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Episode 42: Marketing When People Are On Edge

Rudy Fernandez

Hey everyone, this is Rudy Fernandez from Creative Outhouse. This is a special episode with Dr. Marni Bender, a clinical psychologist. And it’s not so much about marketing as it is about human behavior. Of course, that is key to marketing. But this conversation goes further. We discuss anxiety in our times with the pandemic and how that anxiety manifests itself. It affects how we market, of course, but also our relationships and our own mental health. She talks about our collective anxiety, and what she’s seeing and what we can do to get along with each other a little better. I got a lot out of our conversation, and I know you will, too. Welcome to Marketing Upheaval.

Earcon:

You’re listening to Marketing Upheaval, from Creative Outhouse.

 

Rudy Fernandez

Welcome to Marketing Upheaval. My guest is Dr. Marni Bender, a licensed clinical psychologist based in Atlanta, Georgia. Marni, and I can call her that because I’m a friend, not a patient… Yet. She’s an expert in cognitive behavior therapy, family and marital therapy and does executive coaching. Given the massive cultural shifts going on in 2020, I wanted to hear from an expert about how people are coping with their family and work lives. Marni is my first non-marketing guest, but to be honest, psychology and behavior is the foundation of marketing. So let’s learn about what’s going on in people’s heads. Thanks for joining me, Marni.

Dr. Marni Bender

Well, thanks for inviting me, Rudy.

Rudy Fernandez

So how would you describe the kinds of patients you see?

Dr. Marni Bender

Well, I see primarily adults and couples, occasionally a few teenagers but mostly adults. And I see a variety of issues from run of the mill relationship, anxiety problems to more severe depression to very, very severe trauma experiences.

Rudy Fernandez

What sorts of issues have started to crop up in 2020 that you’ve noticed?

 

Anxiety Has Gone Through The Roof

Dr. Marni Bender

Well, anxiety has gone through the roof as you can imagine. For people who already had anxiety, it has been exacerbated tremendously— especially anxiety around health issues. With COVID, many people are very afraid of getting infected or losing family members, things like that. But also, I’m seeing people who haven’t typically struggled with anxiety in the past. IN addition to health anxiety, we’re seeing issues about financial security. But there’s also been a sort of a vague uneasiness overall about what is happening in the world; like it feels as if the world is falling apart for a lot of people and they don’t have a lot of security or safety about what’s coming in the future.

 

 Behavior Change Marketing Starts With Why

Rudy Fernandez

So how does that manifest itself?

Dr. Marni Bender

In terms of basic symptoms, it’s a lot of physical symptoms like upset stomach, headaches, general muscle tightness, that makes it hard to just relax. And that comes out a lot of times in anger, fighting, just an irritability with others. It also tends to make people want to control things or avoid things. When people get anxious, they get very avoidant of things that make them anxious because it makes your anxiety go away. Or they get very controlling.  Again, that’s a way to give them to reduce their anxiety. If they have a sense of control, it’s often an illusion of control.

Rudy Fernandez

So it’s a binary either nothing or try to control what are some of the things they try to control that are sort of irrational?

Dr. Marni Bender

I would say it’s actually not binary. It’s a matter of degree. But I see what you’re saying like people seem to have the opposite response either controller or avoid, but how much they do it is certainly a matter of degree. We all probably do that a little bit. But the more extreme we get, the more problems we tend to have functioning in life. A simple example would be people that are extremely ordered. if something gets out of place,

Rudy Fernandez

Like organizing a spice rack or whatever…

Dr. Marni Bender

Yes, exactly

Rudy Fernandez

And what kind of things are they avoiding?

Dr. Marni Bender

It can be seeing people. It can be taking care of their health, dealing with their personal finances, people tend to start getting into financial trouble… They don’t want to pay attention to it. So they either ignore it and just start incurring lots of debt. Or they will almost go to the other extreme of like, I don’t have a problem and spend willy nilly shopping and things like that.

