being your colleagues, right? 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: Right, yes. 

 

Anne Helen Petersen: Your fellow students. And so the thing that you spend most of your day doing is also the primary source of your friendship. So it makes sense when you go into a fellowship, when you go into grad school, when you go into your first job, especially at any job [laughter] where a lot of the other workers are your age. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: Yeah. 

 

Anne Helen Petersen: That that then becomes your primary source of friendship. And I think as you so smartly point out, when you are in quote unquote “hungry jobs” that take all of your day and subsume your identity, what happens then is that they become your only source of friendship. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: Yeah. 

 

Anne Helen Petersen: And so when you lose a job, when you get laid off. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: Yeah. 

 

Anne Helen Petersen: If there’s some sort of like toxic shit that happens at work because it happens a lot, that’s so destabilizing. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: Mm hmm. 

 

Anne Helen Petersen: And also, like, what if you date someone at work? Because if you’re only friend group is your friends at work, then that’s often times how you start dating them, right? And then you break up and oh my gosh [laughter] it’s a bad seed. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: Yes. 

 

Anne Helen Petersen: Like early BuzzFeed was like college in terms of like people dating multiple other people. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: Yeah, mm hmm, mm hmm. 

 

Anne Helen Petersen: Right. There was just not enough people. That is messy. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: So messy. So messy. Do not suggest do not advise. To be clear, I actually you know, it’s in I know it’s tough, right? Because these are the only people you’re seeing. You’re spending all your time at work. So you don’t really feel like you have time to find somebody you know outside of it. But don’t if you can avoid it, you know, please do it just can get very, very messy very quickly. 

 

Anne Helen Petersen: So our first question is going to be from someone who actually feels desperate for a work friend. So. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: Oh, oh. 

 

Anne Helen Petersen: This is from I know, right? This is from Rita. And our producer Melody is going to read it for us. 

 

Rita: I’m 30 and finishing my first year of my first office job. I love the work I do, but it’s very isolating. Compounded by the fact that my new 9 to 5 schedule doesn’t match those of my friends who are all in grad school, in retail. How do I make a work friend? For context, I’m in an atypical admin role at a large university in a large city. My job is more research and project oriented than other admins in my department. All staff are on different hybrid schedules. I stand out demographically. I’m the youngest staff member by several years, as well as one of the only ones without children as well. My day to day is so different from the other admins that it’s hard to relate on that level too. So where do I start? 

 

Anne Helen Petersen: [sighs] Oh. This is this is a tough one, right? Because she says I. It’s hard for me to maintain my friendships outside of work because of schedules and that sort of thing. And so she’s, I think, dreaming, maybe fantasizing about finding that one person at her job that could fill that role, that has been harder with her existing friends. But then there’s two options. One, she can really open herself and open her mind to making friends with older people. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: Mm hmm. 

 

Anne Helen Petersen: Which is a thing, right? 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: Absolutely. 

 

Anne Helen Petersen: Like, I actually think that can be an incredibly generative friendship. And the great thing about making friends who are different age than you is that they are not going through the same shit as you like. They just have perspective and you can help with kids or you can not help with kids if that’s not your thing [laughter] like there’s so many options. But if that’s not her thing, if she’s like, I don’t want to become friends with Jan, age 60 in accounting or whatever, then at a university, there’s just there’s not going to be a lot of new people that she’s going to meet. Like, this is a very. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: Yeah. 

 

Anne Helen Petersen: Bureaucratic, staid environment in a lot of ways. What do you think? 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: Yeah, no, I. I think you have to hang this up, Rita. I don’t think you’re going to get [laughter] any work friends because of all of the various stipulations that you have laid out that make it difficult to even meet and be in the same space with people who are working your similar schedule. 

 

Anne Helen Petersen: Yeah. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: I would say that you say that your current group of friends, their current schedule because they’re in grad school or they work retail, doesn’t often match up with your 9 to 5 schedule. To me this seems like an opportunity since you have a 9 to 5 schedule, figure out what type of activities or opportunities you can get involved in after five that you can make new friends doing. 

