Sis, I've got a story to tell. There were thousands of dollars on the table, rent to pay, and lots of phone calls and texts in between. I mean I thought I'd found a perfect match: A mature, seasoned businessperson, a high achiever, and someone who seemingly had a good reputation. This was a win-win situation where we'd talk for hours, share stories, encourage one another, and nurture each other's interests. It was bliss, such a comforting place to finally be after dealing with the financial and emotional challenges of the pandemic.
Then suddenly the calls stopped. I could no longer reach this person by email, phone, or text, yet they were "following" my IG stories, liking LinkedIn posts, or actively tweeting. They weren't deceased or busy. Think I'm talking some raggedy fool I met on a dating site? Nah. I have a whole fiance, sis. This is a case of professional ghosting.
Image via Giphy
I was paid dust by someone I respected and had grown to admire and depend on. I had no reason to believe there was an issue. We'd worked together previously on multiple projects, all of which were completed and paid for.
Actually, this person commended me multiple times on my great work ethic, and offered several projects to me before the ghosting even happened. After a few weeks of silence, I even sent emails inquiring about their welfare—as I was truly concerned. The messages went unanswered. Voicemails. DMs. Nothing. So you can only imagine my utter surprise and disgust when I saw them all up in my social notifications a week or so later.
Listen, I'm not the only one who has dealt with this type of B.S. A recent study found that 77 percent of job seekers have been ghosted by a prospective employer during the pandemic, and 10 percent have reported that they've even been ghosted after a job offer was given.
'Professional Ghosting' Is Indeed a Thing
One subcontractor wrote about her experience early last year and described how it "played havoc with my financial planning, my emotional being, and workflow planning." Another leadership coach talked about how it negatively impacts professional credibility of the person doing the ghosting, adding that it's a "sign of someone who avoids conflict, can't communicate honestly, and perhaps doesn't understand how disrespectful it is." Another freelancer lamented about "the gut-wrenching uncertainty and maddening second-guessing" that's involved.
On the flip side, job candidates have been found to ghost employers and recruiters as well, either due to just not being interested anymore or not knowing how to properly communicate that they've decided to take another offer. This has even hit "crisis" levels during the pandemic, with candidates just going cold and quiet in the middle of the hiring process. But this story ain't about that.
Image via Giphy
The Gall of It All Is...
It's one thing to not get a response after follow-ups about an initial round of interviews for a job, or to hear nothing back after pitching yourself or your concept. There's a healthy understanding, on the part of job- or opportunity-seeker, that not every employer or professional has the time to send follow-up emails to the candidates who didn't make the cut or offer individual feedback on why. I also know that most recruiters and prospective employers aren't even legally obligated to follow up with a candidate or tell them their reasons for going in another direction. I get it.
But it's a whole other jar of stank, unprofessional, annoying pickles when you've gotten an offer or you're in good standing with moving forward toward landing an upcoming project only to be met with passive aggression, vague responses, or no response at all in reference to specific next steps. It's also a whole other thing when you knew the person, thought you had a good relationship with them, and they just cut you off with no explanation, .
It's even more infuriating when the "vetting" or planning process took weeks, if not months, so you'd already put in more hours of work to get ready for the multiple stages of that process and you might have even quit or turned down another opportunity in preparation for the one you thought you had in the bag.
Think about it like this: A doctor can charge people for no-shows. So can a hairstylist, therapist and others who offer quality services. When you ghost them, they see it as lost wages (because they could've given your spot to another paying client or patient in need), and it leads to a disruption of their schedules as well as their money flow.
So... what now?
For me, being professionally ghosted was devastating at the time, not simply for the potential money loss but the loss of respect and relationship with the person who ghosted me. Oftentimes, at least in my case, it's not all about the money. Cultivating relationships takes extensions of the heart and use of time that can never be replaced. I was initially very angry, then bitter, then sad, and I kept wondering what I could've done to cause the sudden cut-off. I mean, it's the lack of closure for me. Then the words of my Granny came to mind: "Silence is an answer."