 

We’re Missing Clear Messaging

Rudy Fernandez

You brought up something that I’ve noticed. We are all still trying to feel around for what is the best way or what is a comfortable way to engage with friends, for example. We had some other friends over and we sat outside. When we went inside to get food, they came inside with us.  It was awkward because we’re thinking, “there’s a reason we’re in the heat.” So it’s really trying to figure that out your social interactions, and you’re right sometimes It’s like, let’s just avoid social interactions. And it’s a weird balance right now.

 

Dr. Marni Bender

I think part of that is because we don’t have a lot of clear messaging, we’re getting conflicting information. So everyone’s kind of having to make their own decisions. And it’s been going on for a long time. So people are making their own cost benefit decisions on everything. People weigh those factors differently. So the benefit of social interaction for some is lot greater than others. If you’re an extrovert, you get a greater benefit of that than an introvert would. So that calculation is going to be different. And the risk is different for people. If you have health issues or you have family members with health issues, the risk of that interaction is a lot higher. So again, that calculation comes out differently, and that people are making that decision about every single thing in their lives, whether they’re hanging out with friends, whether they hug someone whether they meet outside whether they meet inside whether they go to the grocery store or get delivery weighing, but cost of that. And again, that’s causing a lot of people stress because there’s decision fatigue that happens that you’re making all these decisions that you just did on autopilot before all this.

Rudy Fernandez

Wow.  Yeah, you’re absolutely right. There’s a lot of wheel spinning right now in everybody’s mind about every single interaction. Even now, your cat is coming up to me. And I’m thinking when we walk our dog, should I pet this dog? Is this person comfortable with me petting their dog? I pet the same neighbor’s dog several times.

Dr. Marni Bender

Exactly. And people are wanting to be respectful of others.

Rudy Fernandez

I’m going to pet your cat though.

 

Dr. Marni Bender

Please feel free. He’ll love it.

 

What Is Anxiety And What Causes It?

Rudy Fernandez

What would you say are the biggest issues that are causing the most anxieties, just the uncertainty of how we should behave?

Dr. Marni Bender

People, I think are most anxious about the future because that’s what anxiety is. It’s all about fear about the future, whatever it is in the present you’re dealing with so you might not be enjoying it, but you’re not in necessarily afraid or anxious about it. So it might be a pain in the butt and stressful to be doing all these decisions day to day. But what people get anxious and worried about is what’s coming down the road. So are they going to get sick? Am I going to be able to handle managing my kids back in school and working? What is going to happen to the economy? Should I make this big purchase or not make this big purchase? Those kinds of uncertain uncertainties about the future.

 

 How To Change Behavior Of People On Edge

Rudy Fernandez

What are some things you could do to assuage those anxieties?

Dr. Marni Bender

Ah, isn’t that the million-dollar question? I think that the first thing is labeling it, recognizing what’s going on. If people are acting angry or irritable and lashing out, that’s a manifestation of anxiety. It’s not that they’re really truly angry at their spouse or whatever, but to say I’m really anxious now and this is what I’m anxious about tends to deflate that anger. And once you label it, then you can start to do something about it. One is, recognize that’s a fear about the future and bring yourself back to the present and say what is true right now? And what do I have control of, and focus on what you have control of not getting caught up in what you don’t have control of. Because you can start spinning and spiraling things you don’t have control of and those are can be very important things you care a lot about. But if you can’t do anything about it, it doesn’t make sense to spend your time fixating on it, but focusing on what you can do. And to that extent, talking to someone getting therapy. Exercising is amazing, to help with all sorts of things. And doing something to help others, even if it’s something small, like even Just saying a nice comment to your neighbor or the grocery store clerk or whomever. One, it makes them feel better and two it can make you feel better, too. And then if you have more resources, is there money or time or whatever you can give more in other ways, and I think that really makes a difference in how you feel yourself.

 

 Social Media: Helping Or Hurting During COVID?

Rudy Fernandez

I think that’s a great point. All of that is a great point being isolated, makes you be in your own head so much that you can’t focus too much on yourself or you’ll be really unhappy. And myself included, I’ve needed to start to look at other things outside that I need to do and focus on. Part of the anxiety. I mean, goodness, there’s the pandemic, and on top of that, there’s social media. In what ways do you think social media hurts and helps people psychologically, especially right now?

