Managing Teams Empathetically with Dexter Arver

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About The Episode Transcript

In this episode, the host Rachel and co-host Felicia sit down with Dexter Arver, Senior Manager of Web Apps at VMware, to discuss his journey in managing people and leading teams. Dexter shares insights on implementing psychological safety, team values, and supporting direct reports who may have different ways of thinking and working. He also talks about his unique approach to interviewing for values fit and his involvement in inclusivity and ERG efforts at VMware. Dexter is a strong advocate for mental health and social justice, and he shares how he integrates these values into his day-to-day job. The conversation also touches on personal topics, such as self-care, core values, and sources of inspiration. Listeners will come away with practical tips for leading teams and building a more inclusive workplace culture.

Felicia Jadczak (00:00:08): Hi Rachel.

Rachel Murray (00:00:09): Hey Felicia.

Felicia Jadczak (00:00:11): I am so excited to be podcasting with you today and excited for today's episode. So before we get into it, how's it going in your little neck of the woods?

Rachel Murray (00:00:20): It's good. It's, you know, it's busy. It's what I like to refer to as 2020, version 3.4 when it turns into April. I'm trying to remember when this episode is gonna come out. So it's just continues to be wild. We are recording this, what about a week after Silicon Valley Bank like exploded and thankfully we do not bank with them, so we were just sort of watching from the outside

Felicia Jadczak (00:00:46): <Laugh>. I know, I feel like I will be very honest. It was great to not have to be worried about that. And I, my heart goes out to everyone who was impacted is still dealing with it. It's huge. It's a lot. I know that it's been very traumatic for a lot of people, but I also felt a little somo to be quite honest. <Laugh>. I was like, we were a startup in the day and how come we didn't have these issues? But again,

Rachel Murray (00:01:09): Not asking

Felicia Jadczak (00:01:10): The problems.

Rachel Murray (00:01:11): <Laugh>, what are you even saying right now? You are wild. What I'm hearing, what, here's what I'm hearing is that you enjoy the drama.

Felicia Jadczak (00:01:20): Oh, well I mean, I think you know this about me. I love some good GOs and some drama.

Rachel Murray (00:01:25): I'm happy from the outside. I don't need to be in it. I'm good.

Felicia Jadczak (00:01:29): No, I mean, but that's what I'm saying. I'm with you. But there was like a 1% of me that was like, I mean, I guess I'm okay with not having to be worried about

Rachel Murray (00:01:38): Dealing with over the wasn't, wasn't a global pandemic enough for you to stress out about?

Felicia Jadczak (00:01:43): I mean, see here's a difference and for those of you listening who don't know about this this about me. I love a good prep session and I am like here for some apocalyptic prepping <laugh>. And I'm not like a prepper capitalized as a lot of folks are who are wild out there. But I felt like with the pandemic especially, I was recalling, cuz you know, we just passed a three year anniversary of it. I felt like it was like my moment in the sense that I was like ready to go. I was like, bikes bandanas, like pantry provisions, stocking. Like I had spreadsheets, I had all this stuff ready to go Silicon Valley Bank. No one was prepped for that, you know? So, and again on the outside looking in, it was sort of like a ooh, didn't know that was, had to be on my bingo card. And you know, like, again, we were very lucky, but we also were like, Ooh, we got some financial realities we should also be thinking about. And it was not on my my to-do list.

Rachel Murray (00:02:39): That is true. That is true. And thankfully we are, we are good. So in fact, we are so good that we have some exciting news. We, and I didn't even say that as dramatically as I feel it.

Felicia Jadczak (00:02:51): Can you do a repeat? Let's roll that back. Yeah.

Rachel Murray (00:02:53): All right, go for it. We have some really exciting news. What

(00:02:57): <laugh>? We actually are having our very first in-person event in three years. In three years. Which for those of you who are newer to us, you may not know that that is our origins. Our origin story actually begins with events for the women in tech community in Boston. And I will clarify because it's women in tech and tech adjacent roles. And what that means is pretty much if you're working with a computer, you kind of probably want to go to one of our events and they were really popular and we left them and we had amazing community. And then the Pande, the pandemic happened and things shifted a lot. And so now cuz the pandemic's over. Just kidding. It's not. But you know, we gotta get back to things. So Aura of, but two fabulous companies, aura and Cyber Arc are sponsoring and it's going to be in the Seaport area. And if you get a chance it's gonna be April 26th. I'm actually flying from San Diego to be there for this 16. Yeah, because I, I wanna see all the people again.