Three things helped me cope and better prepare to avoid the recurrence of emotional trauma and negative financial impact in the future:
Image via Giphy
1. Stop taking it personal. It's them, not you.
I had remind myself of why I'm great at what I do and why they're in the wrong for ghosting. I also applied grace and thought back on times when I might have made some professional mistakes, been part of misunderstandings that just couldn't be explained at the time, or made questionable decisions related to work in the past. I then thought about the idea that maybe something was indeed going terribly wrong in that person's life and it might be causing them to embrace unhealthy communication and relationship-building habits. I prayed about it, gave it to God and let it go.
It was also helpful to talk to a trusted mentor in the industry to assess the situation and give me balanced, outside-looking-in advice. A huge part of overcoming situations like this is the self-reflection, because I really didn't have control over much else.
If you need to write down your feelings in a journal, block the person just to feel like you've taken your power back, talk to a loved one to get reminders that you're an amazing person, or seek a therapist to deal with your feelings of abandonment, frustration, or anger (yes, sis, it can be that serious), do that as well. Hey, they ghosted you, so this ain't got nothing to do with being petty or dramatic. It's about learning from it and turning a negative to a positive. Word to Biggie. (Just please, avoid harassing the person with more calls, messages, or emails, and definitely don't talk about the person to others. They no longer deserve any extra energy from you.)
2. Focus on other projects and ways to enrich yourself.
Just like when they say there are "other fish in the sea" when it comes to dating, the same goes for your career opportunities. When I was ghosted by this particular person, I had other clients, so I could focus a bit less on the ghosting than if I didn't. (While ghosting can strike a huge blow to the ego, I've always been one to get pretty nervous about putting all my eggs in one basket anyway, whether it's dating, applying for jobs, or working as a freelancer.)
Just remember that there are plenty of other companies or brands who would love to hire or work with you. Edit your LinkedIn page, get more engaged on the platform, and update the settings to reflect the opportunities you're looking for. Find other platforms where you can find a community of support in your industry as well. (There's an awesome list of other platforms here.) Apply for more jobs, and take charge of your journey to be successful.
If you're unemployed, create projects for yourself like building your professional website (or redesign the one you have), and research new ways to get leads on opportunities. Try volunteer work or building relationships via offering another service you love doing and are great at. Expand your network by attending virtual events, reconnecting with professionals you may have lost touch with during quarantine, joining a professional or mentor organization, or applying for jobs in a totally different sector where your skills might be an ideal fit. Being booked, busy, and blessed (or at least present, positive, and productive) is the best revenge.
Image via Giphy
3. Upgrade your vetting process for considering opportunities.
Sometimes we ignore signs that somebody is full of ish in business, just like we do while dating someone. In my case, this person had previously exhibited some pretty suspect behavior related to a previous person they had worked with. They'd insert comments about the other person's personal business during project-related calls with me, and they had a shaky payments and project acquisition process.
Sis, sometimes the signs are there that you might not be dealing with an ideal client or employer. For job seekers, doing a bit more research on a company before even agreeing to the interview can be helpful in avoiding a potential ghoster.
Look up their online reviews, try to connect with someone you know who has worked at the company (or with the particular brand), and find out as much as you can about whether they'd be a good fit for you before the first call—or round of calls—even happens. If you're still impressed and interested, you can peep more red flags during the first round like their urgency to get started with no plan or specifics, or their disrespect of your time when setting up meetings. (I often raise eyebrows on folk who either don't ask me when I'm available and just assume I'll be available whenever they are. Or how about those who don't really seem to be on point when it comes to knowing their own calendar and constantly feel the need to reschedule, for example.)
