Samantha Postman engages in an enriching and raw conversation with psychiatrist Dr. Ayomide Adebayo about culture, mentorship, and diversity. Samantha starts it off by sharing her tax accounting journey, pointing out how not a lot of people realize that there’s psychiatry in this type of work. She opens up about writing and posting about the #MeToo Movement on her Twitter and sparking up a conversation to her connections on social media. Together, they delve into mentorship and how people, especially women in corporations, are afraid to mention mentorship and what we should be doing about it.
00:01 – Show Introduction
02:39 – The Paradox of English Language
07:44 – Thoughts on Nigerian Community in Canada
10:03 – On Cultural Reentry Shock
16:45 – The Dancing Metaphor of Psychiatry and Taxes
21:27 – On Collaborative Idea a.k.a. Networked Thoughts
32:19 – #MeTooMovement Secondary Effects and the Boldness to Address Something of Serious Value
46:39 – Challenges About Health, Wealth, and Success
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Conversations About Culture, the #MeTooMovement and Diversity With Dr. Ayomide Adebayo
Samantha: We are covering quite a bit. I’m sure you’re all going to want to stay for every part that we’ve got. You don’t want to miss a thing. We cover everything from this beautiful metaphor of dance and how each relationship we’re in with people around us, as well as clients and people that we work with is a beautiful dance. How we adjust to the moods of other people, the cultures around us, the culture they came from, the cultures of their ancestors and how we learn to do this dance. The better we get at the more people around, we learn how to dance in respect of the people around us. We’re going to talk about culture with that, as well as those things that you’re not going to even expect.
In this episode, I’m going to talk a little bit about my journey as a tax accountant and how a lot of people are surprised that there’s a counseling therapist aspect to it that a lot of people don’t know anything about and my journey with that. We’re also going to talk about English because our guest is in Scotland, but he learned English when he was in Nigeria. Of course, I’m from Canada, so just the variations we get of English and how that influences our culture. We’re also going to talk about self-awareness and how self-awareness improves our living, our mental awareness and improves the people around us. When the people around us feel better when we’re around self-awareness, it’s going to make our lives better.
Also, we’re going to talk a bit about awareness of what it’s like for other people who are doing a journey like us, and learning how to adjust to other people’s lives, how they express and process information, and how they process their lives. We got a treat for you. That doesn’t sound as exciting as it actually is, but it does sound exciting to me. I promise you that you will be enriched by the depth that our guest brings to us and the organic conversation that happens between us. The sweet spot or the sweet conversations happen to be organic when we’re not scripted, when we let both of us go and jump on to whatever sparks the connection, and then grow that. I hope that you’re going to get as much out of it as we did.
The Paradox of English Language
Samantha: I’ve got a treat for you all the way from Scotland. We have got a psychiatrist with us and you are in for some interesting learning with us. We’ve got Dr. Ayomide and I’m going to pass it over to him so we can do an introduction a little bit about him and how we got connected.
Thoughts on Nigerian Community in Canada
Dr. Ayomide: Thanks, Samantha. I am Ayomide Adebayo, a Nigerian expert in the UK. I work in England in psychiatry. I work in general adult psychiatry, specifically intensive care, which I love because it’s intensive, which is funny because lots of people are like, “Aargh.” Patients are struggling a bit more and they can be a bit more agitated. For me, it’s almost like an emergency and it’s more dynamic. A lot of stuff is going on and I enjoy it. The fact that you enjoy this and that people don’t like it as much makes you feel like, “This is exactly the way it should be.” That’s my day job and I ignite, so to speak. I write online and I have a website. I’m doing a Ship 30 for 30 theme where you write a theme every day for 30 days, which is the second place where I met you, Samantha. The first place being Roam Research.
Samantha: They all thought we were talking about Italy right now.
Dr. Ayomide: It is a place but it’s not a physical space. It’s a digital space that is inhabited by Roamans. We call ourselves Roamans. It’s this tool for thinking, writing and connecting thoughts together. There’s a book club that happens every other month or so. Samantha and I have met at these book clubs, which we still run into each other a few times, and then we run into each other again in Ship 30 for 30, which is what I love about the internet. I love the fact that as big as the internet, you somehow run into the same people every now and then because they’re interested in the same position, which is hilarious.
Samantha: It’s crazy. You’re in Scotland as a psychiatrist and I’m in Southern Alberta, Canada co-running a farm and running a strategy innovation company. Even Ship 30 for 30 is a completely different entity than the Roam Research community. To the readers, Roam Research isn’t the book club. It’s not like what you think where you’re all like, “They’re reading a book together across the world.” It’s so much more than that. It’s more like a collective intellectual community that comes together and then figures out a way to network their thoughts around the book and then the ideas of the books.
Dr. Ayomide: It’s like a notebook club because we’re making notes on the book, but we cannot see each other’s notes. It’s like you had a big book and everybody was writing on the margins at the same time. They’re talking about it at the same time.
Samantha: You can see and interact with each other’s notations and then grow ideas together or even just your own ideas. It was so cool. That’s how we met. We are in a Ship 30 for 30 essay challenge over on Twitter. Some people are adding it to their other social media. It’s interesting because we’re having these international Zoom meetings where everybody can come together at one time. In the chatbox, I made a mention about how I had invited my Instagram and Facebook tribe.