Felicia Jadczak (00:04:00): I know. I'm excited. Definitely recognizing that pandemic is still here. We're being super careful about it. If you're in the Boston area, if you haven't already seen our our news about this, check it out. Check out all the details. Rachel and I will a hundred percent be crying and that's okay. <Laugh>, we're

Rachel Murray (00:04:16): Here for it and this event will sell out. We're already halfway at capacity and we launched it like yesterday, <laugh>. So

Felicia Jadczak (00:04:24): Even though we are recording this in the time machine, it's still, yes. It's still gonna be timely when you hear this, so.

Rachel Murray (00:04:29): Absolutely. Absolutely. And I also wanna thank another fabulous sponsor that just joined us, Comparion. And we'll be doing another event and this one will be virtual. So just, you don't, you can be anywhere. You can stay in your PJ's. That is fine. And it'll be all about women in sales because as we know, if you are in the sales space, it's really, really welcoming environment for women. Just kidding. What we know is that it's typically not. So we encourage you to come because I think it'll be really wonderful eye-opening experience and we're just big fans of comparing. I think they're, they're doing really good stuff and we're just so excited to get back into it.

Felicia Jadczak (00:05:08): We have more events coming up after that too, but we'll just, we're gonna stick with those right now. Yeah. Because we don't wanna overload you <laugh> just, you know, keep your focus in the next two months and then there'll be more to come but beyond excited to get back into this because it's been really a long time coming. The community aspect in general I feel has really been lacking for a lot of us. I know that many of us went from hanging out, networking, going out to restaurants, seeing people to just being in their homes all day every day. Or is that just me? But I am really excited to hang out with people in real life.

Rachel Murray (00:05:41): Same.

Felicia Jadczak (00:05:42): So with all that being said, let's get into what today's podcast episode is all about because this one was a fun one for me. Today our guest is Dexter Arbor, who is the senior manager of web apps at a company called VMware. And for those of you who are aware, we will get into this in the episode, but that's where I used to work before I left to start SGO with Rachel. And so Dexter was my colleague, my manager, still my friend. Really excited to have him on. We chatted about all sorts of stuff, including his career goals, his thoughts on management, career development, and a lot more. So hopefully you enjoy that.

Rachel Murray (00:06:18): I'm excited to hear more about it. And also I have a very aggressive Puring cat. So with a <laugh>. Without further ado,

Felicia Jadczak (00:06:33): Here today with our guest, our first guest of the season, at least first recorded guest of the season, Dexter Arbor, senior manager of web apps at VMware. Hi Dexter.

Dexter Arver (00:06:43): Hello

Felicia Jadczak (00:06:45): <Laugh>. Hello.

Rachel Murray (00:06:45): Hello. Why don't I say hello? See, just so you know, it's always gonna be like this cuz embrace Your Awkward is absolutely part of the pod. So, hi, I'm saying hi to Hi.

Felicia Jadczak (00:06:55): We all said hi. Great. So a little bit of context before we dive in. So this is Felicia speaking. Dexter and I have known each other for a really long time and we worked together like 50

Dexter Arver (00:07:06): Years.

Felicia Jadczak (00:07:07): 50 years. Cuz we're, we both are aging amazingly. Yeah,

Rachel Murray (00:07:10): You both are really? Yeah. <laugh>

Dexter Arver (00:07:12): Below my head. What's, what's what? You could not see I'm aging like beef jerky, but what you can see, not bad. <Laugh>. Oh

Felicia Jadczak (00:07:21): God, not bad. Not

Rachel Murray (00:07:22): Bad. Well, good. We're gonna put this on the YouTube and make it a video now.

Dexter Arver (00:07:26): <Laugh>.

Rachel Murray (00:07:26): Perfect.

Felicia Jadczak (00:07:27): Everyone's just gonna be real, real curious about what the camera would show if we panned down.

Dexter Arver (00:07:32): Yeah, exactly.

Felicia Jadczak (00:07:33): <Laugh>. But we, we worked together at VMware for my entire career there. Dexter was there before and is still there. And then at one point Dexter became my manager, which was a whole situation and amazing friend. It was great for him. It was amazing for him and for me, <laugh> and I still consider you a, a close friend. We, we still chat pretty regularly. Actually for I think like at least five years after I quit, we kept our <laugh> we kept our, our managerial one-on-one, although it became a friend one-on-one and I think it's only in the last like two years that we made it monthly versus every other week. But yeah.

Dexter Arver (00:08:11): Yeah, I feel like it was almost like a, a patient therapist situation for a while. It was, but yes. <Laugh>.

Rachel Murray (00:08:18): Yeah. And I, I will, I I'm aware of that. I understand that she needed therapy because I was her co ceo, so I appreciate you.

Felicia Jadczak (00:08:26): Oh, it was mostly about boys, don't they? It

Dexter Arver (00:08:28): It was mostly mostly about boys. It was not about you. No.