Dr. Marni Bender

It is both because it is giving people a way to connect with others. And it does get messages out there. And it’s not a standard message from a news organization. People can connect in ways like there’s a lot of grassroots organizing for social good causes. But those very abilities that allow good messages to spread or people to organize around good causes are also there for people that have not so good intentions and are organizing around hate and yeah, racist agendas and things like that, that are spreading those messages more widely. So the same benefit. Also has same cost.

 

How Elections Affect Anxiety and Behavior

Rudy Fernandez

And of course, we’re gearing up for the election.  That’s another very polarizing thing where it’s not just about, extremes. It’s also I think this you think that you’re an idiot? No, you’re an idiot…

 

Dr. Marni Bender

Which is very important because you asked about the anxiety that’s happening in 2020. But I really saw a spike in anxiety after the last election before and after the last election. It was unprecedented in my experience, how much anxiety and fear went up. And then people kind of acclimated to the fear about the future, but created a divisiveness, I think, in our country. It’s coming out in families especially generationally, like people that believe different things are really in conflict with each other over politics that I have never seen before in my lifetime. As I said before, people are anxious, they’re scared and it’s becoming vicious cycle with the more worried they are, the more extreme they’re getting in their position.

Because remember I said when you get anxious, you get controlling. And no one’s feeling heard, no one’s hearing the other side. So they are saying their own side louder and louder and louder, wanting someone to hear them. So everyone’s talking loudly and no one’s listening.

By and large, most people are decent people. And I think we’ve gotten again, as we’ve gotten anxious, we’ve gotten insular in our own group of people. And we’ve created an “other” and we put down the “other” and that just makes it even harder to connect and interact with them. The less you know someone, the less you’re interacting with something the more anxious you get about what “they” are going to do. And that’s happening on both sides of the divide.

 

Handling Hostility With Empathy

Rudy Fernandez

You talked about how a lot of times you just need to recognize that you’re not angry at a person, for example, you just, it’s the uncertainty that’s making you anxious and behave that way. What if you’re on the other side of that if you are encountering someone who’s being irrational? Is there a way to defuse that? I’m thinking of a friend of mine, we just talked to who works at REI, and they asked you to wear a mask, and a woman just accosted her when she asked this woman to wear a mask.  With this person, as you said, she was probably anxious and worried about other things and just took it out on my friend. I know there’s no foolproof solution, but is there anything you could do to help defuse that situation when you’re encountering someone who is aggressive and because of this anxiety?

 

Dr. Marni Bender

You’re right when you said there’s nothing foolproof, there’s nothing that’s going to work for everybody. But generally, I would say the thing that diffuses people’s anger faster than anything else is empathy and understanding and trying to see things from their side. So if someone’s like not wanting to wear a mask, say, you empathize with that and say, I know that masks are hot, it’s controlling your behavior that you may not be sick, whatever, you may be very careful. You have every right to want to not wear a mask, but we’re asking you to please comply with this so that it just keeps things safer for everybody.

 

Rudy Fernandez

I think it’s hard to do, but I think that’s great advice.

Dr. Marni Bender

Yeah, especially when someone’s coming at you, especially with anger is really hard to do because it’s easy to get reactive to that and to take it personally instead of staying calm, especially if you’re already anxious, and feeling dogmatic too.

 

 How Zoom Affects Our Connections

Rudy Fernandez

So we are zooming a lot…it’s become a verb that a few months ago, no one, you know,

Dr. Marni Bender

and we now we have baby Zoomers, too.

Rudy Fernandez

Yeah, he’s ever so how do you think that’s affecting us socially and how we connect with each other?

Dr. Marni Bender

There are some benefits, obviously, like people are seeing family members from around the country and getting together with their family meetings weekly and things like that, that they wouldn’t have done before this happened. So that’s nice. But it is definitely harder to communicate over zoom. You don’t have the physical touch. That’s a big miss for people. They don’t get hugs. Even when you see people in person and you’re not hugging them like you might have in the past, especially for single people that aren’t getting a lot of interaction. That is, is a big loss, zoom and video conferencing is helping with some aspects, but it’s not the same. And being on screens endlessly, all day long. is just mentally exhausting. It takes a lot of concentration just staring at the screen.