Dr. Ayomide: You mentioned it first and then I asked you about it.
Samantha: To get everyone on board, I invited my Facebook and Instagram tribe to journey with me over on Twitter. I started posting some of my essays. I posted the big announcement on my Facebook and said, “A bunch of us are over on Twitter and we’re doing this essay challenge. I thought maybe you’d want to be part of it. I’ll include my essay over on Facebook.” What happened is I was so excited about this. I totally posted it all over and announced to both of my worlds over there that I’m going to do that. The next morning, I woke up wanting to throw up. I was sick about it and I felt so anxious about the repercussions of amalgamating two tribes with two different spaces. When we were on this group call, I mentioned, “I freaked out and I froze. I almost wanted to stop the entire process because I was worried about it.” That’s what started our conversation. You started asking me a bunch of questions. We chat about it and wanting to explore it, and then we decided to do a podcast so everyone could explore it with us.
Dr. Ayomide: I find it so interesting. It was everything. The fact that you were willing to bring people along, and then that reaction. One of the other committees I’ve been in is rites of passage. One of the things that I used to talk about a lot there was intellectual isolation, which you would relate to as well. I used to talk about the fact that no one has rites of passage. Most people didn’t have anyone in their lives doing what we were doing like writing online and sending a newsletter out. It’s the same thing with Roam. For most of us in Roam, we don’t have anyone in our physical lives who is doing this stuff. It’s like Dungeons & Dragons in the ‘80s.
Samantha: I go down to the dinner table and I’m like, “I learned the coolest new thing in Roam Research. We can intergalactically connect with people from across the world and share our thoughts in real-time.” They’re all like, “Does someone have that auger ready? Got to get that auger ready for tomorrow.”
Dr. Ayomide: It’s so funny. We connect because it’s like, “I’m not crazy. I’m not entirely losing it.”
On Cultural Reentry Shock
Samantha: I love being with people who are excited about some of the same passions we have. It’s exciting. The way the internet works, I know that some of us have a love-hate relationship with it, but it can be so beautiful to be part of a Zoom with a couple of hundred people from around the world who were all there for the same reason. That’s what conferences used to be. I used to take these leadership conferences and I was around other people who are developing their leadership. There’s this energy and I’d be like, “I’m so excited to be here with other people who care about leadership.”
My friend, who’s maybe in a completely different role is like, “You are a crazy lady.” She doesn’t understand that at all. I’m a tax expert by first trade and I get excited about saving people money on taxes. I don’t do taxes anymore and I closed my practice. My husband’s like, “You’re such a weirdo.” I’m like, “You have your hockey. I have my taxes.” He’d be like, “How could you even look at them in the same universe?” When he calls me insane, I’m always like, “Who’s the one who married me?” Then it’s done. We’re here to talk about growing our minds together and exploring why this particular comment I made grabbed your curiosity. Let’s start out. I know you had a couple of questions for me, so let’s go. When we’re talking now, if there’s something I say that you need clarification, like when I say country and you’re like, “Do you mean countryside?” please do that.
Dr. Ayomide: I promise I’ll speak.
Samantha: I want you to do it as well.
Dr. Ayomide: In England, they don’t speak English in the same way.
Samantha: I know, but I want the audience to hear it. I want to hear us doing that because it’s fun, so let’s do that. Let’s make sure we include all those like English non-equivalents.
Dr. Ayomide: I wrote an essay actually titled I Speak Three Different Englishes. I think in Nigerian English. When I was researching for it, and apparently there’s actually a whole body of research on this. It’s to do with the fact that there are countries like the US and the UK where this is where English is defined. Then there are countries like Nigeria that were colonized, which is where we took English and made it our own. There are countries like China and European countries where people are speaking English there, but they don’t really care about it. They only speak it to communicate with international people. They don’t actually do anything with it. We are in the middle ground where we create our own forms of English because now it’s ours.
Samantha: Also in other countries like China, they often have British teachers, but they watch American television. They use British words talking to an American or to a British person using American words, and not even realize that they’re actually slightly different. I find that interesting when people come over here and they’ll say things, and I’m like, “You had a British teacher, didn’t you? I speak American English and you sort of speak a little British.”
Dr. Ayomide: It’s hilarious.
Samantha: Imagine for a Westerner to have a foreigner speak English with a British/Chinese accent. It’s very interesting.Women are being denied the mentorship they had before. Click To Tweet
Dr. Ayomide: I joke sometimes that America has tried to Colonize, that you can’t escape like the influence of American music and movies. DMX died, and you might be shocked to know this. For many of us that grew up in Nigeria, that was such a huge part of us growing up. I remember DMX. I wonder if he knew that. I hope he did.
Samantha: A couple of years ago, my daughter and I were teaching English in Costa Rica. We were living in hostels on the coastline. In the hostels, we get 18 to 30-year-olds from all over the world who are living intimately with us, on and off, in and out. For one month, we lived with this couple from London. They had that London English to them. I used to ask them all these questions, “Does it bother you that Americans act like they own English, but you were the inventor of English? Then they twisted it and make it sound like they’re the correct English.” Somehow, we’re butchering their original language.