Rachel Murray (00:08:33): <Laugh> well not take it. Believe me. I'm actually a little relieved. <Laugh>.

Dexter Arver (00:08:37): Right.

Felicia Jadczak (00:08:39): But

Rachel Murray (00:08:40): I was her therapist in that way as well. A little bit. I

Felicia Jadczak (00:08:42): Have a therapist. Yeah.

Rachel Murray (00:08:44): Mostly just being like, stop texting that person. Don't, don't do it anymore.

Felicia Jadczak (00:08:50): <Laugh>.

Dexter Arver (00:08:52): There was that for sure. <Laugh>.

Felicia Jadczak (00:08:55): That's not why we're here today. <Laugh>. anyway, we can go down that pathway, but I do wanna, I wanna talk a bit about work first because that is, that is part of it and we, we'll have time hopefully to, to get into the personal stuff, but, oh, cool. <Laugh>. I will say part of what I've always appreciated about you, Dexter, is that we we're close friends. We have laughed a ton, we've gotten to a lot of shenanigans and I really value what you bring to your work, your values. I've learned a lot personally from you as well as professionally. So I'm really excited to have you here because I wanna talk more about your experience and your journey and get just some managerial stuff. So maybe you can just kick us off by talking a little bit about who you are, what you do, how you got to where you are, and what does senior manager of what Babs mean? Anything and everything.

Dexter Arver (00:09:41): Oh, okay. That's a lot. I'm not gonna remember all of that.

Felicia Jadczak (00:09:44): Just pick one thing and go from there.

Dexter Arver (00:09:46): <Laugh>. Okay. Well, wait, did I already do an intro? No, you already introduced me, right?

Felicia Jadczak (00:09:53): Just your title.

Dexter Arver (00:09:54): Oh, wait, okay. So yeah, my name is Dexter <laugh>. I've been working at VMware for 17 and a half years, and I have risen from the dregs of being a help desk person to a senior manager. I lead like a small web team currently. And yeah, I feel like I was like, I feel like I was like born for this. So I am very happy with the role that I have and I'm very grateful for like, the job I have and like the security that comes with it and everything like that.

Rachel Murray (00:10:29): Well, I wanna know, okay, that was a really big statement to say. Why do you, well that you feel like you were born for this Yes. Born to be senior manager of web apps at VMware <laugh>. So I wanna dig into that a little bit. And I also wanna understand, how did you get, so 17 years, I mean, you look very young, so I could be the, your first job out of college, but did you have any other roles? Were you always in tech? Did you transition into it? Like,

Dexter Arver (00:10:57): What was that? That's a great question. I worked during my college years at like a, at uc press actually helping with tech support and things like that. And then when I started at VMware, started in it Aztec support and then like a year into it, an opportunity opened up where someone needed a web developer, which I had been doing as a hobby. And then that's where I just like leaned into that nice and kind of became a web developer. And then after four years became a manager and then like went through like the, you know, a supervisor, senior supervisor, manager, and now senior manager. Nice. So slowly climbing up that ladder, but I'm pretty close to not wanting to climb much more. So Yeah.

Rachel Murray (00:11:40): <Laugh>. Yeah. Appreciate that. So why, why are you born for this role?

Dexter Arver (00:11:44): I think I have like a, I don't know if this is like a standard view of management then whatnot, but I see management as like parenting. I see very little difference between the two. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative> from like a, a big picture point of view. And I love being a parent and so it kind of works for me. <Laugh>, when you say I get a lot of enjoyment out of it.

Rachel Murray (00:12:04): When you say parent, do you mean like coaching almost like seeing them sort of grow and evolve mm-hmm. <Affirmative>? Yeah, absolutely. But not like giving them all the answers, but like, yeah,

Dexter Arver (00:12:14): Well, I mean, there's many different ways to parent or manage people, and so I don't think there's like a wrong answer. It's just the way I have come to manage people, which I've, you know, had many missed restarts. Felicia knows I'm not the best manager ever or perfect one at all times, but I'm pretty happy with the way I manage my people and I've gotten pretty good feedback from my people and so works for me.

Felicia Jadczak (00:12:40): Yeah, I can, I can jump in because what I've, I'm interested to get into further is talking a bit more about this because obviously I've, I've had a lot of experience on all sides of this table with you, Dexter, but mm-hmm <affirmative>. As someone who has been managed by you, what I really appreciated was that you go above and beyond for the people that you manage. So it really always, even if we didn't agree, which wasn't that often, but it did happen from time to time, I always knew that you had my best interest in heart and that was really important because that does not always happen or come across. So two questions I have for you. First is, was or was not I the most amazing person that you ever managed? I think we all know the answer to this, but <laugh>,

Dexter Arver (00:13:22): If you want it, if you want it in a podcast approved format. Yes.

