Tyson and Alexa get real AF with Mel Doman, MA - Organizational Psychologist, Former Clinical Mental Health Therapist, & Author of "Yes, You Can Talk About Mental Health at Work (Here's Why & How To Do It Really Well)" to discuss the mental toll of work bullies and bad managers, people who want to be helped vs. people who don’t, and the reality of having to handle mental health issues with less training than clinical mental health workers but most of the same problems.
Release Date: September 7, 2022
[00:00:00] Tyson: Let's do it. You know what? I actually have an exciting update. We just got back from Boston. Usually it's like, I know it's always my update and I always feel like I'm not bringing enough to the table. This girl got out of her little country town. Out of the country, crossed the border. It was so much fun. It was just so nice to be somewhere different and just in traveling mode. Boston, it was great. It was hot, though. It was a bit too hot for my Canadian comfort. It was like 38 degrees. I don't know what that is in Fahrenheit. It was hot and we were sweaty because, obviously, we were walking everywhere.
It was just so cute. We just ate really good food. Obviously, I had tons of seafood. I gave my baby caviar. She loved it. It was just a great time. It was so funny. I gave it to her on the little special spoon that you have to use, and she just looks up at me with her big blue eyes and she's just like, "Ha," and just smiles, like biggest smile ever. It was hilarious. I'm like, "Yeah, you might look like your daddy, but you are definitely my child."
I cannot wait until I can give her oysters. I had to look it up. Being the dotting mother that I am, I have to wait until she's a bit older because there's risk with raw food. I cannot wait to give her oysters because that's literally one of my husband's favorite thing to do, is eat oysters and drink expensive cocktails. It's not a waste. It's an investment. You invest in that child so that when she's going out on her first date and some guy tries to give her Burger King, she's going to be like, "Abso-fucking-lutely not. I want caviar, oysters and a $30 cocktail." I'm investing in her high expectations. Yes. Exactly. Absolutely. All right.
Today's episode is brought to you by our community, The People Ops Society. Join Alexa and myself, a bunch of our guests, and a lot of our listeners in the POPS community forum. Download awesome resources and templates shared by peers, get access to cool free courses like my course, which is the art of compensation, which is available August 15th to all members. Use code firstname.lastname@example.org to get 20% off your membership today. Again, use the code PEOPLEPROBLEMS, all caps, all one word, @peopleopssociety.com. Please make sure to follow us. This is a shameless plug on all things social @peopleproblemspod, @hr.shook, and new and improved @theinfluenchr, spelled with an HR instead of an ER, on all things social.
For the first time ever--
[00:05:35] Tyson: I have so many questions. Like any good HR practitioner, I do not just accept turnover as a percent. I have so many questions. First of all, is this just people quitting their job to go to another job? For example, quit an HR job to go to another HR job. Are they quitting HR completely? Are they leaving the field to go do something else? I want to know more information about why and where they're going, specifically more of like where they're going because I don't know. You can't just take turnover just as a percentage. It doesn't tell you anything. I'd be interested in knowing that information, specifically whether they're leaving the field. I think that that would be--
[00:06:58] Tyson: Yes. I would say people in HR, maybe this is why our numbers are so high, because people in HR are probably very diligent about updating their LinkedIns. Maybe more so diligent than anyone else because we want to make sure that we have a proper resume that's showcasing our abilities. I don't know. I think if we could say like, let's say for the sake of conversation, this is people leaving HR as an industry. They're getting the hell out. Good ridance, goodbye. I don't know.
I would be pretty surprised only because I think that a lot of people in HR actually really do love HR. Also, people use it sometimes as a way of getting into business jobs, in the business. They might go into operations. I think that that's really common. With Anna. Yes, exactly. There's a lot of that. I don't know. Maybe people are just burnout. [silence] Do you think they counted recruiters? You don't think that their little LinkedIn thing would catch-- Because I wondered if maybe their LinkedIn calculation was based on jobs that had HR in the title.
See, I have so many questions LinkedIn. If you could just get back to us on some of these things. [laughs]
[00:08:56] Tyson: Yes, it has been.