Dr. Ayomide: That’s the thing though, it’s your English. It’s not anyone’s English. There’s only one England English.
Samantha: It’s funny when an American said to someone from England, “You have an English accent.” They’re like, “No, you’re the one with the accent.”
Dr. Ayomide: I’ve had people say that to me. I guess no one thinks they have an accent. You think you’re speaking normally.
Samantha: If England was the one who invented English, wouldn’t they be the non-accent and everything other than that would be?
Dr. Ayomide: I used to hear British accent, and then when I came here, I realized there’s no British accent. There’s a Scottish accent and various kinds. It’s like in America, I’m sure someone would tell you, “There’s a difference between the way someone from New York speaks and someone from Boston,” I couldn’t tell you the difference. They all sound like American to me, but you can.
Samantha: I’m from Southern Alberta. When I travel around the world, everyone thinks I’m from California. They think every blue-eyed blonde comes from California, that’s number one. Two, the way we speak. My husband likes to joke. He always says, “We don’t have an accent here because we speak like California. Since Hollywood movies are made there, that sets it.” We sound a lot like California here. No one usually knows we’re Canadian if we’re from this area. They just assume we’re from California.
Dr. Ayomide: That’s hilarious. I would never have guessed. I’m sure there are differences in how Canadians and Americans speak.
Samantha: It can vary quite a bit, but I think Newfoundland the most, and of course, Quebec because it’s their second language. Other than that, it’s not as different between Ontario to British Columbia, which is a four-day drive, compared to parts of the US. Even England isn’t a four-day drive from top to bottom. There’s a huge difference between top to bottom.
Dr. Ayomide: Do you know there’s a pretty large Nigeria community in Canada? I don’t know if you know that.
We're seeing #MeToo backlash across all organization types.
Women are being cheated from essential mentorship that sharpen skills for advancement and organizational movement.
Creating a monster both men and women are afraid to talk about.#MeTooMonster 👿
— Ⓜ️Samantha Postman | Empowering You (@SamanthaPostman) April 12, 2021
Samantha: I actually I have some good friends from Nigeria, and we were pretty honored. They had us come up and help dedicate their baby in church.
Dr. Ayomide: That is a massive thing for us.
Samantha: They invited us for that and then to their house.
Dr. Ayomide: You are family level at that point.
Samantha: I love being with people from other cultures and hearing their perspective on the world and their experiences. You can’t even get a story book with that good. I love it. It really enriches my life.
Dr. Ayomide: After medical school in Nigeria, you have to do a year of community service stuff. Most of them probably end up teaching, not everyone, but a lot of them are teaching. It’s a whole thing. My first year out of that, which is like your first year of actually working as a free agent. Nigeria is massive. I worked in a private hospital that was doing Canadian Immigration medical examination. It was fun. We were 1 of 2 of those in the country. We’ve probably seen half of the people who are leaving for Canada. This is interesting to me to see everyone. Usually by taking your medical exams, you’re probably going for a visa and there’s something massively wrong with your medicals. Even if it was like CP, the only thing was we’ll tell them that they need to get treatments. Even for a massive thing, they would still get the visa, except for something if you have something really bad. It was interesting for me all those people and hearing their stories and their reasons.
Samantha: One of my favorite things to ask people that I meet is, “What is your cultural reentry shock when you go back home? You just see your own culture in a completely new life once you’ve been away for quite a period of time and then come back.” I find that so fascinating to hear. What it is about your culture that you didn’t notice until you had a reentry shock?
Dr. Ayomide: I haven’t gone back, but I have had a lot of things that I’ve thought about. I’ve been doing Ship 30 for 30 and a lot of what I write about is culture because I’m very interested in culture actually. Actually, I’m very interested in how people behave. If you’re interested in how people behave, you have to be interested in culture. I’m not like this because I’m in psychiatry. I entered psychiatry because I’m like this, and this was the only area that I felt would allow me to explore that and just keep playing with it. The way I talked about doing psychiatric, literally nobody was surprised. I never thought about that, but now that you say, I can’t imagine anything else that I would do. When you’re interested in people, you have to be interested in culture. I find it so fascinating.
I have this thing that I often like to say that culture is the thing we take for granted. That really came home to me when I was in this conversation on Twitter one day and someone was talking about how it will be very lovely for people to help people that are new to their culture, and tell them the things about their culture that they need to know. I was like, “Actually, as someone who’s been on the other side of that, I can tell you, you don’t know what to tell people about their culture because you don’t know it.”
Samantha: You know what they say, “A fish doesn’t know they’re in water.” They can’t see the water.
Dr. Ayomide: That is fascinating to me because it means that the only way to really see your culture is to engage with somebody who’s not part of your culture. Then you can start to actually see through the eyes of that other person. I feel like those are people that can then help other people. It’s like I’ve engaged enough with the outsiders to my world, enough to be able to help a new outsider to my world, into my world. There are lots of things I’ve seen about Nigerian culture, not necessarily in reentry, but like just by virtue of having left and then knowing that, and carrying it with me because in a sense I do carry it with me.Finance is one of the most intimate relationships you’ll ever have with a client. Click To Tweet
Samantha: You also have people who are fresh out of Nigeria that you encountered with, and then you’ll be like, “I forgot.” You’re like, “I’ve got to get my brain back there a minute.”