Rachel Murray (00:13:26): Oh my goodness. And can I just say, I don't think Felicia has any, had anything to drink prior to this episode?

Felicia Jadczak (00:13:34): <Laugh> Rude <laugh>.

Rachel Murray (00:13:36): It was such a wild question. <Laugh>

Felicia Jadczak (00:13:40): <Laugh>. I just would like to say for the record, I did put this question in the pre-approved list of questions. It was a viewed by all and no one said anything, so

Dexter Arver (00:13:49): No, I have a lot of love loyal

Felicia Jadczak (00:13:51): Listeners.

Dexter Arver (00:13:52): I have a lot of love for Phylicia. I'll have no qualms in stating that she was one of the best people I've ever managed. You

Felicia Jadczak (00:13:58): Did tell me I was one of the best program managers that you met in your life. Yeah,

Dexter Arver (00:14:01): For sure. So you're on my Mount Rushmore of people than I believe.

Rachel Murray (00:14:04): Wow. I hope that none of your other employees, your team. Oh,

Dexter Arver (00:14:10): I have a lot of love for a lot of people. No worries.

Rachel Murray (00:14:12): Okay, well that's, how many people do you currently manage?

Dexter Arver (00:14:15): Only two at the moment. Oh, nice.

Rachel Murray (00:14:17): Actually. Nice. What was the most you've ever managed?

Dexter Arver (00:14:20): Six.

Rachel Murray (00:14:21): Yeah, that's a lot. What was your sweet spot?

Dexter Arver (00:14:24): That's a great question. I don't know, and I don't have a preference. Okay. Yeah, it just means like so if it's two, I get to do a lot of individual contributor work on the side, and if it's six, it just means I get to do far less of that and mm-hmm. <Affirmative>, I get enjoyment from growth, so it's like whatever. Nice,

Felicia Jadczak (00:14:39): Nice. Yeah, that's fair. What I, I'd like to go back to is, so in whether it's two or six or four or whoever many people, what I've always appreciated and what I know you, you do a lot of work with Dexter is you think about things like values, your personal values, as well as company values and then team values. Yep. You've done a lot of work around creating a sort of a safe space for folks to, to show up and to do their best work. And also we've talked a lot about how to support direct reports who don't think or work in the same way as you do. Yeah. So I was wondering you could maybe speak a little bit more to that, especially that last piece, because I know that's something that I've struggled with a lot as a manager working in and sort of getting into this space without formal training and trying to remember the good things that I had happened in the past. We've talked about how do you support someone who doesn't think like you or who doesn't show up the way that you would kind of seem to be obvious?

Dexter Arver (00:15:35): I think for me, it just goes back to, what's that called when you really don't think you deserve to have what you have? Like, you know what I mean? Like imposter syndrome. Yeah. So I have, I have that in speeds in all through all spectrums. And so I, I think I come to management from a view where I don't think I have the right answer. I don't think my way of working is gonna be successful for everybody anyways. And so I just have a lot of respect for the way the people that I manage, like how they wanna show up to work or how they wanna represent themselves, how they want to carry themselves, et cetera. And so when people have like a different way of doing things and a different value system, I just want to be very honest with them and just tell them, okay, so this is my value system and so this is how I'm going to see your work.

(00:16:31): This is the lens I'm gonna see the world and your work. And so I just wanna put it out there. It's really hard for me to change those values. And so this is what I expect. And I think if I state that from the get-go, I think it's pretty fair to everybody because everybody knows what's going on. And then from there, if they really, you know, if my value system really doesn't align with theirs, then like, I mean, I'm still gonna try my best to make sure I can see them and hear them and respect them for their work. But everybody kind of knows, well, I have a bias in this direction or through these values, et cetera. I think that though, I think my value system's, like, it's pretty like fair, especially in a corporate world. So it, it works pretty well. I haven't had anybody say it's like, oh, those value, the values that you have are like the worst Dexter. Like, I haven't heard that ever. So I think it works. All right.

Felicia Jadczak (00:17:23): Can you talk a little bit about your experience when, especially as someone who's done the job before, and I I think that's true for a lot of managers, right? Like, you get promoted and you've been doing the job already. Yeah. So how do you, how have you handled it when you know you could do the job better, but that's not your job?

Dexter Arver (00:17:39): I tell them that they're fired. No, I'm just kidding.

Speaker 4 (00:17:42): <Laugh>. <laugh>.