[00:09:19] Tyson: That's so suiting.
[00:09:50] Tyson: Cheese dogs. Any combination of those two words is great. [laughs]
[00:10:25] Tyson: Let's also make this a drinking game for listeners. [laughs]
[00:12:57] Tyson: Yes, you got to come to those conclusions yourself, for sure.
[00:13:25] Tyson: Yes. Oh, wow.
[00:14:22] Tyson: When?
[pause 00:14:23] [laughs]
[00:15:46] Tyson: Oh my God.
[00:16:27] Tyson: Wow.
[00:17:38] Tyson: Wait. In that case, would you tell HR that last one, like if they're in the workplace, like damn? Oh, okay.
[00:18:21] Tyson: Right.
[00:18:46] Tyson: I bet. Yes, that--
[00:19:22] Tyson: You know what, though? That's actually how I've, as an HR professional, used the EAP as well. Like in situations where I've been told by a manager or another employee like so and so is suicidal. As the HR person, I'm like, "Okay, have this information. I don't know what the hell to do." I've called the EAP to be like, "Hey, how do I deal with situations like this?" I've had managers call the EAP to be like, "How do I deal with situations like that?" It's another use that a lot of people don't think about calling as a manager on how to deal with the situation. I've actually had a lot of really good experience with EAP for that.
Another one that I called the EAP for was someone who was going through a gender transition. We were like, "We want to make sure that we're dealing with this in the best possible ways." I don't know how to approach these conversations. I'm not trained in how to have these conversations without sounding like a dumbass. I've called the EAP to be like, "What do we do? What are some considerations?" They had a lot of really, really good advice even from that.
[00:26:39] Tyson: The E or?
[00:29:36] Tyson: Oh, God. Wait, hold on. I have a question about some of the gray area that might come up between your background and being clinical and then you being engaged in org psych by a company. Is there any strange ethical gray zone in this situation? Let's say we have this person who's just bitching and whining all the time, doesn't want to help themselves, pulls the mental health card. Your recommendation from the org psych perspective is like, "Get them the fuck out. They are bringing the whole company down." No? Okay. Let's see. Let's play this example out. Now the company would want to get rid of them. Isn't there a weird gray zone between you having a background in clinical and being engaged as an organizational psychologist in those situations? What would your recommendation be?
[00:31:15] Tyson: Double-clicking on the example that we've been talking about, I'm just curious then what your recommendations are to organizations that have these people won't help themselves. They're claiming mental health issues, but it's really not like--
[00:31:46] Tyson: Totally. Absolutely. Not talking about those guys.
[00:33:37] Tyson: Totally.
[00:34:57] Tyson: Interesting. That's what I was getting at. Is that like that gray zone where you have to tap out and be like, "Uh-uh." Sweet. Exactly, yes.
[00:36:48] Tyson: Interesting.
[00:37:01] Tyson: Wait. I want to know, can we talk about then like what is, especially given this current post-pandemic time, what is the most frequently asked requests that you're getting from organizations? What are they reaching out to you about?
[00:37:54] Tyson: Yes. How do we know people are losing their shit?
[00:38:29] Tyson: Also, stress leave is like out of this world. I don't have any stats on that, but that's just anecdotal. I can't believe the amount of stress leave I see.
[00:39:47] Tyson: Yes, we talk about this.
[00:40:10] Tyson: Yes, there's this hilarious-- just very quickly, this hilarious Instagram Reel, where someone goes to HR about-- they're complaining about burnout, and the HR person's like, "Just take a deep breath with me. Just inhale, out-hale." That's all they're saying, is just to breathe. It's hilarious. They're like, "I need time off. I need less work." All these things. The HR person's just like, "Inhale, exhale." It's so ridiculous. [laughs]
[00:41:01] Tyson: Brutal.
[00:41:36] Tyson: It was brutal.
[00:41:58] Tyson: Everyone expected you-- you had to have the answers. I remember that. Yes.