Dr. Ayomide: I was talking to a Nigeria and I said to her that, “However many Thank Yous and Pleases you say, say ten times more because that’s what it means to be English.”
Samantha: I met a guy from Iran. He said to me, “I’ve never said more sorry in my entire life than one year living in Canada. I feel like all I do is apologize.”
Dr. Ayomide: It’s so funny. In Nigeria, we’re very direct. If you want something, just say you want it. In England, I’ll never forget the first time someone said, “Do you think you would maybe want to consider that?” I was like, “I don’t think so.” That’s what they were asking me, a general question.
Samantha: My London friends told me English is so bad that you’re not speaking English anymore. It’s just a bunch of bumper words and soft words. It’s so cryptic.
Dr. Ayomide: I had to learn really fast because it’s a high-touch environment, so to speak. One of my favorite things to do is to talk to patient’s relatives over the phone, and I just realized it. It’s different for patients because you see them every day and over time you build rapport and trust. This is the first time I was talking to a patient’s relative. I’ve never spoken to this person and usually they’re upset. Usually, I don’t want to talk to you otherwise. They’re not colleagues to say, “I just want to say you’re doing a great job.” That’s not why people go to the doctor. It’s like, “I think something’s going wrong and I’m upset. I want to find out.” This is my customer service part of my job.
Samantha: They’re releasing some anger, so that’s a service.
Dr. Ayomide: It’s customer service. I’m a doctor, and I enter a customer service role. That’s what this is, and I love doing them because I think of them as a dance. It’s a dance. I love them because I don’t know what’s going to happen. I don’t know what this person is feeling. I’m going to chance to go out what they’re dancing and figure out how to dance with them. I love that. That’s fun for me. I realized after the second or third one of those that I really enjoy these, especially because I think I’m good at them.
Samantha: If you love it, you probably are. If you have a passion for it and it makes you excited, you’re probably really good at it.
Dr. Ayomide: People here would be like, “This patient wants to talk to you, John. Talk to them.” People are almost trying to pass it off and the nurses they don’t know what to do. I’m like, “I’ll talk to them.” It doesn’t always work out. More times than not, it has worked out. What I really enjoy is not that it worked out. It gets into working out. I love the process of trying to figure out what that’s going to look like.
Samantha: You love the process of getting another facet of someone. Because every time you interact with somebody in their outer circle, you are learning something new about your patient.
Dr. Ayomide: I love it. It’s so good. It’s always nice. A lot of times, I realized many of them are just upset at the system.
Samantha: I’ve learned that more and more. It’s something that’s helped me a lot in my life is to realize that when people are venting at us, it’s often not something we did. It could be even something we did that maybe triggered them and reminded them of someone else, then it just came out. Sometimes I’ve noticed that we all talk out loud, we just do it differently. I’ll talk out loud when no one’s in the room. Some people talk out loud but against the person across from them. One time I had a guy totally lay into me about something and then halfway through, I was like, “This isn’t even relevant to anything that was part of our past.” I was like, “He’s talking to himself right now. Okay, whatever.” “Aren’t you upset that he rings you?” I’m like, “No, he wasn’t really talking to me. He was talking to himself,” and that really helped a lot. There was a teeny little bit in there I probably could have learned from, and I did. I was like, “That’s triggered him but whatever.” That has helped a lot, especially as a female because we get so insecure and we’re very verbal with each other, women are. Sometimes when I realized that sometimes they’re not really talking to me directly or criticizing me directly, then I’m able to let it go off of me a little more.
I like to think sometimes of us as tape. When we’re healthy, we’re one-sided tapes. When someone set something on us, it’ll just slide right off. If I’m really sensitive and hurting for multiple reasons, and I’m double-sided tape, that same conversation is going to stick to me. If I’m in a really bad mental place, I can’t always choose if I’m double-sided tape, and the other person is not going to know. I sometimes consciously go, “This is what I need to be one-sided tape, and I’m going to let it slide right back. I’m going to let it slide off.” It’s a conscious physical thing I’ll do like, “It’s sliding off right now.” Then I sit there and wait until they’re done, “Sounds like you’re having a bad day.”
Dr. Ayomide: I love that idea of they’re talking to themselves. I don’t know if this the way I think what you said, but it makes me think of they’re talking to themselves and you’re just there to listen, not to insert yourself into that conversation, which we often do.