Dexter Arver (00:17:46): Nice. No, no, no, no. That's like the worst thing to do, <laugh>. No, I mean, you know, there's definitely situations with various people I've had. Not with Felicia though, sadly she hasn't had that experience, sadly where I have, I've had to tell them, Hey, you're not like performing up to, you know, what I expect from you, or like, things like that. But even in those situations, I just think of it like like what would an inspirational coach do in like a Disney movie? Do you know what I mean? Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>, like you wouldn't ever say, Hey, get outta here, you're like the worst player ever. And then like, create all this drama and like tears and everything. You kind of wanna like build them up, tell them your values, tell them exactly what you expect, and then set like little goals for them to like build them up and then hopefully they start hitting their stride and then you could, you know, you just like build them up from there. And so, yeah. You know, just like through small steps, through manageable expectations, I think is the way to do it when you have like disagreements and whatnot. Does that kind of make sense?

Rachel Murray (00:18:49): Yeah, that totally makes sense. Yeah, I know. And I think we think about that a lot too. And it's sometimes it's like, I think generations are shifting in the way that they approach the workplace. I feel, I feel really bad actually for like the Gen Z folks who are like graduating college during the pandemic and not necessarily having that office experience. Cuz I think it can change the dynamics a bit and the culture a bit. And I think that there's also an expectation, I think this, this probably started before the Gen Z workforce showed up, but this real desire for like greater transparency, a leaning more on like, if I'm being told that I'm not doing something right, maybe they're not respecting my way of working or my way of being in the world or my set of values, it's that like the golden rule versus the platinum rule. I, you know, I'm personally, I'm like Gen X, so I'm like, I just, you know, and fe is like Gen X by proxy, even though she's not, she's elder millennial. And like, I think we both have like, really this, like we just get stuff done kind of attitude. But then I think that you still show up where it's like maybe people aren't just doing the work, as you said, like in the way you want them to, and you can guide them. But what happens if they're like, well this is really not an alignment.

Dexter Arver (00:20:07): Hmm. I mean, but are they getting the work done?

Rachel Murray (00:20:10): Well, they may kick it back and say, I'm just throwing hypotheticals. I'm not sure what happens in your, in your situation if they're not getting the work done is like, maybe they're getting the work done, but it's like barely meeting expectations or like they misunderstood the assignment and then that's more on you as a manager. Or like, how does that, you know, or like Yeah. Giving the mixed signals

Dexter Arver (00:20:32): <Laugh>. Yeah. I mean having like clear communications and frequent check-ins is very important so that, you know, it's not a surprise to anybody on the work that gets delivered. Yeah. if it's, I mean for tiny scale projects or tasks, like that's harder to do. But for, you know, any medium size thing, you're, let's say you're meeting hopefully on like a weekly basis and when you have those check-ins, you know, as long as everyone's being honest which is why honesty is like one of the values I have cuz if you don't have that, it's hard to have trust all that whatnot. But if everyone's being honest, then it's really clear the trajectory everyone's on. And as long as you're having a clear communication channel and there's trust between you and your employee, there shouldn't be much surprises further along. And that's usually the, the, the main issue with a lot of bad managers, let's just say mm-hmm. Is because of the lack of communication or their absent or things like that mm-hmm. <Affirmative>, when the deliver gets delivered, there's surprises on both sides and then it, you're already too late. <Laugh>.

Rachel Murray (00:21:37): Such a good point. That's such a good point. And I'm so glad, thank you for mentioning one of your values. So what are your other values?

Dexter Arver (00:21:43): I used to have, it used to be four letters when I think I was managing Felicia, but now it's down a three just to make it, because three is just such a nice number. <Laugh>. Yeah.

Felicia Jadczak (00:21:54): My, my recollection is we started with three, we went to four. Oh yeah. But I, I like the three better because the three that we started off with when I was on your team where honesty, empathy and loyalty, Uhhuh, <affirmative> and we added a C and I don't remember what the C was. Compassion, compassion, compassion. But that ruined the acronym cuz I was all about the hell. So <laugh> and

Dexter Arver (00:22:16): It was,

Felicia Jadczak (00:22:17): Which doesn't

Dexter Arver (00:22:17): Go off the, it got reduced on a heck <laugh>. So honesty, efficiency, compassion.

Felicia Jadczak (00:22:25): Oh, efficiency. Not empathy. Yeah.

Rachel Murray (00:22:27): That's one of our values. Efficiency

Felicia Jadczak (00:22:29): <Laugh>. Wait, so, so talk more about that because what made you move from empathy to efficiency? Because we obviously love both of those things, but just curious or am I just remembering?

Dexter Arver (00:22:38): I mean, if you want, I could, I could relabel compassion as empathy and then it could be he, but then it's kind of too male eccentric, you know what I mean? I wanna be inclusive to everybody. So I think he's fine. He's fun to say <laugh>.