 

Digital Trends and Counter Trends

 

Rudy Fernandez

We had an episode several months back, we’re talking about Digital Trends before all this. And one of the counter trends of the digital world a digital expert said was a rise in things like massages and places where you get touched because people long for that touch and of course those have all shut down.

Dr. Marni Bender

Unless you’re in Georgia

Rudy Fernandez

Unless you’re in Georgia that and bowling alleys… What are problems that can arise from people not feeling physical touch?

Dr. Marni Bender

Physical touch is really important. There are old studies that were horrible, but done back in the day before there were…

Rudy Fernandez

Morals? Values?

 

A Scary Study About Human Touch

Dr. Marni Bender

Before there were they were organizations that controlled such things. The study took place at orphanages in France. They did experiments on babies where they gave certain babies all their food and changed them etcetera, but they never actually touched them. The other babies, they cuddled and the ones that they didn’t cuddle with often failed to thrive. They didn’t grow and many died. So it is a real physiological need that we have for physical touch.

Rudy Fernandez

Wow. Also, that was a horrible experiment.

Dr. Marni Bender

I just brought us down. Well, which brings up another thing in talking about the anxiety about COVID. As I said people are anxious, and wondering, “is there going to be a vaccine?” And then when there is, are people going to be willing to take it? Some people think, yeah, I want to be the first one on you to get it and other people are like, Oh, hell no. Let someone else test that out first.

 

Will Behavior Change Marketing Convince People To Get Vaccinated?

Rudy Fernandez

They’re starting to do some preliminary research. Don’t quote me on these. I have not seen the research. But the basic gist I heard was that that is the thing. People really excited and hopeful for a vaccine. But when you ask them, “Are you going to want to be among the first to get it?” many say, “No, I’m gonna wait.”

Dr. Marni Bender

There’s not a lot of trust for government organizations these days and especially in certain communities, almost everything disproportionately is negatively affecting the poorest among us. Same with, you know, kids going back to school or not going back to school, they are the ones getting hurt the worst.

Rudy Fernandez

Yes. That is, among the long laundry list of things that we don’t understand or have not gotten our arms around yet is educating our kids, right? People I work with, they’re trying to balance work and trying to educate kids in the school and still haven’t figured it out. My sister’s a teacher and every day it changes. And so what problems is that causing with people… the education aspect of it?

 

The Pressure On Teachers

 

Dr. Marni Bender

It’s hard because again, there’s not a good answer because no matter what you do, there’s going to be an upside and a downside to it. Like so many things that just what you want just depends on what you’re valuing more of what you personally need more. Many teachers are not going to want to be in person because that’s putting themselves more at risk of infection. But there’s some that don’t want to do remote teaching. Because it’s harder. It’s probably much more difficult to teach the kids well.

Rudy Fernandez

I think the best teachers are the ones who thrive on being there in person, they really connect with the kids.

Dr. Marni Bender

And a lot of kids get a lot of nurturing from many teachers, especially when they’re younger, they get hugs, speaking of the touch again, or just a kind word. Most parents are trying to do their best, but if they’ve got stresses in having to be working, and sometimes that more than one job…

Rudy Fernandez

There’s a unique relationship with the teacher that we all have. We all remember teachers who made an impact because they gave us some sort of attention. Somebody outside of our parents, who’s acknowledged something or encouraged us or taught us something. It’s harder to do that when you’re on a zoom with a bunch of little squares, trying to figure out how to manage 30 kids at the same time.

Dr. Marni Bender

And it’s hard for parents that are at home even doing zoom calls, for example with video therapy sessions, their kids are bursting in the door every time, there’s no privacy. People are struggling to work like that paying attention to managing their kids and working and focusing on work. They’re really struggling with that having to get their kids to sit down and watch a video screen all day. It’s not easy.

 

The Stress Of Educating Kids During A Pandemic

Rudy Fernandez

How are families coping with that?