Ask more questions, get to know people a bit more, and try to build a discernment against BS. Maybe they're a bit overzealous, exhibit signs of stress or anxiety, or they just give you a bad feeling. Their brand or company could have even made the news due to financial problems, workplace scandal, or recent layoffs. Maybe their bare-bones website is a reflection of the type of experience they offer to potential clients or employees or the scarcity of resources. Oftentimes your gut isn't wrong about someone, whether you have proof of eminent danger or not.
You'd feel a lot less offended about a potential ghosting if, in the long run, the person or brand was not up to par in the first place, so exploring involvement wasn't really worth your time anyway.
The moral of the story is...
Nobody deserves to be professionally ghosted, and at the end of the day, it might even be an unavoidable part of life. Direct, specific and consistent communication are true indicators of great leadership, and these have been the main common factors among many of the awesome clients and brands I've been blessed to consistently work for or with.
I now operate the same on this as I have in the past while dating: Not to toot my own horn, but most men have never even had a chance to ghost me. I'd see the passive aggressive, suspect red flags super-early, and I'd kindly decline and delete. (I also approached dating with a deep sense of the fact that power is with me, not them. I do the choosing. But again, that's another story.)
I've always known that any man who wants me will make his intentions clear quite early, and he will almost immediately begin consistently communicating or taking actions to show he's serious. I look into his background and try to get to know people who know him, no matter how we met. (My fiance knew he wanted to marry me the first week we met. He's a Jamaican man who does not hold his tongue nor waste time. He also knew I thought he was crazy for even admitting that, and I reiterated that I had no plans of marrying for several years. He simply slowed his roll and showed, through consistent and deliberate action, that he was serious. Four years later, we're still together.) Any real boss operates the same way to tap into top talent, nurture relationships, and protect their reputation.
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Chief Mom Officer: 23 Quotes From Working Moms Finding Their Balance
The truth is, Black moms create magic every single day. Whether we're juggling motherhood with a busy 9-5, a thriving business, or staying at home to run a household, no day is short of amazing when you're managing life as a mommy. This Mother's Day, xoNecole is giving flowers to CMOs (Chief Mom Officers) in business who exemplify the strength it takes to balance work with motherhood.
We've commissioned these ladies, who are pillars in their respective industries, for tidbits of advice to get you through the best and worst days of mothering. Here, they share their "secret sauce" and advice for other moms trying to find their rhythm.
Emmelie De La Cruz, Chief Strategist at One Day CMO
"My mom friends and I all laugh and agree: Motherhood is the ghettoest thing you will ever do. It's beautiful and hard all at the same time, but one day you will wake up and feel like 'I got this' and you will get the hang of it. After 4 months, I finally felt like I found my footing to keep my kid and myself alive, but it took vulnerability to take off the cape and be honest about the areas that I didn't have it all together. The healing (physically and emotionally) truly does happen in community - whatever and whoever that looks like for you."
Alizè V. Garcia, Director Of Social & Community Impact at Nike
"I would tell a new mom or a prospective mother that they must give themselves grace, understand and remember there is no right way to do this thing and have fun! When I had my daughter three and a half years ago, I was petrified! I truly had no clue about what to do and how I was going to do it. But with time, my confidence grew and I realized quickly that I have all the tools I need to be the mother I want to be."
Nikki Osei-Barrett, Publicist + Co-Founder of The Momference
"There's no balance. I'm dropping sh*t everywhere! However, my secret sauce is pursuing interests and hobbies outside of what's required of me and finding time to workout. Stronger body equals = stronger mind."
Lauren Grove, Chief Experience Architect, The Grant Access, LLC
"I try to give myself grace. That’s my mantra for this phase of motherhood…grace. I won’t be able to get everything done. To have a spotless house. To not lose my cool after an exhausting day. Those things can’t happen all of the time. But I can take a deep breath and know tomorrow is another day and my blessings are more plentiful than my pitfalls."
Rachel Nicks, Founder & CEO of Birth Queen
"You have the answers within you. Don’t compare yourself to others. Curate your life to work for you. Ask for help."