Rachel Murray (00:22:52): Yeah, you're right. Empathy and compassion. They're, they're, they're very similar. There's

Felicia Jadczak (00:22:56): Overlap

Dexter Arver (00:22:57): At least the way I think about compassion. Anyway.

Rachel Murray (00:22:59): I love that. Yeah.

Felicia Jadczak (00:23:01): But where did those come from originally? Cuz I know, you know, you've mentioned these are like, these are team values, but they really are obviously driven by you. And so was that something where you were like, Ooh, I had a bad experience so this is something that's important to me? Or was that from a more personal angle? Just curious. Cause I think a lot of managers, especially folks who are maybe newer to managing Yeah. Don't think about it this way. At least in my experience. And I think a lot of people either default to what the company values are or don't talk about it or think about it at all. Yeah. So I'm just curious how that sort of came about for you because VMware has corporate values that are also fine, but are not he or Helk or whatever we're calling.

Dexter Arver (00:23:39): No, it's, it doesn't it there's, I mean there's not, not everything aligns, but, you know, we make it work. No, I think I took, I think I learned it from management training at VMware. I think it was a class that Victoria, she had out to Victoria was teaching. And one of the things that she emphasized was that it's great to have personal values and to tell people about those values so that, you know, in a professional setting. And then I think I took that as like, oh okay. And I was like, what the heck are my values? I used the word heck there as like a little play on words, <laugh>, but it didn't start there <laugh>. And then I think I just looked at the types of relationships I had with people that I got the most satisfaction from and I tried to look at what worked well and what didn't. And I think that's how I started with the original values that I had. But like, you know, honesty was always in there just because really hard to build trust without honesty. And that's for both parties. Yeah. Being really honest with each other. And then I guess we started with empathy, but currently it's efficiency just because in a, in a work setting, if you're not efficient it's, it's, you know, we're gonna have con like difficult conversations, <laugh> and if you have ations it's hard to build that relationship up. <Laugh>,

Felicia Jadczak (00:24:57): We we're obviously also big fans of efficiency too.

Dexter Arver (00:25:02): I think you just have to be in a, in a capitalist environment, so Yeah. Yeah. So that's efficiency. And then if you do the first two things I think you can have a, a fine corporate environment, but for me, if you don't have compassion, it's just like, it's just really hard to connect at a deeper level. Because then everything is just about the work and it's not about the people. And if I've learned anything in my life, it's always about the people. So that's where compassion comes in.

Felicia Jadczak (00:25:30): Well I mean it's been, gosh, I don't know how many years since I left VMware and obviously I still remember that. So it definitely left an impression on me. So I think for whatever that's worth, well

Dexter Arver (00:25:38): Actually, can I ask you a question?

Felicia Jadczak (00:25:40): Yes, of course. Ooh,

Dexter Arver (00:25:41): If it less than impression, do you have a value system?

Felicia Jadczak (00:25:45): That is a great question. So

Rachel Murray (00:25:48): Are you asking her personally or the company?

Felicia Jadczak (00:25:50): I was about to ask the same question

Dexter Arver (00:25:51): Back <laugh>. Oh, either or whichever

Rachel Murray (00:25:54): Actually.

Felicia Jadczak (00:25:54): Well the company definitely has a value system. I will be honest. I don't think we have a good acronym for it unless you have one. Oh,

Dexter Arver (00:26:02): No, but no, but bad acronym ones are the best ones. Cause then,

Felicia Jadczak (00:26:06): You know, it wasn't I know, but I don't even think we have a bad one. Cause I honestly don't know if we could remember all the <laugh>. Oh my goodness is

Dexter Arver (00:26:14): So

Rachel Murray (00:26:14): Good. That's hilarious. No,

Felicia Jadczak (00:26:16): I'm being honest. I'm leaning into

Rachel Murray (00:26:17): It. Know, I actually really, I will help, I'll help you out. Felicia. I I actually love that because that that first of all, I love that you asked that. That's very nice. And I also love that you have honesty in there. Cuz I think that it's, it's you're right about all of it. And we, we worked a lot and we've, we worked a lot to figure out what our values are and we worked with our team to develop them and we're actually gonna be doing some more work to refine them because I don't think they can really be that static as you know, right, mm-hmm. <Affirmative> as someone has changed them from e to heck to health. Oh yeah. Whatever for sure. <Laugh>. But we chose five and yeah, this is not a good acronym there. So we have excellent. Is one of ours. And this is really, I mean this is like Felicia and mys just like way of being in the world very much mm-hmm. <Affirmative>. So we expect that from everyone from our company. Yeah. Curiosity. Yes. Efficiency, obviously we discussed curiosity, so I mean, we're always learning and there's always that, that learning aspect of being curious and relatedly having a growth mindset, which is very much that, and then really being intentional with the work that we do. So yeah,