 

Dr. Marni Bender

It’s a mixed bag, shall we say? It really varies. Obviously, the more kids you have, the harder it is. Women disproportionately are doing the childcare and the school teaching, even though they’re very often having the same jobs as men. Again, that’s not every case. But, statistically more women are carrying more of that load on top of already carrying more of the household load. People with have more resources are hiring nannies or babysitters to help with that. But people that don’t have those resources can’t do that. Some people have to work outside their home, you know, they can’t work from home doctors and nurses, even those that do have the resources it’s a struggle. Then you also have the factor of how many people do you want in your house. If you’re trying to isolate people, then you’re babysitters or nannies are coming in, but then they’re off. If they’re doing things for other families or their own socialization…you have to worry about all those connections.

 

How Fear Drives Behavior

Rudy Fernandez

There’s certain aspects of human behavior that I have to know because of my job. So if you had to pick three generalities about human behavior, what would they be? So for example, I’ve noticed that people often communicate more with how they say things, then what they actually say. And so I’ve just naturally pay attention to the words people choose, rather than the thing that they’re literally saying, but that’s me. What are you you’re actually trained in this stuff? What are some generalities?

Dr. Marni Bender

This was by far the hardest question. People are more alike than they are different. In general, like we all have the same emotions, they may like manifest a little differently. But we all for the most part, more or less want the same things.

So I would say that I think the thing that has struck me and we’ve already talked about this is how much anxiety drives behavior.

When I became a psychologist, as I’ve had more and more experience with therapy, I’m always floored how much stuff really just comes down to anxiety—fear about the future fear about how people are perceiving you how you fit in in the world, are you alike, are you different? It’s just worry.  I think that is probably a giant commonality among people.

 

Marketing And Confirmation Bias

Now, the other commonality is that, and I think this goes back to the whole political thing we were talking about earlier. By and large, I think people look for information that confirms what they already believe. And they focus on that, it’s like confirmation bias, but whether that’s what we believe about ourselves, or whether it’s what we believe, politically, or whatever we’re looking, and attuned to information that supports that. And so we’re more resistant, we either ignore or don’t see or don’t seek out dis-confirming information.

Rudy Fernandez

That’s the way, to be honest, how we do marketing a lot of times. It’s a lot easier to find the patterns that are already there, and to fit your product or service or behavior into that pattern of thought just changing the story a little bit, then it is to say “no, you’re completely wrong. This is the way you ought to think.”

Dr. Marni Bender

There are some studies that when you do that, even if you can prove people are wrong, they will get more resistant, they’ll double down on their beliefs.

Rudy Fernandez

Sure, our mantra is, information is not motivation, you know, otherwise, you know, people would do exactly what they’re supposed to do.

 

Stages Of Change In Marketing And Therapy

Dr. Marni Bender

People are not machines. There’s a model called stages of change that was actually originally developed around alcoholism. But it turns out, it applies to all sorts of change. And people go through these stages. The first is pre contemplation, which is a fancy word for denial… 

Rudy Fernandez

Yes, the transtheoretical model of behavior change.

Dr. Marni Bender

Oh, you know this?

 Rudy Fernandez

Yes. I’ve been placing contemplation, preparation, action, maintenance.. we use that as a base because it’s similar to in marketing we call the customer journey, which is a awareness, interest desire action. And I’ve done my own thing where I’ve added things to it. So after maintenance, I add advocacy and leadership.

 Dr. Marni Bender

That’s awesome.

Rudy Fernandez

But that’s part of the process where we get to get people to move forward. But I stole your thunder didn’t I?

Dr. Marni Bender

No I’’ glad that you know it.  The thing about  that psychologists is they’re very open with their knowledge and they want to spread it and make the world a better place to spread the message.

Rudy Fernandez

Our jobs are very similar in that way, I have to know what drives people because we do a lot of behavior change, though. Yeah, mine is on a mass scale you were thinking individually.