Tanisha Colon-Bibb, Founder + CEO Rebelle Agency + Rebelle Management
"I know love doesn't pay bills but when I am overwhelmed with work or client demands I take a moment to play with my baby and be reminded of the love, energy, science, and Godliness that went into his birth. I am brightened by his smile and laugh. I remember I am someone's parent and not just a work horse. That at the end of the day everything will work out for the good of my sanity and the love within my life."
Christina Brown, Founder of LoveBrownSugar & BabyBrownSugar
"Learning your rhythm as a mom takes time and can be uncomfortable when you’re in a season of overwhelm. Constantly check in with yourself and assess what’s working and what’s not. Get the help you need without feeling guilty or ashamed of needing it."
Mecca Tartt, Executive Director of Startup Runway Foundation
"I want to be the best for myself, my husband, children and company. However, the reality is you can have it all but not at the same time. My secret sauce is outsourcing and realizing that it’s okay to have help in order for me to perform at the highest level."
Jen Hayes Lee, Head Of Marketing at The Bump (The Knot Worldwide)
"My secret sauce is being direct and honest with everyone around me about what I need to be successful in all of my various "jobs". Setting boundaries is one thing, but if you're the only one who knows they exist, your partners at home and on the job can't help you maintain them. I also talk to my kids like adults and let them know why mommy needs to go to this conference or get this massage...they need to build an appreciation for my needs too!"
Whitney Gayle-Benta, Chief Music Officer JKBX
"What helps me push through each day is the motivation to continue by thinking about my son. All my efforts, though exhausting, are to create a wonderful life for him."
Ezinne Okoro, Global Chief Inclusion, Equity, & Diversity Officer at Wunderman Thompson,
"The advice I received that I’ll pass on is, you will continue to figure it out and find your rhythm as your child grows into new stages. Trust your nurturing intuition, parent on your terms, and listen to your child."
Jovian Zayne, CEO of The OnPurpose Movement
"I live by the personal mantra: 'You can’t be your best self by yourself.' My life feels more balanced when I offer the help I can give and ask for the help I need. This might mean outsourcing housecleaning for my home, or hiring additional project management support for my business."
Simona Noce Wright, Co-Founder of District Motherhued and The Momference
"Each season of motherhood (depending on age, grade, workload) requires a different rhythm. With that said, be open to learning, to change, and understand that what worked for one season may not work the other...and that's okay."
Janaye Ingram, Director of Community Partner Programs and Engagement at Airbnb
"My daughter's smile and sweet spirit help me to feel gratitude when I'm overwhelmed. I want her to see a woman who doesn't quit when things get hard."
Codie Elaine Oliver, CEO & Founder of Black Love
"I try to listen to my body and simply take a break. With 3 kids and a business with 10+ team members, I often feel overwhelmed. I remind myself that I deserve grace for everything I'm juggling, I take a walk or have a snack or even head home to see my kids, and then I get back to whatever I need to get done."
Jewel Burks Solomon, Managing Partner at Collab Capital
"Get comfortable with the word ‘no’. Be very clear about your non-negotiables and communicate them to those around you."
Bridget Bogee, Marketing Lead At Meta
"Ask for help and always prioritize making time for you."
Julee Wilson, Executive Director at BeautyUnited and Beauty Editor-at-Large at Cosmopolitan
"Understand you can’t do it alone — and that’s ok. Relinquish the need to control everything. Create a village and lean on them."
Salwa Benyaich, Director Of Pricing and Planning at Premion
"Most days I really try to shut my computer off by 6 pm; there are always exceptions of course when it comes to big deals or larger projects but having this as a baseline allows me to be much more present with my kids. I love the fact that I can either help with homework or be the designated driver to at least one afterschool activity. Work can be draining but there is nothing more emotionally draining than when you feel as though you are missing out on moments with your kids."
Brooke Ellis, Head of Global Marketing & Product Launches at Amazon Music
My calendar, prayer, pilates class at Forma, a good playlist, and oatmilk lattes all help get me through any day.