 

Anne Helen Petersen: Yeah. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: Right. So is it a book club? Is it? I don’t know. Do you do CrossFit? Do you go knitting or whatever. Right. And like try to find those types of spaces so that you can build relationships with people who have like some sort of similar interests to you. And you don’t have to worry about like trying to make a friend at work. It could just be work. I think it’s I think it’s very helpful for like work to just be work. 

 

Anne Helen Petersen: Mm hmm. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: You go to work, you do what you got to do when you clock out at 5:00 it’s deuces, right. And then you go live. 

 

Anne Helen Petersen: Yeah. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: Your life in a more generative type of way. That would be my suggestion. Or I wonder if there is. I’m making this up off the top of my head. I wonder if. Is there like a young, like young staff member or like young professor group or something on campus? 

 

Anne Helen Petersen: Right. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: Cause, you know, there’s always like a host of adjunct professors who are typically around this age or. 

 

Anne Helen Petersen: Yeah, yep. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: Grad students are typically around this age, TAs, right. There might be possibility there. So they won’t be coworkers necessarily, but they will be, you know, familiar with the institution and familiar with some of the bureaucracy or whatever that you might have to navigate if they’re some sort of collective or group like that, that might be a good option. But otherwise you just yeah, don’t work friends are overrated. I’m just gonna [laughs] I’m just gonna say it. 

 

Anne Helen Petersen: No I [laughs] I’m going to have to play devil’s advocate with you because I am kind of on the same page as you [laughs] so we have to create some tension. [laughter] I have to be like oh but what if you need some work friends? But I think both of us are saying, Rita, if you want a friend, there’s so many ways to make a friend. You don’t have to make that friend at work. Right?

 

Tre’vell Anderson: Yes. Yes.

 

Anne Helen Petersen: And I also feel, you know, age 30, I have such a vivid memory of being that age and just feeling like my friends were going in different directions. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: Mm hmm, mm hmm. 

 

Anne Helen Petersen: Some people were getting married, someone had a baby. And you just feel like this interesting moment of like, do I need to make new friends so that I have friends moving forward and I can feel a little bit of that. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: Yeah. 

 

Anne Helen Petersen: Kind of in the background of this question. And I mean, the overarching advice that I have now that I’m much I just turned 42 is that sometimes you’ll go through those periods of like, our schedules don’t work. It feels like we’re in different life periods. Like and if they’re good friends, you’ll come back to one another. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: Yeah. 

 

Anne Helen Petersen: But it’s also worth trying to figure out the other people that are that you have something in common with that like can be your support system and it doesn’t have to be a work friend. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: Yeah. So I’m 31, so right in this age—

 

Anne Helen Petersen: Mm hmm. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: —with Miss Rita here. 

 

Anne Helen Petersen: Mm hmm. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: And like you were saying, I have folks that, you know, were my friends in, in high school, in college, and we just grew in different directions. 

 

Anne Helen Petersen: Yep. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: No love lost nothing, you know, negative. It’s just especially once I moved to the West Coast and they’re all still on the East Coast. 

 

Anne Helen Petersen: Yep. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: That time difference, y’all. My God, today [laughs] it really shifts things. But you’re right. I do think, like, you know, you just take the time to build and find community elsewhere. And those relationships from, you know, those other groups that are meant to be, they will stand the test of time if they’re supposed to. But you can also begin to build a new community again. For me, I would say outside of work, considering the various stipulations that you listed that allow you to kind of I don’t want to say replace what you might be missing out on, but to like fill in, you know, just like new possibilities of what those relationships could look like. 

 

[AD BREAK]

 

Anne Helen Petersen: Our next question is about starting out as friends, but then the power dynamic changes. This is from Caroline and Amelia from Crooked’s social team is going to read it. 

