Crina and Kirsten Get to Work
Unbox Your Mom

Unbox Your Mom

September 11, 2020

While most moms will agree that since becoming a mom, they have honed their skills as negotiators, facilitators, creative problem-solvers (and in Crina’s case; triage nurses) they are frequently paid less, promoted less and treated as “less” than their counterparts who don’t have kids. Let’s stop putting moms in boxes and start rewarding them for being awesome at work!



Don’t be mean to moms - or really anyone!  This episode of Crina and Kirsten Get to Work is about the bias faced in the workplace against mothers, and by biological extension, all women (who are often assumed to be able and want to have children).  

Our hosts start off with the exploration of the word “mom.”  In many respects “mom” is an honorific, a sacred and respected title.  However, there are times when “mom” is derogatory and limiting - such as “mom” hair, or a “mom” car or “mom” clothes .  In fact, Crina and Kirsten think moms have GREAT hair!!  

The fundamental problem with mom bias is that it limits our experiences, defines our roles, names our place, confines us to expectations simply because we have children. It’s limiting and frustrating - a box too small.


One article notes:

 “The pervasive American assumption that mothers should be committed to their children without reservation, that children’s emotional health and academic achievement depend on their mothers being available to them 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Never mind the time a father, relative, friend, or trained caregiver spends with a child — it is a mother’s time that is critical and irreplaceable.” How to Recognize Bias Against Working Mothers

Given these societal expectations on moms, how do moms make it in the workplace?  Crina took both her boys to work until they could walk - and was promoted several times while doing so.  Kirsten also took her youngest to work as an infant, but worked very hard - and was successful - in keeping it a secret from her bosses.  Here’s the truth: Being a mom is an asset to professional growth, driving productivity, management skills and more. 

Researchers from the Center for Creative Leadership studied productivity of parents in the workplace, and found just what working mothers already know: “Raising a family helps develop skills such as negotiating, compromising, conflict resolution and multitasking.”  How Working Mothers Can Overcome Bias.  Unfortunately, the strengths are often not recognized and moms face compensation disparities, are less likely to be hired and promoted to jobs and are more likely to leave jobs.

There are lots of things our governments and communities can do - childcare, paid leave, support for caregivers, flex hours and the like, but there are also things that we, as moms, can do to push back against and mitigate this bias.

  • Overcommunicate your intentions, do not leave co-workers and supervisors to make conclusions based on bias against working moms - articulate your plans, particularly career goals - because those around you may assume you have none or will quit.
  • Let folks know when you are out of your office - otherwise they assume you are with your kids.  Telling your coworkers that you are visiting a client, at an appointment etc prevents another assumption about moms.  
  • If you are the boss, bring your children into the workplace, literally or figuratively.  You will make it more acceptable to integrate the reality of children with the reality that you (and other women) are a successful, kick butt worker!
  • Advocate for the changes that would make work and parenting more manageable.
  • And do not forget your legal rights:
    • Lactation breaks
    • Pregnancy accommodation
    • Caring for a seriously sick child
    • Using your sick leave to care for a sick child
    • Parental Leave

And here are some more good reads:

How Working Mothers Can Overcome Bias

Will Working Mothers Take Your Company to Court?

Working mothers face a ‘wall’ of bias—but there are ways to push back

What language does your body speak…to YOU?

What language does your body speak…to YOU?

August 28, 2020

Your body is constantly sending messages to your brain. The good news is that for the most part, you’re in control! Simple changes to your posture, your facial expression, even the way you’re standing can change how you feel! 


In this episode of Crina and Kirsten Get to Work, our twosome talks about using your body to hack your brain.  What you do with your body can affect your performance, your success - and get you more of that joy, meaning and ease we are looking for in our work. Who knew?!

As with most show topics, this show topic was inspired by a listener and her own struggle with her body’s response during public speaking.  Crina has listened to Amy Cuddy’s Ted Talk Your Body Language May Shape Who You Are - and suggested a few of Amy’s strategies on how you can use your body language to affect your own brain and body.  We often think about what our body language communicates to others, but this episode is about what your body language communicates to YOU!