Samantha: Honestly, I don’t think we need to necessarily correct them either, and be like, “This doesn’t really apply to me. I have no idea why you just did this.” I think in the end, a lot of people will realize it when they walk away and have time to analyze the conversation because we’re all human and we are going to micro-analyze a situation where we ream somebody out. Maybe they’re going to think they’re in the right, but that doesn’t make it true. Just because they think they were right to do it, doesn’t make it true. Anyway, it’s has helped me a lot. I mentor lots of young adults and it’s one of the first things I teach them. I say, “Remember, when people are talking to you, often they’re talking to themselves. They’re just getting out and expressing and exploring something that’s going on in them.” It has very little to do. Sometimes you just didn’t happen to be there. I think that’s what happens with children. They come home and they’re angry about school things and they let out all their emotions. They’re angry because their sibling took the toy too early, when really they’re angry about something that happened at school. They’re expressing because that’s where it comes out. Anyway, this was a little too late I picked up along the way and it’s been really helpful.
Dr. Ayomide: Would you mind if I used it in an essay?
Samantha: Go right ahead. I was telling you I had one with Casey Li, and it was magic. I probably could write ten essays out of our conversation. I’ve written a few and I’ve noticed there are a few things in her essays where I’m like, “That came out of our conversation.” It’s pretty cool. That’s why we’re meant to be with each other. If we sharpen and grow each other, and build on each other ideas, that’s where new ideas come from because no one person can contain all the best ideas. It’s when we meet our minds with the other that we come up with really great ideas.
Dr. Ayomide: My favorite quote is this thing I saw from Saman Ansari’s essay that he wrote. It’s a quote from someone else, from this lady who is in neurology or something, I can’t remember. It’s basically that the smallest unit of survival is two humans. I love that so much. Forget about all that, “What if you’re stranded on an island, what’s the one thing you need?” The one thing you need is another person.
Samantha: You need a male and a female. You might need one of the opposite sex, and then it’s got multiple layers to it.
Dr. Ayomide: I love the idea because it’s something I’m realizing as I grow older. You need other people. For literally anything, you need other people.
Samantha: Being alone has value, but you can’t be alone forever. You can’t solely provide for yourself without somebody else’s contribution.A lot of people have wealth, but they don’t realize that the wealth becomes a challenge. Click To Tweet
Dr. Ayomide: There’s this line from one of Angela Kelly’s books that’s something along the lines of, “It’s the silence that gives the word its meaning. If not, it’s just noise.” They feed each other. The aloneness gives our community meaning, but the community also gives us a little meaning.
Samantha: That reminds me, I actually came up with something, not maybe as eloquent as that, but I remember writing something like this, “The world’s the one that gives me the thoughts, but it’s the world that disrupt my thought process.”
Dr. Ayomide: That is good. It’s a constant tension.
Samantha: The world is a disruption to our aloneness. I love that because sometimes I just need to be alone in my thoughts, but from the world that I have my thoughts. I need the world for the thought, but then I don’t want to be disrupted from them. The world is an interruption to me.
Dr. Ayomide: It’s an attention you keep engaging, isn’t it?
Samantha: We can resent it if we haven’t had enough time to process it.
Dr. Ayomide: “For words to be spoken, there must be silence before and after.” That’s the quote. The first thing I want to say is why I grabbed it. I grabbed it because I was fascinated by that. You’re probably not having anyone in your life who is into this thing, and then it’s like this secret thing that you do at night.
Samantha: Your alter ego.
Dr. Ayomide: Your super identity. Now they found out that you’re Bruce Wayne and they don’t know what to do about it. First of all, I was curious as to what you were thinking when you made the decision? Did you foresee that that was going to happen? I’m guessing you didn’t. What are you thinking pre? You still know how you felt after. If you could boil down what you were thinking after to one thought, what would it have been? What were you thinking when you invited them in or when you shared it with them?
Samantha: One of them was, I wanted to include them in the journey. I have a huge following on my personal Facebook. It’s probably close to 1,000. Often, people will write in their encouraging comments like, “I love living the world through your eyes.” I travel a lot and sometimes I post about traveling. That’s not an opportunity that a lot of people get. I see the world from a different perspective and I often get good feedback from people who want to have coffee with me to talk about it. I thought, “Here’s a way to include them.” I can’t be there all the time and I can’t keep up to platforms all the time. It’s too much. I’m on Facebook for multiple reasons for the most part. I thought, “Let’s include them in. If they get value from it, great.” That was my initial reason.
On Collaborative Idea a.k.a. Networked Thoughts
I’m one of those people who is super bold in a moment. I will stand up for someone. If there’s wrong going on, I’ll be the first one to get mother bearish about whoever it is and go in to bat for someone. It’s after that comes the fear where I’m like, “Shit. What did I just do?” It usually takes a whole night, and the next morning, I have the butterfly thing that I’m about to step in front of 10,000 people. I’m like, “What did I just do? I opened a Pandora box and I didn’t think that through.” All of a sudden, I didn’t want to write because where the fear came in is I felt like I couldn’t be as free to write what I felt compelled to write about.
Dr. Ayomide: You felt like you had to process it through. You wonder what they’re going to say.
Samantha: Sometimes, I talk about people who are in my life and I try to be gentle. I also sometimes talk about things I’ve learned through people in my life. It could be twenty people I learned from, but my one friend is going to think I talked about them specifically and perhaps betray their trust when I’m speaking directly to them. Whereas on Twitter, I don’t know anyone personally other than a couple of them. I’m not worried that we have some history that you are going to pull out of the closet and try to see if I’m talking about any of it.