 

Amelia: My current supervisor started out as my colleague and we had a colleagues relationship. We went out to drinks, followed each other on Instagram and sometimes went to parties with each other. She actually comforted me when my ex and I broke up. It’s been odd since she became my supervisor because I still want to have a friendship with her and post stuff on my Instagram without it affecting my job. How should I navigate our new relationship? 

 

Anne Helen Petersen: Ahh this is so awkward. And also why I’m always like tentative about people following each other on Instagram [laughter] right if they’re a colleague. Also, like, what if you want to play hooky and you [laughter] you know what I mean? You’re like out hanging and someone like, accidentally tags you? 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: Yes. [laughter] I have been there. 

 

Anne Helen Petersen: I have been there as well. So, like, what would you advise her to do in this situation? 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: So I’m a fan of being just, like, direct and upfront. By which I mean, if I were you, I would have a conversation with this this colleague, now supervisor, and I would say, hey, we started our relationship as friends as equals. You got this promotion. And so now you’re my boss. But like, we’re still friends. And so let’s figure out how we we make this work for both of us. Where my job is never in danger. Because you see that I’m. You know, I took a four hour lunch instead of the 30 minutes I’m supposed to because you’re following my Instagram. And then also, that person doesn’t feel like they have to, you know, endanger their job because they have to, you know, be the boss. 

 

Anne Helen Petersen: Right. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: In a particular situation. I think just like having that conversation straight up is the way to go, because I imagine that your friend, your supervisor is probably thinking about navigating this same issue with you as well. 

 

Anne Helen Petersen: Totally. This is also the sort of thing that I could see someone like worrying about every night when they wake up in the middle of night and just being like, oh my gosh, I should unfollow her and ask, but what if she’s still following me? Like, it’s just one of those silly, silly things that haunts you. Whereas if you expend 15 minutes to have—

 

Tre’vell Anderson: Yes. 

 

Anne Helen Petersen: —semi awkward conversation where you’re just like, hey, we switched our relationship. What do you think about unfollowing each other on Instagram? 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: Yes. 

 

Anne Helen Petersen: Just to like make those lines clear. And I think that doing the work of saying that by extension suggests like, oh, we’re not going to be like, super intimate friends anymore. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: Mm hmm. Mm hmm.

 

Anne Helen Petersen: So you don’t have to be weird and explicit about maybe we shouldn’t go to parties together. You know what I mean? 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: Right. 

 

Anne Helen Petersen: Like, you don’t have to do that sort of thing. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: It’ll be implied.

 

Anne Helen Petersen: It’ll be implied by the Instagram unfollow. But I wouldn’t do it without talking to them. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: Oh, no. 

 

Anne Helen Petersen: Because they’re still going to be following you. You know what I mean? 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: Yeah. You want to be clear with the person that like. 

 

Anne Helen Petersen: Yeah. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: It’s no shade. It’s not. There’s nothing negative. 

 

Anne Helen Petersen: Yes. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: In my unfollowing. It’s just that, you know, you as my boss, should not probably not know that I was out till 4 a.m. this morning dipping it and doing it at the clurb. [laughter] You know? 

 

Anne Helen Petersen: [laughter] Or whatever—

 

Tre’vell Anderson: Or whatever. Right. [laughter] 

 

Anne Helen Petersen: All right. So this is the flip which we’re kind of this question is, is the same idea but flipped. It’s from Tammy. 

 

Tammy: I have a good friend I met at a previous job. I left that job for a similar job that pays twice as much. I recruited my friend to work at my new job, and I was just promoted to team lead, which will go into effect in July and will make me my friends supervisor. I already feel a strain on our relationship. Do you have any advice on how to navigate this change? 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: Mm. 

 

Anne Helen Petersen: Yeah. Yeah. So this is, you know, similar, but it’s not necessarily about Instagram. But they’re good friends. They don’t want to unfollow each other on Instagram. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: Yeah. 