Think power poses, think the runner crossing the finish line first and raising arms overhead, think the soccer player scoring a goal and arms thrust overhead and eyes to the sky - these are the poses of winners.  Many of these poses are associated with men and masculine traits, but it's time for us fabulous females to own some of that magic.  And this is a real thing - a field of science called embodied cognition.

Cuddy conducted an experiment where applicants were interviewed - and the situation was stressful because the interviewers were coached to show no reaction at all.  Half of the participants were instructed to do the power pose (arms outstretched and overhead) before the interview and half were instructed to wrap their arms around themselves and curl up.  These interviews were taped and when operservers watched the interviews and picked the successful candidates - the cast majority were the candidates who had performed the power pose.


There is some interesting work from Mat Boule in Montreal on how posture affects how you learn and perform.

What we do with our bodies can affect how we perform and how we experience our workplace.  Listen in for the extra special not-so-secret strategies on how to get your body to speak the language you need to hear.

And, of course, as always - interesting reads and listens:

Science Says These 11 Body Language Secrets Will Make You More Successful

Your body language may shape who you areccessful.html

Uncertainty: No Wonder You Feel Like Such a Train Wreck!

Uncertainty: No Wonder You Feel Like Such a Train Wreck!

August 14, 2020

When the future is unknown we tend to unravel, but is this the only option? While our brains are not trained to settle down in uncertain conditions, it is possible to survive and even thrive when life, and work, is up in the air.


Our hosts on Crina and Kirsten Get to Work do some metaphorical spelunking into our brains on uncertainty - and most importantly - what to do about it.  How can you have joy, meaning and ease in your work when you are experiencing uncertainty?  Crina and Kirsten will tell you how.

First, an exploration of our brains on uncertainty . . .

According to a 2014 study in the journal Nature Reviews Neuroscience, uncertainty disrupts many of the habitual and automatic mental processes that govern routine action. This disruption creates conflict in the brain, and this conflict can lead to a state of both hypervigilance and outsized emotional reactivity to negative experiences or information. In other words, uncertainty acts like rocket fuel for worry; it causes people to see threats everywhere they look, and at the same time it makes them more likely to react emotionally in response to those threats.  And that is no good when it comes to meaning, ease and joy!


And there is lots of uncertainty at work:

  • Meetings with no agenda
  • Meetings where you’re put on the spot
  • No regular check-ins with your supervisor or your team
  • Unclear expectations
  • No control of outcomes
  • Unsafe work environment
  • Being the “only”
  • No clear measurements of success
  • Arbitrary decision-making
  • Constantly shifting priorities

And or course our wonder women will not leave us holding the big ugly bag of uncertainty.  Crina’s “go to” response to uncertainty is to plan or plan not to plan and COVID has presented her with many opportunities to use her coping strategies for uncertainty.  Kirsten tends to rely on radical acceptance in the face of uncertainty - to accept what is  - or  - is not.

Here are some other strategies to deal with uncertainty:

  • Prepare for different possibilities (a riff on Crina’s planning).

  • Become a feeling observer.

  • Get confident about your coping and adapting skills.

  • Utilize stress reduction techniques preemptively.

  • Focus on what you can control.

  • Practice mindfulness.

  • Don’t expose yourself to too much news 
  • Choose as much as you can to be with people who are calm, authentic and optimistic


And as always - the good reads:

How to Cope With Uncertainty

Uncertainty and Anticipation in Anxiety

Why we're hardwired to hate uncertainty | Marc Lewis

Rituals: The Secret Sauce to Satisfaction

Rituals: The Secret Sauce to Satisfaction

July 31, 2020

Performing a ritual has been proven to suppress the anxiety response in the brain. Rituals also calm the mind, help us transition from one task to the next, bond people together and provide structure to otherwise chaotic days.




In this episode of Crina and Kirsten Get to Work, our hosts turn their attention to the importance of rituals - the secret sauce to satisfaction.


The world can be a crazy and chaotic place - and that is certainly true now with COVID and protests and politics and working from home (or not working at all), working outside of your home (back to COVID) plus all of the things that “normal” life presents.  Rituals can keep us grounded and connected.


