"Phew, that felt good."
"Wow, 30 seconds goes by real fast."
"I actually really needed this."
A few weeks ago, with your anger about harassment and bullying you've experienced at work — and the advice you'd give your younger self about what you don't have to put up with. And you all were ready to vent! You sent us stories about sexism and racism, physical harassment and psychological abuse, from bosses and co-workers male and female alike. Some of you were thinking back on things that happened to you decades ago; some of you are right in the middle of figuring out how to deal with a bad situation.
One thing was clear —lots of you feel like you haven't been able to talk about this before . So this week, we're bringing you a supercut of your stories, and your anger. Let's rage.
If you're currently dealing with harassment or bullying at work, click for a list of resources you might find helpful.
And for even more rage, check out today's new episode of the podcast —it's a special episode devoted specifically to workplace anger.
Special thanks to SassyBlack for composing original music for this episode. You can find more of her work .
Pull Quote: Plunging In
Happy new year! We've got a special treat for you today.
You may have heard that we've been working on an experiment, a new mini-podcast series called Pull Quote. The episodes are short audio gems that we've dug up from our archives and from elsewhere.
This week, we're sending our first batch of episodes to those of you who've donated to support the show. But as we start the this new year together, we thought we'd share the first Pull Quote with all of you: some words of wisdom about beginnings from writer Jamaica Kincaid.
We’ve had a lot of fun making these, and it's not too late to sign up to hear them all. If you want to hear the other Pull Quote episodes we’ve made, . We’ll email you a special link every morning for a week where you can listen in. Plus, you'll get to tell us what you think about this Pull Quote series and whether we should make more.
Thanks so much to those of you who've given money and supported our show. We really appreciate it. Look out for a new episode from us later this week.
Special thanks to composer and sound designer Hannis Brown for his scoring work on our Pull Quote series.
I Felt Like The Story Had To Change: Life After Heroin
When my friend Danielle was in high school, she was hanging out in her hometown of Merrick, Long Island, going to punk shows and fighting with her mom—like a lot of teenagers. But when she was 19, her mom died, and Danielle's experimentation with drugs and alcohol really accelerated. By the time she was 25, she was using heroin daily. She says that in some ways, her mom's death gave her a justification for using. "It sounds horrible to say, but I remember when my mom passed me kind of feeling a sense of relief," she told me. "I was like, oh, I finally have my thing. I have my baggage that I've been looking for."
I met Danielle when we were both in our late 20s. At that point, Danielle was about a year sober. We're close, but in the years since we became friends, I'd never talked in detail with her about that earlier time in her life. So I asked her if I could interview her about her heroin addiction and the process of getting sober. I also wanted to know how she thinks about it now—especially as she's preparing to become a first-time parent and go through childbirth with a medical history that makes things more complicated. "On the first visit with the midwives I told them I don't want them to prescribe me anything addictive or any opiates, if we can get around it," she told me. "If I do get prescribed something then I won't hold that bottle. I'll have my husband give me the pill."
Looking back, Danielle says she's acutely aware of how differently her story could have gone. Following another year of record overdose deaths in the U.S., Danielle says that she reads the stories of people who die from addiction, and it's an uncomfortable experience. "I see myself in them," she told me. "I'm not better than any of those people. I don't have a stronger constitution. I'm not more moral. I'm not smarter. I'm not anything. I just happened to hear a message, and was able to follow up and take steps and do some work and make this change."
Click to listen to my conversation about addiction from the other side, with an EMT supervisor who's on the front lines of the opioid crisis in my hometown of Charleston, West Virginia.
I Can't Fix It: A First Responder and Heroin
Mark Strickland knew he wanted to be a first responder when he was five years old. "It was a way to help people," he told me. "You're giving everything you've got to help people in distress, no matter what it may be."
When he first started working as an EMT in my hometown of Charleston, West Virginia back in the 1990s, Mark says that his job rarely involved reviving people after drug overdoses. But in recent years, as heroin and other opioids have ravaged the Charleston community, he says that's changed. Overdose calls are a near-daily occurrence for Mark and his colleagues—in fact, he got was called away to one while we talked.
While the national opioid overdose death rate has been steadily climbing over the last several years, nowhere is the situation more dire than in West Virginia. In 2015, the state had the highest drug overdose death rate in the country, at 41.5 per 100,000 deaths. Mark and his colleagues see the people behind those statistics. And when they see the same patients overdosing time after time, it can feel like fighting an uphill battle. He says that he's still figuring out a vocabulary for work-related stress that feels appropriate. "By and large, most first responders will shun away from the P.T.S.D. phrase," he says. "That's what guys get from coming home from Afghanistan and Iraq because they've earned that. You're in a foreign country, taking hostile fire [...] I'm still in America. I'm good, brother. I can go to the store get a six pack."
In the midst of finding ways to deal with his own stress, Mark is also raising three boys, and thinking about how he wants to prepare them to make good choices. He's honest with his kids about what he's seen drugs do to people—and he gives them an out if anyone tries to convince them to try any. "Tell 'em no, my Dad makes me pee in a cup," he told me. And Mark also said that he doesn't want his sons to follow in his footsteps as a first responder. " I guess the parent in me wants to shield my kids from bad things."
Your Workplace Rage, And Mine
This past weekend, New York Magazine detailing a pattern of alleged sexual misconduct and bullying by John Hockenberry, the former host of WNYC's show The Takeaway . The story includes allegations of forcible kissing, excerpts of inappropriate online messages Hockenberry sent to staff and guests, and descriptions of a pervasive culture of intimidation on the show that was most publicly directed against three of Hockenberry's cohosts — all women of color — who left The Takeaway one after the other, while he stayed.
This story is part of a much larger conversation we're having about sexual harassment, and about misconduct of all kinds in the workplace—but this one hits close to home. I worked on The Takeaway from 2009-2010, and I remember this culture vividly. And since this story broke, I've been mad. And I've been wanting to talk about it with someone. So I called up my friend and former colleague at The Takeaway , Noel King, to talk about what we put up with during our time at the show, what we shouldn't have —and how we're rethinking that time in our careers now.
And we want to hear from you about how you're processing this moment in our cultural confrontation of sexism, racism and other inappropriate behavior in the workplace. Inspired by one of our favorite new podcasts, , we want to hear your rage. Send us a 30 second voice memo of what you would tell your younger self about office culture, or share with us the advice you would give yourself to deal with harassment, bullying, or worse. You can send those voice memos to firstname.lastname@example.org—we'll put them together and share them with you soon.