 

Anne Helen Petersen: But now she has that, like, slight upper hand, so. Yeah. What do you think here? 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: I think that the responsibility here is on you, Tammy. You are, you know, the team lead. 

 

Anne Helen Petersen: Yeah. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: And similar to what we said to Caroline, you’ve got to have this conversation and you’ve got to have the conversation and you’ve got to say, hey, things are different now. These are the parameters in the boundaries that we’re going to put in place so that, you know, if you want to remain friends, y’all can remain friends. But let’s put some boundaries in place so that we know when when friend time is and when boss and work time is right and never shall the two meet. [laughs] So—

 

Anne Helen Petersen: Yeah.

 

Tre’vell Anderson: —that I, as the team lead, can do what I need to do in a supervisory capacity for my job. But then when we if we go out for drinks afterwards or if we do something on the weekend, we can, we can know that that’s, that’s friend time and we do a separation. We figure out what that separation looks like for us. So I would say that Tammy needs to take the lead here and say, let’s talk about it and go from there. 

 

Anne Helen Petersen: Yeah. And so this hasn’t happened yet. It’s going to happen in July. So there’s time to kind of put those ground rules. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: Mm hmm. 

 

Anne Helen Petersen: It’s not a great word for it, but those parameters in place before it happens. The other thing and this is kind of future tense and I don’t know the specifics of Tammy’s job, but like if there’s ever an opportunity for her not to be her friend’s supervisor, like to change teams, that probably is the smartest idea, if that is a possibility, if it’s not. I really agree with you that having a conversation ahead of time. But I do think that it is just hard to be managed by a really good friend who is your really good friend from before. And maybe acknowledging this is hard is going to be part of the work. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: This is what you say to the person. It’s going to be hard on both of us. 

 

Anne Helen Petersen: Yeah. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: We’re going to be figuring this out as we go. And we both need to feel comfortable at every stage to be like, you know what? This is no longer working for me. Let’s pivot in this type of way. 

 

Anne Helen Petersen: Yeah. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: Right. Or let’s pivot in a different way so that, you know, Tammy, you feel like you can not only do your job, but also maintain your friendship if that becomes the case, but also that your friend feels like maybe you’re actually a horrible leader [laughter] you’re a horrible supervisor. 

 

Anne Helen Petersen: Yeah. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: Right. And that friend should be able to feel comfortable enough to be able to articulate that to you. 

 

Anne Helen Petersen: Yeah. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: Right. Without it, you know, creating further issues because, you know, some people are great friends. And when your coworkers and you’re on the same level, it’s fine. But then once they go up to a different level, sometimes people change. 

 

Anne Helen Petersen: Yep. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: People start to act a little different because they got a little extra zero or two on their check, you know, and that can also change dynamics. And so as long as that as we are comfortable, I think talking at every stage and figuring out what this new set up looks like, then I think we’ll be fine. I think to your point, at any point that you or the friend can can move teams, then maybe consider that as well. 

 

Anne Helen Petersen: Yeah, I think keeping communication open and saying if there’s ever a point where it’s weird, can you talk to me about it? Right. Like, come to me. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: Yeah. 

 

Anne Helen Petersen: But then also, I think it’s incumbent on Tammy to maybe, like, make a note in her calendar to every other week. Just check in and be like, how is stuff going with us? 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: Yeah. 

 

Anne Helen Petersen: She has more power in this relationship. So. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: Yeah. 

 

Anne Helen Petersen: How does she make it more comfortable for her friend to bring up something that’s making her feel weird? 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: Absolutely. And also, self reflection will be important. Tammy. Don’t be an asshole just because you’re the boss. Don’t get power hungry just because you the boss, you know, and start talking to people. You know, people become bosses and they start talking to people outside of a net and okay, I’ll just say it. [laughter] And that creates that ends up creating more issues than just the fact that you became the boss. It’s like, no, you became the boss and you got power hungry. 