 

Empathy Works For Behavior Change

Dr. Marni Bender

Socially too it applies so many ways. But one of the things about it that I really love and find useful is that if you push people to change before they’re ready, they dig in their heels. Or they move backwards. So if someone’s weighing the pros and cons, “Should I change, shouldn’t I change?” And you’re saying,  “change right now!” they’ll be like, “What are you talking about? I don’t have a problem” and they will actually move backwards. And again, this is where the empathy comes in. In those early stages, you just have to pour on empathy and start asking questions, getting people to think. And that can seem slow and tedious. But it’s so much faster than if you get impatient and push.  And if you’re anxious you want to be in control and so you’re going to want to push.

Companies And Brands Are Reflecting People’s Values

Rudy Fernandez

A big aspect of life changes is work. We’re working from home and a lot of people are losing their jobs.  Work and our own identities are such a big part of who we think we are. How has that manifested itself when people come to you?

Dr. Marni Bender

I’ve certainly seen anxiety around it, especially initially when a lot of people were getting furloughed or getting pay cuts because companies were anxious. I’ve been actually a little pleasantly surprised that many companies have been being very supportive of employees and trying to be accommodating. Certainly not all, but more than I expected for profit motivated companies. I have seen a lot of people trying to be flexible and accommodating.

Rudy Fernandez

Just from what I know about companies, and we’ve talked about this in previous episodes, there has been a dearth of…

Dr. Marni Bender

Fancy word Rudy!

Rudy Fernandez

Ha! There has been a lack, a big hole of moral leadership or values from our institutions. People are mistrustful of our institutions. As a result, in the last several years, people have turned to brands to reflect their values. They will influence brands to say you have to say this, you can’t say that, or you can’t support this, and use their dollars by boycotting.  Employees will say, we’re going to step out. They’re using their ability within the marketplace to influence brands to reflect their values because they don’t see that ability within their traditional institutions.

Dr. Marni Bender

I think there is a lot of distrust of institutions. And people, like some brands, you said they may start worshipping almost like Tesla. There are certainly things like that, in terms of supporting their values. I think that might depend on how many resources are available to you to do that. Because if you don’t have the resources to do that, you’re going with the cheapest brands.

 

Asking Questions Is Your Best Tactic

Rudy Fernandez

When you look down the road, for the rest of the year, what gives you the most concern about the behavioral trends, you’re seeing?  What gives you the most hope?

Dr. Marni Bender

Well, I’m glad you said both. My concerns are and the biggest one probably is about how hate and prejudice seem to be on the rise. Again, the divisiveness that is just causing rifts in our relationships that worries me and concerns me. I think it’s negatively going affect our mental health and so many other things down the road but obviously I’m concerned about mental health.

Rudy Fernandez

You talked about the general way of making that better is to try to empathize and be curious and maybe ask questions. I guess that’s a good general policy.

Dr. Marni Bender

But sometimes that’s not enough.

Rudy Fernandez

I think of my own experience with people who are very close to me, who I love dearly, and we’ve had rifts when I ask questions they don’t talk about.

Dr. Marni Bender

That’s the avoidance. When people get anxious they get avoidant plus it’s a lot of talk about trust. They don’t always trust others enough to feel safe talking about these things. They don’t feel comfortable with their own emotions around it. They’ve had bad experiences in the past where it’s caused a fight or made things worse so they just want to avoid it altogether.  There’s a lot of reasons people aren’t wanting to talk about it, even if it’s necessary. And sometimes talking isn’t always enough. You need to action, too. And I think people get frustrated with just talking and not seeing a lot of meaningful changes. Or they feel like the changes that are happening are too slow. Not enough.

People Are Uniting For Good Causes

Rudy Fernandez

So what gives you hope?

Dr. Marni Bender

Hope is the divisiveness thing. You do have a lot more people that are supporting good causes, and trying to speak up against social injustice. Social activism seems to be on the rise, which I think is good. And there is progress being made. It’s weird because in some ways people aren’t connecting (COVID and isolation thing) as much, but in other ways they are. Lives have certainly gotten more limited. People aren’t as busy and chaotic with all the activities. And I think they’re actually, in many cases starting to have some deeper conversations, getting together and forming little communities that are more significant.  They’re helping each other and really bonding more.