Dr. Nick Hobson is a neuroscientist from the University of Toronto and founder of The Behaviorist, a behavioral and brain science consultancy, describes a ritual as:


  1. a ritual script - a “predefined sequence characterized by rigidity, formality and repetition.” 
  2. meaningful  - it must be “embedded in a larger system of symbolism and meaning.” 
  3. some irrationality associated with it, or “lack instrumental purpose.”


But don’t get stuck on the definition - focus on whether there is meaning in the repetitive action.


While we can have rituals that are just our own, rituals often involve other people.  Dr. Cristine H. Legare, associate professor of psychology at The University of Texas at Austin says, “[m]ost rituals are done in groups as collective practices. And there is always group buy-in. The amazing thing is that, unlike habits or routines, they have been shown in social psychology to improve everything—from making your food tastier to making you more motivated.”.


And here are some more benefits from rituals - rituals can regulate 

  1. emotions, 
  2. performance goal states, and
  3. social connection to others.

Rituals help us regulate strong emotions - think about a funeral.  They impose order in the chaos that is sometimes life - think renewing wedding vows.  Rituals can also be more everyday - think a family eating pizza and cozying up on a couch to watch a movie every Friday night to wind down from the week and reconnect.  

But our hosts are talking about WORK - so what about rituals at work??!!

Work rituals can express values and build connection and have been found to increase satisfaction and productivity.  Rituals at work should be as inclusive as possible to ensure everyone can take part. Key questions to ask: is this something that everyone can feel comfortable participating in? What is the impact on overall company culture? What happens if someone wants to opt-out?

Here are some ideas for workplace rituals:


When a new employee joins, how do you welcome and connect the new person:

Lunch out

At one company, each employee leaves something from their desk and the new employee has to find the owner and the story behind the object

DropBox, a company who values delight, dends each new employee the ingredients to make and decorate cupcakes

When an employee leaves, how do you send them off:

At AirBNB, the entire office forms a human tunnel of well-wishers for the departing employee to run through

How do you create connection during COVID:

A weekly Zoom meeting with an interesting question for everyone to answer - and no work topics

Send boxes of snacks and drinks for a Zoom happy hour


Whatever you do, it should be engaging, meaningful and regular - the data says it will make your workplace more productive and satisfying!


And interesting reading:

How Rituals at Work Boost Team Performance (An Investigative Report)| The Beautiful Blog

Using purposeful workplace rituals to build better teams - Bracket

How to Alienate Your Coworkers and Scar Your Employees for Life

How to Alienate Your Coworkers and Scar Your Employees for Life

July 20, 2020

Tons of humor and light-hearted commentary about the co-workers and bosses who make our lives miserable.


This show marks the one year anniversary of Crina and Kirsten Get to Work - and what a great and fun ride it has been!!  From KMRE Community Powered Radio to the Clubhouse, from Zoom and now from the barn - Crina and Kirsten Get to Work has been on the move and evolving.  Most important - thanks to our listeners - we appreciate you and what you contribute to your world and workplaces - and you ask great questions and make great comments.


Because it is our anniversary episode, we want to indulge ourselves and have a little fun calling out some folks who make our workplace miserable - and to laugh a bit and point some fingers - cuz every once in a while that feels good.  


Here are the co-workers who bug us . . . .


  • Co-workers who suck all of the joy out of the room and have nothing good to say or contribute
  • The know it all who uses information as an aggressive act in the workplace
  • Co-workers who form cliques and play favorites.
  • Co-workers who broker information and triangulate - and just anyone who uses communication as an offensive or defensive weapon.
  • Co-workers who don't accept responsibility and worse, throw others under the bus to avoid being wrong
  • Co-workers who take up your time without a good reason (and it is not fun)
  • Co-workers who do not know anything about the people they work with 


And here are the Covid complaints  . . .

  • Co-workers who cannot get there mute on (or off)
  • Co-workers who refuse to turn on their video
  • Co-workers who behave in a way that makes us think their screen is frozen - we want active listeners!

And just because we can, here is what bugs us about bosses . . .


  • Bosses who act like everything is urgent
  • Bosses who continually change strategies and direction
  • Bosses who keep communication vague
  • Bosses who are never wrong
  • Bosses who take credit for your work
  • Bosses who micromanage us.


And Crina offers some helpful tips to make sure you are not one of these people.