 

Anne Helen Petersen: Yep. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: And you forgot how to talk to people, you know, on on a regular level. So also be be self-reflective, Tammy, and make sure that you’re not basically being a horrible boss or a horrible person because you got this promotion. 

 

Anne Helen Petersen: Our next question is about something so many people have to navigate. This is from Tanya. 

 

Tanya: Is it ethically okay to continue to work for someone who holds problematic beliefs? In other words, am I the worst kind of sellout to keep working for my boss and mentor who I know is an anti-vaxxer, a landlord many times over, and overall a deeply prejudiced person? I think I know the answer, but as a queer leftist working in the tech industry, I come up against this conundrum all the time. Is it possible for me to achieve my career goals without completely selling my soul? 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: Mm. 

 

Anne Helen Petersen: Well, so first we have to really point out that people who identities are marginalized for whatever reason, have had to navigate this dynamic forever. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: Mm hmm. 

 

Anne Helen Petersen: But now that, like, also navigating this, since, you know, I think people with a lot of societal privilege, it’s mostly like post 2016 that they’re like, oh, do I need to worry about working for an asshole? [laughter] Maybe? But I also think that there’s kind of this interesting, like black and white that our question asker asked, which is like sometimes people phrase conundrums like this, like, well, there’s no ethical consumption under capitalism, so I guess I just have to deal with it because. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: Right. 

 

Anne Helen Petersen: No matter who I work for, they will hold problematic beliefs in some capacity. But like there is a difference between working for like the Koch brothers and working working for someone who is a landlord. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: Mm hmm. 

 

Anne Helen Petersen: So what’s your take here? 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: You know, this is tough because actually, no, it’s not tough. I’m going to directly answer your question. Is it ethically okay to continue to work for someone who holds a problematic beliefs? I won’t say ethically okay or not ethically okay, but is it okay? Yes, because why? We all have to survive and we have to navigate this where we’ve got bills to pay, we’ve got responsibilities. And you know, the world is crappy enough to where, like you mentioned, you’re probably gonna end up working for somebody who has a belief or two that you personally might not agree with. Right. Like that. That is the circumstances. However, I do think you have to figure out for yourself what are your, what are your boundaries with those things, right? Like, what are the issues that you cannot explain away for yourself? Like, for me, I cannot work for. Well, I’m a freelancer now, so I work for myself. Praise the Lord. [laughter] But recently, I was considering taking a job in Georgia. It would be a full time job. I’d be back at a newsroom. But the newsroom did not provide gender affirming care for trans folks as covered in in their insurance plan. And then the CEO of the company actually had said some very transphobic things publicly over the last, you know, 5 to 7 years or so. And for me, just because of the work that I do and who I am and all of those things, I cannot work for someone like that. 

 

Anne Helen Petersen: Yeah. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: Especially when it’s explicit, when it’s when it’s out there, you know, for everyone. And so I think you have to figure out what your things are and then also be thinking about, even if you are working for a person or an entity that is somehow problematic, how are you personally contributing to it? 

 

Anne Helen Petersen: Yeah. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: By which I mean are they being racist, anti-Black, transphobic, homophobic in front of you? And you’re not saying anything? 

 

Anne Helen Petersen: Mm hmm. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: So then you’re you’re being complicit in the creation of, you know, this horrible environment of all these issues—

 

Anne Helen Petersen: Right. Like, are you like Ivanka in the situation? 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: Exactly. 

 

Anne Helen Petersen: Like facilitating it. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: Exactly. 

 

Anne Helen Petersen: Through your very presence. Right. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: Exactly. And if you are, just because of the nature of the position or whatever, then maybe that’s something that you need to question and wrestle with for yourself. But if it’s just something that’s like in the ether or in the atmosphere that you are trying to figure out how to navigate, then maybe it’s it’s less of of a concern. What do you think Anne? 