Courtney Beauzile, Global Director of Client and Business Development at Shearman & Sterling
My husband is a partner who steps in when I just can’t. My mom and my MIL come through whenever and however I need. My kids have many uncles and aunts and they will lend an ear, go over homework, teach life lessons, be a presence or a prayer warrior depending on the day.
Robin Snipes, Chief of Staff at Meta
"Enjoy the time you have to yourself because once kids come those times will be few and far between."
Monique Bivens, CEO & Founder at Brazilian Babes LLC.
"For new moms, it is very important that you get back into a habit or routine of something you use to do before you were pregnant. Consider the actives and things that give you the most joy and make the time to do them."
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What Is 'Vaginal Laxity' And How Can You Effectively Treat It?
If you’re either not yet (roughly) in your 40s or you’ve never given birth to a child, let me just tell you that something that’s probably coming your way that you probably never gave much thought to is some form of vaginal laxity.
Although I’ve been able to avoid it until, eh, the last several months or so, now that it likes to show up and out on occasion, I have definitely made it my purpose and mission to figure out how to get it under some level of control — not because I take issue with aging (I don’t); it’s just that, sneezing too hard and feeling a drip or two has never been a part of my life, so why start now, chile.
Yeah, vaginal laxity isn’t really something that a lot of women are running to the water cooler to discuss. Oh, but believe you me, it is something that affects quite a few women (around 40 percent self-report it; others prefer to “suffer” in silence).
So, just so you won’t find yourself freakin’ out or feeling some form of shame or embarrassment should it even come knocking on your own door (uh, so to speak), let’s take out a few moments to discuss what vaginal laxity is and how you can (relatively) easily treat it — even from the comfort and convenience of your own home.
What Exactly Is Vaginal Laxity All About?Giphy
Even though we all pretty much use the word “vagina” to address our entire genitalia, that’s not actually what it is. Technically, your vagina is a tube that connects your vulva (the outer part of your vaginal region) to your cervix (the neck of your uterus). Your vagina is how penises can penetrate you, and vaginal births are able to transpire.
As far as the walls of your vagina go, they consist of muscular tissue, mucus membranes, fibrous material, and collagen. Your vagina also has pleats of tissue called vaginal rugae; this is what makes it easier for your vagina to expand, whether it’s during sex or when you’re delivering a baby.
As we age, the potency of our vaginal rugae weakens. That’s because we start to lose estrogen and collagen. And whether it’s due to aging or giving birth, sometimes our vaginal walls can become weaker as well; when that happens, it’s oftentimes referred to as vaginal laxity.
So, what are some of the telltale signs of vaginal laxity (beyond what I just said)? Good question:
- Urinary continence
- Less vaginal lubrication
- Pain/discomfort during intercourse
- Less sensation during intercourse
- More vaginal “air sounds” during sex and/or exercise (because your walls are a bit looser)
- A lower libido altogether
And what if you’re slowly yet surely seeing some of this popping up in your own life? My two cents are to not ignore it because, if it is indeed vaginal laxity, it’s not really something that will just…go away. You will need to book an appointment with your doctor to discuss with them what is going on so that they can test your hormone levels, do a vaginal exam, and (if you do have it) explore some treatable options with you.
Options like what? That is also a good question.
Why Do Some People Treat It with Vaginal Rejuvenation Surgical Procedures?Giphy
Okay, so here’s the deal — if you are indeed “diagnosed” (I put that in quotes because many medical professionals say that vaginal laxity isn’t the easiest thing in the world to actually diagnose), you will need to go through some form of vaginal rejuvenation whether it’s surgical, laser or opting for some DIY approaches. Let’s touch on some of the professional options first.
Vaginoplasty: Although this term is being associated more and more with transwomen, it originally was created to help women to reconstruct their vagina (again, the actual tube) if there was significant damage done following vaginal childbirth.