It might not be as broad and as superficial now, maybe it’s smaller and deeper. Some of those connections have improved, I think, with some families.  And again, I don’t want to minimize in any way, and say that this has been easier and good for a lot of people because it’s caused a lot of depression and a lot of anxieties for some people. People are suicidal.  That suicide ideation is skyrocketing so there are real issues that we don’t want to ignore. I think some, some families are benefiting from this, for example, parents and kids that are getting more time together. Spouses that are working from home now, but they’re not commuting an hour to a day are getting more time together.

Rudy Fernandez

More people are attending city council meetings now than ever before because throughout the country. They don’t have to drive anywhere since it’s online. They’re usually at 7 p.m. so you can make dinner and still go to it.

Dr. Marni Bender

And eat while you are there! And it might be also because they’re so worried about what’s going on in the world. They are getting more involved because they feel the need to get more involved.

Rudy’ Hope? We’re all Tired Of Being Angry.

Rudy Fernandez

I’m going to end with my bit of hope. Here’s my hope based on nothing but hope.

Dr. Marni Bender

I was going to ask your opinion!

Rudy Fernandez

I think people are tired of being angry at each other, and they just want to not be angry at each other anymore. I’m hoping we’ll get to this point of anger exhaustion, that people will just be like, you know, what, can we just drop it?

Dr. Marni Bender

Can’t we all just get along?

Rudy Fernandez

You know, that’s what I’m hoping, that people are just tired of being angry because it’s exhausting being angry and fearful all the time. That’s what I hope.

Dr. Marni Bender

I certainly hope that as well.

 

How Workplace Identity Affects Different Genders

Rudy Fernandez

I am fascinated, now that we talked, the fact that our jobs are similar.

Dr. Marni Bender

The one question I did have is you had asked the question about identity and work.  I didn’t actually answer that, because I haven’t really noticed that. I’m wondering what  your thoughts were because something obviously motivated that question.

Rudy Fernandez

I think because of that part of everybody’s identity, we’re all different.

Dr. Marni Bender

I thought we were mostly the same?

Rudy Fernandez

No. We are all different. But, like you said, there are aspects of each of us or pillars that make up the basic structure of our identities that are the same in all of us. Different pillars that we need to have a good story about ourselves that we tell ourselves. And one of those is competency. We all like to think we’re good at something. One of the age old stats, it’s something like 85% of people consider themselves better than average drivers.  We all think we’re good at something. I’m a good parent, or I’m a good whatever. And a lot has to do with our jobs or jobs because we live in America and a job is such an important part of our identity and our status. If your job is threatened, or if you lose your job, it affects you deeply in terms of who you think you are.

 Dr. Marni Bender

That’s absolutely true. The potential job loss. And by the way, that’s effect is more powerful on men.  Men are more negatively affected by job loss than women.

Rudy Fernandez

Absolutely.  You talk about huge stereotypes how women are taking over the child raising which is you know, social roles which need to evolve. In that regard, as  I remember being in college in an economics class, and we talked about that, about how it’s  harder on men in that aspect, like it or not, is different. It’s just a different social expectation, I suppose. Even now, it’s a lot more ballz since I was in college 100 years ago.

Dr. Marni Bender

Well, and since we were in the same college at the same time.

 

Rudy Fernandez

Well, thank you very much. My pleasure.

 

Dr. Marni Bender

It was fun. We probably could have gone on and on about these questions for at least an hour in and of themselves.

Rudy Fernandez

Hey, thanks for listening. If you’d like to talk to Dr. Marni Bender, visit www.thrivecenter.com. That’s www.thrivecenter.com She can accommodate virtual visits if you need that. For previous episodes and transcripts, visit www.creativeouthouse.com/podcast. Thanks to Susan Cooper. And thanks to all of you for listening. And remember, if the current state of this crazy changing world has you confused, don’t worry, it’ll all change. See ya.

Podcast credits:

Host: Rudy Fernandez

Producer and Cover Art: Susan Cooper

Earcon sound design: Gopal Swamy

Audio Consultant: Jason Shablik

Post production provided by: Music Radio Creative

Hosting provided by: Buzzsprout Affiliate Link

Transcripts by: https://otter.ai

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