 

Anne Helen Petersen: And this is where I think it gets hard, because sometimes, like if you’re a cisgendered white male, there often isn’t a lot of threats to you yourself. Right. Unless it’s a it’s a threat or a compromise to someone in your family. So sometimes I think and this is where, like progressives sometimes work themselves into stitches, it’s like, I don’t want to only be fighting for my own identity. Right. For my own protections. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: Mm hmm. 

 

Anne Helen Petersen: So how do I use my societal powers to try to, like, push back against any organization that is harming people who aren’t like me? Maybe that harm will never come back at me directly, but it still matters to me. I think choose your battles. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: Absolutely. 

 

Anne Helen Petersen: Like, if I. If I think about all of my former employers, like one of my former employers was a university that was invested in fossil fuels and the endowment was and there were a lot of people, like students at the college, that were really fighting this and trying to lobby the board. And I think I had some conversations with some of them that were saying, you know what, if professors also quit? 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: Uh oh. 

 

Anne Helen Petersen: You’re like, there’s no other jobs. So where can I go? 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: Right. [laughter]

 

Anne Helen Petersen: Or in journalism right where it’s like, oh, I could—

 

Tre’vell Anderson: Right. 

 

Anne Helen Petersen: —quit this job, this full time job, and where where else could I go? And I think, like you said, it’s something that the more you think about it and you figure out where your boundaries are and, you know, like people know you have a you have a pit in your stomach that feels like shit. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: Yeah. 

 

Anne Helen Petersen: And if you are working every day to ignore that, then you’re doing something bad. You got to get out of there. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: Yeah. Listen. Listen to your body. Your body will always tell you absolutely. 

 

Anne Helen Petersen: Yeah. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: How to proceed. And the last thing I like to tell people is that, like, if you do find yourself, if you find that you’re working at a place that like churns your stomach. That is very difficult to just like exist in because of either who you are and how they make you feel or because of the behavior that you see them perpetuating against communities that you don’t belong to. But you want to support and advocate on behalf of. 

 

Anne Helen Petersen: Yeah. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: Figure out how you can begin to make your exit and find a different space that will be more hospitable to yourself and to those other communities. That doesn’t necessarily mean you quit your job today, but maybe you begin doing a six month process to try to find somewhere else like. I think oftentimes people think that that it has to be like a a quick decision, like I’m going to quit my job today because they’re being homophobic or whatever. And it’s actually like, okay, let’s slow down. You might you might need 3 to 6 months to transition somewhere else. You might need a year. 

 

Anne Helen Petersen: Yeah. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: For whatever reason. Like, give yourself the grace to put in those off ramp systems for yourself so that you don’t have to make these immediate decisions based on kind of your morals or your ethics. Because again, we are all trying to navigate and survive all of these systems and like, what good are you going to be to whatever community you’re trying to advocate for if you can’t even pay your own bills? 

 

Anne Helen Petersen: Yeah, and I think, you know, some people tell themselves a story about working for a company that, you know, like working for Facebook, like I knew someone who worked for the they worked on the content moderation. They were trying to fix content moderation. And I think they really were trying to make like Facebook less shitty. That is a lot of weight to carry on your shoulders to try to fix. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: Absolutely. 

 

Anne Helen Petersen: A company that does not care about trying to fix that problem, you can only do so much. And so I think, you know, again, self-reflection here, figuring out what does matter, talking to other people about it too, not necessarily your coworkers. But I think sometimes people don’t talk with their friends or maybe even like their therapist about this because they’re a little bit ashamed. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: Mm hmm mm hmm. 

 

Anne Helen Petersen: They don’t want to explain why they’re in the job that they have been and why they’ve been there for so long. If they have qualms about it. But talk about it more. And, you know, it’s one of those things that as you talk, I think it’ll become apparent. And even in writing this question our question writer said, I think I know the answer. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: You do. [laughter] You do. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: [AD BREAK]

 

Anne Helen Petersen: All right. So that was heavier. And I want us to end on a fun and gossipy note. We finally get to answer a question about a work romance. This is from Callie and our PR maven Ashley is going to read it for us. 