Laser Vaginal Rejuvenation: This is when lasers are used to strengthen the walls of your vagina. A popular one is FemTouch, although I recently read an article about how the FDA should really take a deeper look into this procedure due to the potential risks that come along with it (like burning your vagina due to the intensity of the laser frequencies).
RF (Radio Frequency) Treatment: This is a skin-tightening procedure that consists of heating up your vaginal walls in order for it to create more collagen, elastin, and skin cells.
Potential risks aside, from what I’ve researched, it was hard to nail down an exact price for any of these. What I can tell you is that you’re easily gonna need a couple of thousand dollars to get the kind of results that you are looking for — and that’s on the low end of things.
What Are Some At-Home Remedies for Vaginal Laxity?Giphy
Listen, I don’t know about y’all, but nothing in me likes the thought of clipping, potentially burning, or draining my bank account if I can at all avoid it. Thankfully, there are some things that you can try at home (at least first) that are safer, cheaper, and that many physicians say are just as effective.
Kegels. If there’s one word that you’ve probably heard a billion times at this point, it’s kegels. They are exercises that help to strengthen your pelvic floor walls, which can definitely help to reduce incontinence and, as a bonus, intensify your orgasms too.
Squats. Usually, when squats are brought up, it’s in the context of creating a rounder butt. However, your vaginal walls can benefit from them as well. That’s because by focusing on strengthening your legs and working out your hips, it tightens your pelvic floor at the same time. So clearly, squats are a win all the way around.
Yoga. Last month, we published the article “5 Postpartum Yoga Poses To Reengage Your Pelvic Floor That Are Better Than Kegels.” I’m thinking that is pretty self-explanatory, although I do believe that it should also go on record that yoga also helps to reduce stress — and since stress can jack up your hormone levels and that can result in vaginal dryness, well…yeah, yoga is definitely something that you should consider getting into if you want your vagina to be “tight and right.” A site by the name of Wellness Travel Diaries even did you a solid by publishing “15 Powerful Yoga On Youtube Classes With Black Teachers.” #givethanks
Phytoestrogens. If your doctor confirmed that your estrogen levels are steadily decreasing, while you can do some form of estrogen therapy (definitely speak with your physician first), there are also foods that are rich in estrogen; they’re called “phytoestrogens” because they are a plant-based form of estrogen. Some phytoestrogens include cashews, garlic, peaches, broccoli, dried fruit, berries, and red wine.
Vitamin C-Enriched Foods. Remember how I said that vaginal laxity can lead to less collagen too? Well, since vitamin C helps to stimulate collagen production, also consume foods that are filled with this particular nutrient. Some that top the list include bell peppers, tomatoes, cabbage, white potatoes, citrus fruits, parsley, and strawberries.
Less Sugar. It really is wild how delicious processed sugar is when intel just keeps on revealing how bad it is for our health (especially when not consumed in extreme moderation). As far as your vagina goes, not only does the bad bacteria in it like to feast on sugar (which can lead to a chronic yeast infection), but it also has the ability to weaken collagen fibers. Yep, that’s why a lot of people see premature fine lines and wrinkles; they’ve been eating too much sugar!
Weight Management. Weight puts added pressure on the body, and your pelvic area is certainly not exempt. One way to avoid doing this to yourself is exercising and staying at a healthy weight. Your vaginal walls will be so much stronger for it.
Plenty of water. Every part of your body needs plenty of fluids; that’s because your body is mostly made up of water (reportedly, somewhere around 60 percent). When it comes to your vagina, specifically, consuming water helps to flush out toxins, reduce dry and itchy vulvar skin and, it can help to keep the natural juices down their flowing so that a lack of lubrication isn’t as much of an issue.
Again, vaginal laxity isn’t something that gets us excited as far as getting older goes — yet now that you know more about it and how to handle it, hopefully, you’ll approach it with grace and ease. Hmph. I know I plan to.
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