All of a sudden, I felt like I had to cut my tongue off. I felt like I was being stuck into a box and I couldn’t speak into anything of serious value because I was afraid of the repercussions. They’re not always repercussions for me. Sometimes, they’re repercussions for people in my life. If I’m bold about something, how is that going to portray future work opportunities for my children? I am on committees in some organizations. How will my thoughts reflect on them? I feel this strong responsibility. For example, I posted on Twitter a bold essay on what we call second-order effects of the #MeToo Movement.
#MeTooMovement Secondary Effects and the Boldness to Address Something of Serious Value
Dr. Ayomide: I saw that. That was bold.
Samantha: I’ve been holding on to that for three years and it’s been eating at me, but I didn’t feel like I could speak it out loud in the groups I was in before without betraying confidence and without looking poorly in an organization. There’s so much space between all of us because of COVID. It took me fifteen days. That was my fifteen-day essay. Fifteen days of writing every day to get enough courage to post that. For those of you who don’t know what we’re talking about, I posted a short essay talking about what I call the #MeToo Monster, which is something that’s happened in the workplace.
Dr. Ayomide: Can we talk about that? You don’t have to. I’m just wondering.
Samantha: I told you this is an organic conversation, so that happened to come up by accident. I’ve written a couple of essays since then. What is it that you want to talk about with it?
Dr. Ayomide: It’s fascinating to me because it’s a difficult thing to see, but you said it beautifully and sensitively. I wanted to know a bit about the process of how you got to say it the way you did. If there’s anything you can share about the behind the scenes. That’ll be difficult because I’m sure there’s a lot that you can’t say, which I understand.
Samantha: Interestingly enough, I also created a mind map that unpacked why women aren’t talking about it and why men aren’t talking about it. I did it after and I might post an essay about it later. To get everyone on board, out of 30 essays, on my fifteenth essay, this is what I wrote on Twitter, “We’re seeing #MeToo backlash across all organization types. Women are being cheated from essential mentorship that sharpens skills for advancement and organizational movement, creating a monster both men and women are afraid to talk about. #MeTooMonster.”
Within this essay, I acknowledged right at the beginning that this is going to be controversial, so my process is knowing this is controversial. What I address here is that in the corporate world, we’re seeing monumental ripple effects. I’m not talking about less sexual misconduct, which is a benefit. I’m talking about how women are being cheated from good mentorship. In my opinion, the glass ceiling is thicker than it was before the #MeToo Movement when we’ve been making good progress in that area.
What’s happening is I have quite a network in the business community and I have a Bachelor of Management in Business. With over 7,500 in tax returns under my belt, you meet a lot of people. Often, people I know will come to me and say, “Do you know somebody who can fit this job description?” In the last few years since the #MeToo Movement, I’ve been hearing more of, “We’re not legally allowed to ask for only men but could you only forward us male names that you think would be a good fit?” If they are open for a female candidate, they will say, “I need you to vouch for them.”
The reason why is because a lot of times, senior-level management in a lot of workplaces are predominantly male. Because of the whole Billy Graham movement about no meet, no eat and no travel alone with a woman, that has now become policy in a lot of workplaces, organizations, and nonprofit organizations. Some insurance policies are insisting on it to reduce litigation. I talked about it in this essay because when I started getting these businesses asking quietly and they do it in the most gentle way. My heart breaks when a male or female comes to me and say, “I know I’m not supposed to ask this. Can you keep it quiet? We are looking for male candidates only.”
This got me thinking, “What’s going on?” I started listening and I’m hearing more and more stories. It’s a wrong undercurrent that no one’s talking about. It would be like a husband will come to me and say, “This is what’s happening at my wife’s work and she is devastated. She’s passed over for promotion. Her boss is coming back from lunch with one other male coworker and they’re laughing and bonding. He makes a group meeting for all the women in the office and then just sits down and talks to them for lunch.” It’s a totally different type of mentorship that’s going on and there are very few women in senior leadership already. We’re seeing a major pressure on that senior leadership to have to provide mentorship for all women.
I’m sorry to say but just because you are another female doesn’t make you a good mentor match. It could be a poor mentor match. What’s happening too is that women aren’t able to perform their jobs when they’re trying to mentor all the women. That looks poor for them performance-wise. They can’t do enough. That could be maybe not even in the workplace, but other women are calling them after hours, “This is going on. I don’t know how to handle this.” Mostly, I’m seeing women being denied the mentorship that they had before because of all these new rules and policies put in by companies and insurance companies. I blow it wide open and talk about it in this essay.
Dr. Ayomide: This is a thing that you don’t hear people talk about.
The Dancing Metaphor of Psychiatry
Samantha: I was nervous to talk about it because sometimes, I was like, “Is this my hill to die on?” I know a lot of things behind the scenes. Some of that comes from 7,500 tax returns. You probably know this with psychiatry, but finance is one of the most intimate relationships you will ever have with a client. I used to know more about people than their own doctors and sometimes, their own spouses because a doctor is never going to see your finances. I saw all the medical expenses.
Dr. Ayomide: I know the things they’re paying for.