Felicia Jadczak (00:27:32): That was the one that I couldn't remember the intentional, it's ok. Obviously not being very intentional on my part, but

Rachel Murray (00:27:37): No, it's okay. Yeah. I mean, yeah, go

Felicia Jadczak (00:27:40): Ahead. I think it's, but it's, I think it's, you know, not to excuse myself, but I think it does speak to the fact that they don't have to be ec static and they can evolve. And that's honestly why we want to revisit them because it's been a couple years and we've got a new team and, you know, things are different these days. But

Rachel Murray (00:27:56): And I wanna add honesty in there because I think that that is absolutely how we operate and how it, and it is so core to the, the needs for our workforce, so for sure. I love that.

Felicia Jadczak (00:28:07): Yeah. I, and I like the idea of having that as part of like the psychological safety aspect. Yes. Because you're right. Like if we can't be honest with each other, then we're not able to like get to the meat of it. Right. Yeah.

Rachel Murray (00:28:19): And honest with ourselves mm-hmm. <Affirmative> as well, which I think

Dexter Arver (00:28:23): It's so important. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative> so important.

Rachel Murray (00:28:24): Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>. Love that. Love that. Great question. We're gonna turn Dexter into the interviewer and then he can just ask us question. No, I'm kidding. <Laugh>. No,

Felicia Jadczak (00:28:33): I would, I'd be scared of whatever questions are gonna be asked, but we have, we have more questions on our end before we get to go

Rachel Murray (00:28:40): Down that road.

Felicia Jadczak (00:28:42): I wanna talk a little bit too about not just your, your existing team or folks you've managed in the past, but you've done a lot of interviewing and hiring as well. And I know that's also something that we have talked about in terms of what kinds of questions you ask people. And to tie it back to the values, like how do you interview for values fit?

Dexter Arver (00:29:00): I ask similar questions in different ways throughout the interview and I try to throw people off, off of the default answers that they're trying to give. And so I'll bounce between personal type of questions and professional type of questions. I'll bounce between super detailed types of questions, really broad questions, just so that nobody kind of gets into like a single mindset track of trying to answer things in a default way. And I, my whole goal is to throw people off so that they reveal themselves to me.

Felicia Jadczak (00:29:32): Can you give an example? Maybe?

Dexter Arver (00:29:34): So yeah, yeah. I'll go from like a really broad, Hey, what's your five year plan type of thing. And then I'll ask them, okay, what was like the single project that you're like the most proud of? And then they'll answer that. And then I'll go into, well, okay, in that project, how did you get that project? Who was your manager? Did you get any, if you were to do it again, what would you do differently? So I'll go like super specific and then I'll jump back into like a broad question or I'll add a, maybe I'll ask a technology question and things like that. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative> just like bounce between different things. Like I, I don't like an interview format as an interviewer where you first ask broad ones or team-based ones. Then the technology ones then like a, a future-based one or leadership-based one.

(00:30:19): I kind of like, like a randomized view of like the questions. So that nice. Again, you don't fall into that like mindset track of like, oh, I'm gonna try to be more honest than I am and, or you know what I'm that as an interviewee usually come in with like, with like a mindset of like, okay, or at least this is what I think. So maybe, I don't know, it's been a long time since I've interviewed <laugh>. So again, I've been at, at the same company for 17 years. So, but like the advice I give to my friends who are interviewing is try to leave the interview in a way where your interviewer knows one thing about you and it just really stands out so you become really associated on their minds with this one value. So you're either gonna be like a really smart, you're gonna come across or really honest or really experienced, like just one thing. And I want you to answer all your questions towards that value so that you stick out in their minds mm-hmm. <Affirmative>. And because I give that advice to my friends as an interviewer, I'm trying to throw people off <laugh>

Rachel Murray (00:31:22): Love

Dexter Arver (00:31:23): That because I want to see who they are beneath what they wanna really sh like, you know, beneath their nicest, nicest shoes or most polished suits or whatever they're wearing. So yeah, that's my strategy.

Rachel Murray (00:31:36): I have a related question. Have you ever hired wrong?

Dexter Arver (00:31:42): Oh, absolutely. I think hiring is like one of the hardest things because you're basically trying to get a sense of a person within like, you know, three to five hours mm-hmm. <Affirmative>. And for any human being, it's really easy to be somebody different for three to five hours because I do that all the time when I go to parties that I don't want to go to <laugh>, you know what I mean? I'm like so personable. I'm like, oh, hi, how are you doing <laugh>? I'm like such a fake person when these events. But then like I'm like most comfortable in my home reading a book. Yeah. Not, not speaking. And so I get it. And an interview process I think is just like that. So you, you know, it's just really hard. Yeah. But you know, if you ask good enough questions, there are, you know, you could, you could kind of get a sense of like a person and Yeah. So yeah. You just gotta try your best. Yeah.