 

Callie: I am a recently separated mother of two in midlife. I’ve surprised myself by finding a fling at my new office. I know office romances aren’t recommended, but it’s in a different city than the one my family lives in. And at least so far, we’re keeping it on the DL, which, to be honest, is part of what makes it fun and like something new that I deserve to have. Finally. I don’t know what to do besides try hard to make sure my new colleagues don’t find out, but also honoring the joy I find in this new fling. We all know work relationships happen. So are there some best practices or something for someone like me just getting back in the saddle. 

 

Anne Helen Petersen: I love best practices for getting back in the saddle. [laughter] Right. What do you think here? What are the best practices? 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: Well, I would tell you to find a new saddle, to be quite honest. Because here’s the thing. I’m. I’m not concerned about the whole rom— New romance, you know, compared to you being, like, you know, recently separated your families in a different city. I don’t really care about that personally. I know that, like, mothers in particular work through a number of things when they’re divorced or separated, there’s kids involved. You want to make sure that the kids are okay. And like all the. I get it. 

 

Anne Helen Petersen: Yep. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: Now, my issue again is just the office romance of it all. Like, I know that the the secret DL nature of this rendezvous you’re having is part of the the intrigue. 

 

Anne Helen Petersen: Yep. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: But if knowledge of this relationship or this, you know, situation ship, whatever it is, coming public to your work environment is going to be a negative thing. 

 

Anne Helen Petersen: Yeah. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: Right. Then you need to just go ahead and nip it in the bud and go find somebody else, okay? Because what we know is that I’m assuming that you are a heterosexual woman and so that the person that you are talking about is a dude in your office. And we know historically that if this does come out and it blows up in a particular way, you as the woman, are going to suffer the graver consequences. 

 

Anne Helen Petersen: Mm hmm. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: More than likely, both in terms of just like the rumor mill gossip fodder and then also in terms of potentially your actual job. Right. And like, the sex isn’t that good [laughter]  I would imagine, because maybe it is. I don’t know. But.

 

Anne Helen Petersen: I feel this sounds like someone is having good sex. I don’t know. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: [laughter] It does seem like she’s having a whole lot of fun, and that’s fine. Right. But like, there’s enough fun out there in the world to where you can have some other fun elsewhere. Is my is my opinion, especially if y’all are at a place where, like, this is just a fling. You don’t foresee there being anything, you know, more serious coming out of it. Like, if it was if there’s a hope for some sort of seriousness out of it, then maybe, you know, we can explore it a little further. But like, if this is just for fun and I don’t, you got to have some other kind of fun somewhere else friend. 

 

Anne Helen Petersen: Well, and the person that she’s having the fling with is in a different city. So probably, like, I don’t it doesn’t sound like she wants to, like, move in with this person or anything. So I think appreciate it for what it is, which is a very low stakes first fling after separating from your partner. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: Yes, yes. 

 

Anne Helen Petersen: Because it’s hard. The first, like whatever after you break up with someone, after you separate after you divorce, like it’s hard to to start again. But it also almost always is a rebound, right? Like you are emotionally excited, like sexually excited, vulnerable, all these different things. So hopefully it hasn’t reached the point where it’s like too bad, difficult like to. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: Yeah. 

 

Anne Helen Petersen: Extricate yourself from the situation and appreciate it for what it is and use it as a springboard to find either to hang out by yourself. Right. Because I think it’s oftentimes underrated spending time by yourself and figuring out who you are and what you like after you end a relationship. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: Mm hmm. 

 

Anne Helen Petersen: Or use it to know that like you’re hot and you’re going to find another person to be with if you want. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: Period. 