[00:48:40] Tyson: Especially with HR because it's like, you hear HR is calling you, and all of a sudden you're like, "Oh crap, I'm getting fired," but on top of that-- Always. I have a selfish question. Let's say we are concerned about an individual or concerned about a team, and the manager and the HR are talking about it. We're very concerned these people are about to reach their breaking point.
From your perspective, do you think that it's best for the manager to be having these conversations with HR helping them and coaching them, or do you think that there's a space for HR to actually initiate some of these conversations and have some of these conversations with the team? What do you think the team would get more value from? Hearing from the direct manager or HR? Okay. I usually give that answer, so it's all good. [laughs]
[00:50:20] Tyson: Yes. Exactly.
[00:52:21] Tyson: Well, I think the problem is that usually, we're reacting in those situations, so we don't have the sense to have those conversations upfront because we don't know that we need to have those conversations until it happens, and then we're like, "Oh, shit, okay. Who's doing what here?" At that point, I think you can have that boundaries conversation.
[00:53:19] Tyson: You know what? More managers need to say that because-- I have this conversation with managers. I am always having to tell managers, "You are not their therapist. Do not put that on you. Stop trying to be their therapist, it's not your job. You're not qualified to do that." That's why we have to know where to send them.
[00:54:18] Tyson: That's HR. Yes.
[00:55:00] Tyson: Yes. [laughs]
[00:55:39] Tyson: We're losing our shit. [laughs]
[00:56:44] Tyson: Human in the title. [laughs]
[00:59:12] Tyson: No.
[00:59:57] Tyson: All right, I actually-- this is so hard because I have two that I feel like I really want to talk to you about, Mel, because you can help everybody. Can we do both? You betcha. I'll be there. Yay, can't wait. Cannot wait. It's going to be so sick. Question number one. This is from a listener and you touched on it there, and again, we might talk about this more next week but it's about how to deal with the paradoxes in HR. I guess when you're in those ethical situations where you're being told to do something and you're like, "Hold on a damn second," or something is not aligned with your beliefs, but the company is doing it. Just generally how to deal with those when you work in HR.
[01:02:11] Tyson: Totally.
[01:03:41] Tyson: Totally, and I'm happy that you gave the tough answer, which is like, "Okay, maybe you need to get the fuck out, honestly. You need to have that conversation with yourself." Exactly. I think that that's a really good answer because oftentimes, again, not to sound pessimistic here, but as the HR person, we're thinking, "Oh, they can change. We can be the person to help them change," and I'll be honest, one of the most common-- [laughs] they don't change.
One of the hardest things that I deal with as an HR professional is your token asshole that is very, very high up, very much integrated with a bunch of other assholes at the top, and they're making a shitload of money, but they're assholes. Those people are often untouchable and it's very difficult to deal with the intricacies of the politics at that level as a lowly HR person. I've seen it everywhere. [laughs] Yes.
[01:05:41] Tyson: Yes, totally. Yes, double-click on that, all you HR folks listening. [laughs] 100%. Okay, now this could be an episode in itself, but I'm sorry, I can not ask this question. There's a conversation-- Yes, I am Canadian. Do I have an accent seriously? Oh, no. [laughs] Yes. Yes, it is. [laughs] That's awesome. This is a conversation that's happening on People Ops Society right now. We're going through tough times with the market and stuff like that and we're doing a lot of terminations, so this individual wants to know about how to humanize terminations. I know, I could not ask. [chuckles]
[01:08:20] Tyson: Which is usually what you're doing. I wish I could just fire assholes. [chuckles] Yes.
[01:09:19] Tyson: Because it's part of our job.
[01:11:02] Tyson: How you came to that decision, why you came to that decision. Yes.
[01:11:43] Tyson: It's so funny too because I'm sure there's a lot of HR people listening right now thinking like, "Ah, you say as little as possible, so you protect yourself from a legal perspective." [chuckles] Yes.
[01:13:36] Tyson: Yes.
[01:15:04] Tyson: Next week. Oh my gosh.
[01:15:42] Tyson: That was so good. That was so good. [laughs]
[01:15:58] [END OF AUDIO]