Samantha: People will tell you all their medical, even the stuff they should leave out, but they won’t tell you their finances. I used to see everything, so they think, “If you already know all that about me, there’s not much else you can’t know.” In Canada, we call these T4s when you work for a place. I’ve seen every T4 there possibly is in Canada. Anything from someone who’s getting social assistance who’s living on the street to CEOs in big companies and ones that work in government. I used to hear the undercurrent, the stuff nobody talks about, the safe place to talk about. I used to hear it and see the effect on both sides. Because I have a business background, I get to see how this affects a business that a lot of people don’t understand. When businesses tell me this, it’s never in a malicious way. Their hearts are breaking for this. They don’t want it to happen. Some of them are oblivious to the entire thing, but many of them aren’t. I’ve been sitting on this. It took a bit since I invited my Facebook group. I stopped posting on Facebook and Instagram because I froze.
Dr. Ayomide: I was going to ask you, what did you decide to do, whether you pushed through?
Samantha: I wouldn’t have posted this essay if I would have still been posting over there because some of this is coming from people in my own network who have told me this. Some are because I talked to a lot of internationals. I have talked to a few politicians about this and they’re like, “We know about it but no one’s talking about it.” I’ve had a few politicians, especially the males go, “I had no idea that this was going on.” That’s the essay. Where I’m seeing it strong is in nonprofit organizations because people for sure aren’t talking about it there. Women feel like they can’t talk about it for tons of reasons. One of them is they’re worried about the security of their job.
Dr. Ayomide: It’s going to be hard for them. I totally get that. It’s like being a black person in the UK or in America or in many other countries. It’s hard to be the one to talk about it.
Samantha: You can’t because it can cost you your job. Also, if it’s serving you, it comes across as a vested interest and has less value. When I bring this up, I’m nervous. As a female, I’m calling light to this. I’m not calling it out for females specifically. I’m calling it out as a discussion starter. I want what’s best for companies because men are missing out too by good mentorship. If the best fit for you is a female, but they won’t put you together because of the no eat, no meet, no travel, you’ve been denied good mentorship as well. It’s not just hurting women.
Dr. Ayomide: I’ve read something about diversity. It’s about how we often think of diversity as something to the benefit of other people. Actually, it’s for all of us because the truth is we all have blind spots. One thing I teach medical students is, “Never trust someone that says they don’t have biases because they’re lying. Everyone has biases. That’s what it means to be human. There are things you can’t see.” What you want to do is to throw the biases in the room so that they can push against each other. You can’t not have biases. The next best option is to have all the biases.
Samantha: You then create more biases.
Dr. Ayomide: If you have all the biases, then you’re not having one bias deciding everything. You’re having them pushing against each other, and then we hopefully can work out. What then happens is someone’s thinking, “Let’s do this and this, but they don’t see this.” They have somebody saying, “There’s this other angle,” and they’re like, “Why should we care about that angle?” “This is why.” They have to have a different conversation. Hopefully, that’s what can happen. That’s what diversity is all about. That’s what it means to have all different kinds of voices.
Samantha: Every time we solve a problem, more than likely, there’s going to be another one that comes up. There’s a case in Africa where they had too many cobras. The city put an order in place that you got paid out for every dead cobra that you killed and brought it in because they were trying to reduce the population. All the problems began when the cobra population went down. Because they put a price on it, people started breeding cobras so that they could kill them and take them in for a price.
Dr. Ayomide: It’s the Law of Unintended Consequences. It happens all the time.
Samantha: The government realized what happened, so they shut the program down. Everyone released all these cobras because they weren’t getting paid for them, and then they ended up with more cobras than they had to begin with.
Dr. Ayomide: That’s a completely different problem.
Samantha: This happens a lot. All I’m trying to do is let’s have a discussion. The #MeToo Movement was necessary. It brought to light a deeply problematic issue. It was so good for lots of reasons. However, there is a second-order effect. I like to call them the ripple effect. I know some people call them second-order effects. The ones that come after. This is the part that I wanted to talk about and bring out and say, “Now we have another problem. What are we going to do about it?” Generally, another reason why I haven’t brought it up is because I don’t like bringing up problems if I haven’t thought of alternate solutions.
Dr. Ayomide: That’s the thing. This is tricky. This is the thing that the solution can come from necessarily one person. I totally get it. It’s complicated. I know this happens. The case of people thinking, “This man had so much trouble, so we’re not going to work with him.” There will be that, but then there will be those who are like, “We want to work with him but we don’t have any safe way, so we’re just not going to have to work with him.” There will be those who will be like, “We want to work with him. We are trying to go out the safe way and this is the safe way we figured out.” This safe way doesn’t actually work, for the way you’ve explained.
Samantha: There’s another element as well. In my particular case, my inbox has gotten quite a few from this posting. Few people have said, “You need to post this on LinkedIn.” I’m like, “I’m so swamped right now. I don’t have time to facilitate that conversation.” I anticipate a disruption over on the LinkedIn platform that I wouldn’t be getting over and Twitter. I’m like, “Is this my hill to die on? Once I say this out loud more than on Twitter, then now this is a conversation that I’m going to be pulled into quite a bit. Is this what I want to talk about for the next couple of years?” I don’t know. I don’t mind planting some seeds in it. I’m not an extreme feminist either. I just want to do what’s best for everyone because that serves all of us.