    • Carve out observational time to observe how you interact with others in the workplace
    • Put yourself into new environments to get feedback - if you do some volunteer work and run into the same issues you run into at work, it may be you
  • If the circumstances are right and the environment is safe - ask for feedback from your co-workers.
  • Understand your own triggers and what causes you to behave in ways that alienates your co-workers and scars them for life - :-)

Seriously, our listeners are perfect - and we hope you enjoy this episode with some light-hearted ribbing.

Women Celebrating Women

Women Celebrating Women

July 3, 2020

Celebrating and honoring women is one of the most effective ways to ensure that more of us step up and engage in our work and our lives. In fact studies show that efforts to call out women's contributions can have a profound impact on our willingness to lead and contribute.


Happy Fourth of July!  Not so fast . . .  July 4 is a complicated holiday for some Americans.  So our hosts decide to pole vault over the thicket of complicated feelings about the 4th and celebrate the contributions women of color have made to the amazing and beautiful quilt that is the American workplace.


This episode of Crina and Kirsten Get to Work is all about inspiration - and what we know from the research is that calling out, recognizing, acknowledging womens’ success in the workplace not only creates more willingness in the women acknowledged to take on bigger challenges, but does the same thing for the women around them.  So put on your jet pack, listener, you are on for a rocket fueled inspirational ride.


Dr. Mae Jemeson - the real life Buckaroo Bonzai, astronaut, physician, dancer and on a mission to send humans outside the solar system.  We can all learn from her life motto, “live deeply and look up.”


Fawn Sharp - Quinault Nation President and president of the North American Indian Congress.  Fawn is a leader among leaders who has used her leadership and the law to advance native people in the United States and to advocate for the protection of the land.


Dr. Alexa Canady - first black female neuroscientist, who made an incredible difference in the lives of the children she cared for - and she struggled with confidence at many points in her career.  She cites the mentors in her life for opening doors for her as a key to her success.


Rosalinda Guillen - farm worker organizer and head of the intentionally female-led organization, Community to Community. Rosalinda works for farm worker rights while she transforms our political relationships and our relationship to the land and the people who grow our food.


Janice Bryant Howroyd - owner of ActOne Group - a $3 billion dollar company located in 19 countries.  Her business philosophy came from her family of 13 - organization, respect and communication.


Yuri Kochiyama - interned in Arkansas after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, which she says was the beginning of her political awakening, she was influenced by Malcom X and spent her life working on civil rights issues.

Look at your story


What makes your life difficult?  Can you use it like Yuri Kochiyama?

Where is the opportunity in your life?  Maybe you can just look up and see it like Dr. Jemeson

Where do you have the opportunity to make change?  Maybe like Rosalinda Guilien, it is literally where you stand.

What is your contribution to work?


And enjoy this good stuff  . . .


Fawn Sharp, Newly Elected NCAI President, to Tap 'Strength and Braintrust All Across Indian Country'

Fawn Sharp World Ceres Talk: "Climate Impact on the Future of the Quinault Nation"               

Latina Lens: Rosalinda Guillen               

Rosalinda Guillen: Rainbow Coalition; United Farm Workers (UFW); LUPE; Community to Community Development (C2C) - Seattle Civil Rights and Labor History Project

Janice Bryant Howroyd -

So, You Just Lost Your Job…Now What?

So, You Just Lost Your Job…Now What?

June 18, 2020

Many of us are out of work and struggling to manage the very real, difficult reality of losing a job. Whether you were laid off, furloughed or are simply concerned about your job security, we want to help you manage the emotions, examine your situation and make a plan to move forward.


In this episode of Crina and Kirsten Get to Work, our fierce friends tackle losing your job - YIKES!  Some people lose their job because there is a pandemic, business closure or some other reason out of their control, others lose their job because the boss is a jerk or just plain wrong and some of us lose a job because our skill set is in some way not matched to the job.  

So what do you do when this happens?  First, throw an effective, but short pity party.  Second, get to work!

Reframing the situation is the first step - what opportunities are out there?  Kirsten’s sister was fired from a job over 20 years ago and as a result now runs a very successful and highly regarded veterinary hospital.  Now that’s a silver linin!.  Kirsten also has clients routinely tell they are in the end glad they were let go because they were MISERABLE!  Crina has experienced the same thing with people she has terminated.  There may be something good in losing a job - really!