 

Anne Helen Petersen: Yeah. Not in the workplace. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: Oh. 

 

Anne Helen Petersen: No. No, but I know, you will find I do have to say this as a caveat, that I met my partner at the workplace. It was messy. Would it have been better if we didn’t meet at the workplace? Absolutely. But I also understand when it feels real, it feels real. You got to try to figure it out. If you do continue with it, make sure you’re not in any position where you, one or the other, has power over the other. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: Mm hmm. 

 

Anne Helen Petersen: Right. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: Mm hmm. 

 

Anne Helen Petersen: And then if it’s been going on for a certain amount of time, I would say like three months. You got to tell got to tell your managers about it. Now, does it mean you have to tell— 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: Go to H.R. 

 

Anne Helen Petersen: Yeah. You don’t have to tell your colleagues, but you do have to tell people in power that this is happening so that you can keep it aboveboard. So that’s the less fun advice. The more fun advice is that you’re hot. [laughter] Go having another fling.

 

Tre’vell Anderson: Yeah. Go out there. Go dip it and do it. You know. Go. You said this person said they’re mid life. 

 

Anne Helen Petersen: Yeah. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: I know that. People don’t like when people say, like, you know, go to the bar, go to the club, go wherever. But depending on which city you are in, there might be a great, you know, for that age group, like a great type of bar or like lounge type space where you can meet other people and you don’t necessarily have to just like be beholden to the people that you come into contact with at at your workspace. You could have, you know, a little other type of rendezvous. You know?

 

Anne Helen Petersen: Well. And the great news from everyone I know who’s divorced or separated and has kids is that you, depending on how the custody shakes out, there are a lot of times when you don’t have kids, so you can just go hang out like. So you can. You can figure out what you like and you can figure out what kind of person you want to be with. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: Yeah. 

 

Anne Helen Petersen: There’s a lot in front of you that is not limited to the selection of of people you are with. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: You could be like, you know, go to go to Jamaica and get your groove back like Stella did in the movie How Stella Got Her Groove Back, you know.

 

Anne Helen Petersen: Oh my gosh the clothes, maybe she should just buy that wardrobe. [laughter] 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: Absolutely. 

 

Anne Helen Petersen: That’s back in fashion right now. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: Absolutely that make you feel like, a new person.

 

Anne Helen Petersen: [laughter] All right. This has been fantastic. We gave so much good advice. [laughter] Thank you so much for joining me today. And where can people find you if they want to hear more from you? 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: If you want to hear more from me, you can follow me on the socials @TrevellAnderson on Twitter @rayzhon r a y z h o n, on the Instagram. And then like I said, I co-host Crooked Media’s Daily News podcast called What a Day. Okay. We give you your daily news every weekday in about 20, 30 minutes with a little razzle dazzle on top, I like to say, so you can find us wherever you’re currently listening to this wonderful podcast. [music plays]

 

Anne Helen Petersen: Amazing. Thank you again. 

 

Tre’vell Anderson: Thank you. [music plays]

 

Anne Helen Petersen: Thanks for listening to Work Appropriate. If you need advice about a sticky situation at work, we’re here for you. Submit your questions at WorkAppropriate.com or send a voice memo with your question to Work Appropriate at Crooked.com. We love building episodes around your questions and you can stay as anonymous as you like. Don’t forget to follow us @CrookedMedia on Instagram and Twitter for more original content hosts takeovers and other community events. You can follow me on Instagram @AnneHelenPetersen and you can sign up for my newsletter Culture Study AnneHelen.substack.com. And if you like the show, leave us a review on your podcast app of choice it really helps. Work Appropriate is a Crooked Media production. I’m Anne Helen Petersen, your host. Our executive producer is Kendra James. Melody Rowell is our producer and editor. Alison Falzetta is our development producer. Music is composed by Chanell Crichlow. Additional production support from Ari Schwartz and a special thanks to Katie Long and Sarah Geismer. [music plays]