This podcast has been such a great resource to direct people to who are dealing with work conflicts, difficult bosses, and otherwise challenging work-related situations. Given how much time and energy we spend at work - really how much of our lives go into it - it's so important to have experts in the field to turn to with these sorts of challenges. I appreciate that the hosts draw from their extensive experience as employees, supervisors, contract workers, and coaches. They've got years of experience under their belt in a variety of settings, successfully dealing with pretty much everything you can think of.
My usual advice with difficult work situations is to listen to what your body is telling you and know that it's okay to leave toxic work environments. I think of work similar to how I think of being in an intimate relationship. So if you're being disrespected or harassed, for example, you absolutely don't need to stick around and "tough it out". I still stand by that advice. What I like about this podcast as a supplement is that it gives more specific advice like dealing with the exit interview, dealing with "team-building" exercises you hate, and so on. Definitely worth a listen for your work related quandaries.
Update: the podcast is relaunching under a different name in 2018, and they're saying goodbye to the scripted comedy parts of the show (which I personally am glad about because I never liked them).
How I feel about this podcast can best be summed up by a text I sent my partner after listening to a few episodes of SMNTY: "listen to this podcast. You will understand my life".
I love how this podcast speaks to the lives of women and aims to openly discuss this in the context of intersecting identities like race, sexual orientation, abuse history, and so on. I love that it helps me find words to describe what I'm experiencing and what my clients are experiencing, when I didn't know there were words for it (or couldn't find them easily).
The two hosts are fierce, feminist, and so funny. The two episodes that stood out to me recently have to do with boundaries and communication. They really come from a worldview that I can respect – they believe that there’s nothing wrong with the way you communicate. They recognize that women are often made to believe that how they’re communicating is just “too much” in one way or another (too assertive, too bossy, too whiny, etc). They tackle all sorts of topics, but the two that most closely connect with boundaries are:
“Policing Women’s Speech” - People love giving women advice on how to speak at work. But is this advice always grounded in fact? E&B break it down.
"Negotiation No-No’s" - Negotiating a salary or promotion can be nerve-wracking. Here are all the mistakes we’ve made, so you don’t have to.
I absolutely learned some things in the negotiation episode that I wish I had known back in the days of working for someone else. I'm glad to know it now as I help women navigate career moves, especially because what's shared in the episode acknowledges the specific barriers that women contend with, and the advice is evidence-based.
I can't help it. Even though I have a list of books to share with you, the resource I'm SO excited about this month is... a podcast. Yup - it's month two and I'm already changing all the rules. I promise you this will be worth it.
"Dear Sugar Radio" is billed as an advice column "for the lost, lonely and heartsick", and though many of the letters they answer do centre around relationships, I have to say it's much deeper and much broader than I expected. The first episode I listened to was on mothering and guilt, and as I sat in the car crying (with my partner beside me looking helpless and concerned), I thought - yes. This is the podcast I need to need to hear right now. I've been listening to it non-stop since.
There's an episode on mother loss by choice that I think is really important for a lot of folks out there who are feeling alone right now. Another on "messy relationships" that I'm pretty sure we all can relate to in one way or another. They tackle conflicts like what to do when you want kids and your partner doesn't (or vice versa) and how to handle it when the relationship you're in is great except for one important thing.
It's amazing that a lot of the advice comes back to seemingly simple encouragement like "it's okay to set boundaries - talk to your partner" and "don't try to figure this relationship conflict out on your own - talk to you partner", but rest assured, the podcast itself is neither obvious nor simple. The detailed, often heartbreaking letters show the complexity of the people writing, and the responses honor that complexity.
I'd love to hear it if there was an episode that spoke to you, or advice that stood out - please let me know in the comments.
For all you die-hard book fans out there, the written version of this is "Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Life and Love from Dear Sugar" by Cheryl Strayed. Enjoy.
Nicole Perry is a Registered Psychologist and writer with a private practice in Edmonton. Her approach is collaborative and feminist at its heart. She specializes in healing
About the Blog
This space will provide information, stories, and answers to big questions about some of my favorite topics - boundaries, burnout, trauma, self compassion, and shame resilience - all from a feminist counselling perspective. It's also a space I'm exploring and refining new ideas.