Spend some time understanding what went wrong - and the only person you can control is yourself - so mine for gold there.  How did this happen?  Was it the pandemic?  If so, maybe that’s enough digging.  If not, how did you find yourself with no job - and while there will certainly be people you want to blame, you will make the next decision about a job.  What do you need to know about yourself to make the next decision about a job a great one?

Make a plan - do you need to talk with a lawyer to determine whether your termination was about the color of your skin, your gender, your age, disability or some other protected status? And get that unemployment application in! Do you want the same job or is it time for a new kind of job?  While you are deciding and once you have decided and are looking, keep your contacts warm, continue to educate yourself - look for ways to acquire new skills or training.

And most importantly, treat yourself well during this time - get sleep, exercise, stay in touch with friends and colleague and keep that incredible brain firing - doing this will help you ward off depression and getting stuck and move you 

And the interesting reads referenced in the episode:

CEO of Airbnb Taught Us an Extraordinary Lesson When He Fired 25% of His Company

What to Do When You Have Been Fired

The Employment Situation - April 2020

You Need More Vacations!!

You Need More Vacations!!

June 5, 2020

Taking a vacation is one of the most effective ways to improve your work, change your perspective and recharge your batteries. Now more than ever we encourage all of you to find ways to disconnect and focus on you.


This episode of Crina and Kirsten Get to Work is all about VACATIONS!!  Yeah!  Time off, a get away, a break, a grand adventure, slowing down or maybe speeding up - whatever you find restorative and enriching. This episode was taped before the pandemic, and while it did not feel timely to our hosts to release an episode on travel in the middle of stay at home proclamations and orders, given that some of that is easing and lots of listeners are telling us they need a change of scenery, it is time to discuss how good it is to create a vacation for yourself - and being closer to home can still be great.  

Before our hosts take off on the vacation topic, they consider the advantages of shorter, yet still meaningful breaks in your day.  Crina talks about her time with trees, and as usual, Kirsten has her head in a book called Stillness is the Key by Ryan Holiday, which discusses the benefits of space to your intellectual, physical and spiritual well-being.  

The data about vacations very clearly tells us that vacations increase productivity and satisfaction in the workplace.  In fact, studies show that even planning your vacation can lift your spirits.  And, just an additional 10 hours of vacation can improve performance according to a study by Ernst & Young.

Too many people let cost, pets, concern about work coverage, too much work, fear of being gone from work or home get in the way of what is an uplifting and rejuvenating experience, including the 52% of Americans who do not use all of their vacation.  WHAT??!!

Our host end this show with some tips about how to make getting out of and coming back to the workplace easier, a discussion about whether you work while you are on vacation (mostly no) and how to make the most of your time away.  So get out there and enjoy!

And now . . . . the fun reads.

5 reasons you need to take a vacation according to science.

Opinion | Relax! You'll Be More Productive

Why You Need to Take a Vacation (Even When You Can't Afford One)

What to Do With a Day off



May 22, 2020

We all feel anxious at work sometimes, and for some, these emotions impact performance, relationships with coworkers and the quality of their work. 


On this episode of Crina and Kirsten Get to Work our terrific twosome analyze anxiety in the workplace.

Anxiety is a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease about an imminent event or something with an uncertain outcome.  Anxiety can also be triggered after the fact, i.e. by a death, job loss.  Anxiety can express itself as feeling nervous, jittery, sick to your stomach, jumpy, tired, irritable, dry mouth, sweaty and having difficulty sleeping – these are all signs of anxiety.  And Crina explains that if you get sweaty, panty liners stuck to the inside of your jacket is an excellent solution.

And what causes it – what does not?!!  Deadlines, conflicts at work, managing people, unclear expectations, and of course - a pandemic.  Anxiety is prevalent among women at work. A study referenced in Mind Matters: Anxiety in the Workplace says 71% of women experience anxiety in the workplace. 

How do we manage it and how do we know when we need help?  Help may be just the thing if your anxiety interferes with your participation at work or in your life.  If you avoid experiences because of anxiety or feel as if your suffering is not reasonable, get help from a licensed therapist or counselor. 