Challenges About Health, Wealth, and Success
I think that other people are more equipped to answer this question probably than I am. Also, they’d be passionate to answer the question in the best way. I’m not passionate about solving the problem necessarily for the next 5 to 10 years of my life and that’s for multiple reasons. Part of it is because I have an autoimmune disease, so I had to close my tax practice. For almost ten years, I was almost completely incapacitated. I almost died. I was in a wheelchair on and off. Although I’ve recovered quite a bit, my health is somewhat fragile. Some people say my life expectancy will be ten years less than everyone else. Also, I could go back in that wheelchair if I have a flare again. I asked myself a lot, “What am I going to do with the time I have left?” My one specialist said something in a way that I’ll never forget. He said, “Samantha, we are all given one set of tires. Your set is quite worn already and you have to decide how you’re going to use what’s left.”
Dr. Ayomide: I’m going to steal that. That’s not a bad analogy. Did you find that helpful?
Samantha: Yes. At the time, we were talking about treatments. I had a crazy number of cortisone shots and everyone was criticizing me about it. My kids were young. We were talking quantity versus quality of life. My kids were young and I wanted to invest that time in them and I knew that doing all these cortisone shots would deteriorate my bones. My bones are like 70 inside. I’ve had multiple surgeries. Every time I go for surgery, all the nurses and doctors are like, “Holy cow. What did you do? Play 100 sports?” It’s bad. He used to also call me a China doll. He’s like, “You look all great on the outside, but you’re all broken on the inside.” He was a cool doctor. He was great. He’s retired now.
When he said this to me, I was thinking about investing all I had left with my children while they’re at home. It was good for him to say that and that helped me decide on the cortisone shots that I needed so that I could live well. It’s a heavy thing and now, I’m healthier. Somehow, I’ve recovered. I’ve done quite a few things to recover. I worked very hard. That’s a whole other conversation. However, those words weigh on me. When I bring stuff up, I’m a little nervous. It’s funny because when I was talking to Casey Lee, she said to me, “Are you afraid of failure like everyone else?” I’m like, “Honestly, I’m more afraid of success than failure.” She’s like, “What?” I’m like, “Once you succeed, other people will start to steer your ship.”
When other people steer your ship, you’re no longer in charge of your journey anymore. I fear success for that reason. It’s partly why I started a show because I’m like, “If I have ten years before I’m back in a wheelchair, I’m going to have a shorter lifespan.” I’m like, “How am I going to spend this?” I have so much in my mind. I have so much information I’ve accumulated. I’d like to joke that I’ve lived 100 cat lives. People start reading my story and they’re like, “How did you do that in one lifetime? You’ve lived 100 lives.” It’s probably true. My contribution to the world is like, “This is what I’ve accumulated. Here’s the knowledge I have. Grow from it.” That’s why I started a show. It’s like, “Here’s what I have. I want to pass this knowledge that I’ve accumulated onto you so you can grow.” I want to impact the world for sure, but do I want to let other people steer my ship? I felt that that happened before in my first life.
Dr. Ayomide: It reminds me of something that Talib once said about wealth beneath a burden. A lot of people have wealth, but they don’t realize that the wealth becomes a challenge because they end up making choices, but they’re not actually making those choices. Those choices are being defined for them. It’s like, “You have to eat at this place.” Those kinds of things.
Samantha: You want to fix everything. If you can afford four vehicles and then they need repairs, you’re constantly spending your time taking them to repair shops.
Dr. Ayomide: They’ve got more maintenance now.
Samantha: Wealth requires maintenance. Success also requires maintenance.
Dr. Ayomide: There’s also the distress of, “What if I lose it?” This is why you tend to end up going with all those things. It’s what a lot of people do to steer you when you have all of that. It’s with the fear of, “If you don’t do this, you will lose it.” That kind of thing.
Samantha: People also steer you to serve themselves.
Dr. Ayomide: What I’m saying is the reason that they’ll give you, because they’re not going to come and say, “I’m doing this to serve myself.” The angle is going to be appealing to your fear of losing it.
Samantha: I want to thank you. It’s been a huge pleasure and value added to my life. Your fingerprints are going to stay on me for probably forever. When we encounter people, they leave a fingerprint on us, and some we go, “I’m glad that one’s on me.” Thank you for that.
Dr. Ayomide: Thank you for having me and for this whole chat and all of the ideas. I will look through scratch. I feel like there’s so much that I can’t remember now. I noted a few things down but there’s a lot that I didn’t take notes on. There’s a lot I actually want to go back. It was fun.
- Ship 30for30
- How The #MeToo Movement Cheats Women from Essential Mentorship by Samantha Postman
- Best Advice My Doctor Gave When We Thought I Could Be Dying – Blog Post
- Roam Research
- Casey Li
About Dr. Ayomide Adebayo
I’m a Nigerian ex-pat in the UK, and I think and write about the dark side of being human, and how psychology, culture and faith shape us.
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