Experts believe, in fact, that people may be hard-wired in the way they experience anxiety. Although scientists still don't precisely understand the interactions among genetic, environmental, psychological, and developmental factors, research suggests that high anxiety tends to run in families.

And of course there are real COVID reasons for anxiety both in and outside of the workplace - women are on the front lines in healthcare (80% are women) and in women in social services (83% are women)  according to Tina Tchen of Time’s Up - and there are real risks being on the frontlines.  Covid also presents loves of uncertainties for all of us - what will returning to work be like, is it safe, will I catch it, is the information I am seeing in the news accurate, will I get a job in what will likely be a competitive market?

So what do we do:

  • Work – people need meaningful work.
  • Talk with a Friend you Trust – it usually make us feel better
  • Be Organized and Prepare Yourself – when you are organized and prepared there is less to worry about
  • Educate yourself about Anxiety – it will help you learn whether you need help to manage
  • Ask for help – both inside and outside of work
  • Stay organized. Filing and clearing your desk and computer desktop may rank low on your priority list, but they can save you time in the long run and may prevent a crisis later.
  • Avoid toxic coworkers. Try to ignore negativity and gossip in your workplace.
  • Take breaks. A walk around the block or a few minutes of deep breathing can help clear your head.
  • Be Healthy - eat healthfully, get enough sleep, exercise regularly, and limit caffeine and alcohol. Try to keep your body and mind in shape.
  • Engage deeply in the here and now.


Check out these articles for more inf

Anxiety and Stress in the Workplace

Mind Matters: Anxiety in the Workplace

Mind Matters: Anxiety in the Workplace

Managing Stress and Anxiety


Working From Home: Who Knew It Would Be Like This?

Working From Home: Who Knew It Would Be Like This?

May 8, 2020

The pressure to do it all is nearly overwhelming and something has to give. We can't simply work harder and expect to get everything done, especially when we're juggling jobs, family, community AND our own needs.  


Crina and Kirsten tackle the hard truths of what it is really like to work from home in this episode of Crina and Kirsten Get to Work.  

First up – expectations.  There are expectations from all sides when it comes to working from home.  There are expectations from our bosses (even if you are your own boss), but that is not all that happens when we are at home – add expectations from ourselves, from our family, from our friends and those expectations that we see as “normal” on social media. 

Second up – pressure.  There is pressure to meet those expectations, to perform, produce, caretake, solve – and do to it all as gracefully as a Zen Buddhist monk, but sexy.  ARGHH. 

These are things many of us have struggled with for years and even decades – and one of the things the pandemic has exposed is the depth and breadth of those things that just don’t work.

We need to examine whether we’re holding on to expectations that have never really worked for us.   The experience of the pandemic has brought this to light in a way we had not seen before.  We need a paradigm shift – away from what does not work and to something that allows us to be whole humans rather than freaked out and frenetic.

Crina thought it would be wonderful to take virtual tour of a museum every week during the Stay at Home Order.  Kirsten envisioned on-line yoga and long walks.  And the reality - Crina is still in the same clothes she wore yesterday and Kirsten is hunkered down on the brown coach pounding away on her computer and talking with clients before the sun comes up and after it goes down – working harder than ever.  Crina and Kirsten share stories of friends and colleagues doing crazy $%&# to keep everything together for family, work and friends.  Take away – this does not work – probably not in the short term and definitely not in the long term – and maybe it never has worked for women.

Here is the solution – from the author and thought-leader Glennon Doyle – throw away the memo!  Recognize when the “memo” does not work for you.  Recognize when the expectations others have for you deplete you in a way that is unsustainable and sucks joy from your life. 

In the short term, the pandemic is not normal, and our reactions and responses are likely not normal either.  This is an opportunity to be more humane to ourselves and each other – and possibly address some of the long-term issues that we have been struggling with that the realities of working from home during a pandemic have shown us.

We have a chance to lower the bar, which does not mean we do not want excellence, but maybe good enough is good enough with most things – particularly when so much excellence means giving up your humanness.  Be kind to yourself, look at your patterns. Ask yourself if your behavior is the product of habit or is it full of intention?  And how does it serve you and your values? 

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