Rachel Murray (00:32:33): Yeah. I appreciate you saying that. I agree. I think that hiring is one of the hardest parts of being a manager for sure. Outside of Yep. Fiery, which is also very hard. <Laugh> very difficult. And I know Felicia just delivered a, a fabulous webinar on the topic of layoffs. I don't know if you

Felicia Jadczak (00:32:49): Everybody's most favorite topic in the

Rachel Murray (00:32:51): World to fire people. <Laugh>. Oh, whoa. Compassionately using one of Dexter's values. Yeah. Compassion. I don't know if you can share a little bit about your thoughts around compassionate layoffs on your end, since it does seem to be a trend right now in the tech industry.

Dexter Arver (00:33:11): Can I tell you something? I have never had to lay anyone off.

Felicia Jadczak (00:33:15): Really?

Dexter Arver (00:33:16): Yeah.

Rachel Murray (00:33:17): Wow. That's kind of amazing.

Felicia Jadczak (00:33:18): 17 years.

Dexter Arver (00:33:19): Yeah.

Felicia Jadczak (00:33:21): Have you ever like managed someone out or encouraged

Dexter Arver (00:33:25): Them to shift teams? But this is before I was a manager, so I was forced to join this team of web developers. And it kind of didn't fit because I was working on internal tools using either PHP on Ruby and Rails, and those folks were using like Pearl and it was like, they're working on this like really like massive but really old archaic website. I joined the team and like scripting languages are close enough where you could kind of pick it up. And I realized that the three members of that team were like really not doing anything <laugh>. I mean, I would love to say they were trying their best, but they weren't, they were really taking advantage of the fact that the manager at the time that we all reported to, she was not a very techy person. And so they would say that they're working really hard and, you know, they're under deadlines.

(00:34:18): And then I would look at their code and I'd be like, yo, you wrote like 10 lines of code and not even like anything very interesting, like in two days. Like it just doesn't make sense. So I let her know what was going on and then she's like, well, I can't lay off three people on a team. Like, they're the only ones supporting that tool and we really need it. Who's the worst? And then I was like, well, this one dude is the worst offender. She's like, okay, can you tell me exactly what's going on so I could like report it to hr? I was like, okay. So then I had to like be like a technology sleuth in terms of like, okay, here's all the commits that he's code commits that he's, that he's published. Here's the changes that he's doing. Here's how I think it would've taken me this long of time, et cetera. I do that for like three months and then she switched us off to a different team and a brand new manager. So all that work I did didn't make any difference whatsoever.

Rachel Murray (00:35:13): Wow.

Dexter Arver (00:35:14): And then I got I got pretty disappointed in her and her final review for me. She rated me a three because I felt like I was overworked. And she said that somebody else complained to her that I was not super attentive in one meeting. So then she gave me a three out of a five scale instead of a four or five. I had a few other manager friends in the organization who stood up for me. They're like, Hey, are you sure Dexter's? Like, like he's doing a lot of work for that team. And she's like, yeah, but you can't be unprofessional like that in meetings, so gotta drop your score. And so damn. Yeah. Yeah. That was not a great time.

Rachel Murray (00:35:58): Not cool.

Dexter Arver (00:35:59): Things are better now.

Rachel Murray (00:36:00): <Laugh> <laugh>. I'm so sorry to make you go down that dark, dark rabbit hole.

Dexter Arver (00:36:08): Oh, no, no, that's, that's

Rachel Murray (00:36:09): Fine. Glad you're out of it now. Glad you're well. I'll switch gears a little bit. We'd love to hear about your work around inclusivity and the E R G efforts along with your, your being very vocal around mental health at VMware. Can you speak a little bit more about what that has entailed? Any challenges, lessons learned?

Dexter Arver (00:36:33): Oh, so much. I feel like because of my personal mental health issues, I have spoken up about it quite a bit. I remember once during a company we had this like, it's like a series of presentations in a format called Paka Cha Talks. It doesn't actually matter what the format is. But anyway, I gave a talk on myself and I talked about my mental health issues and one of my friends and she was really sweet and she's still a friend that I talked to. She was like, Hey, great talk, but like, I'm not sure if you should have talked about your mental health because I'm not sure if that's good for your career. And I was like, huh. Yeah, maybe cuz it was very scary at the time. But what I found in the last, I guess that was like seven years ago or something like that I was very vocal about it.

(00:37:19): I have not found any repercussions in sharing my mental health history which could be pretty dark at times. And I've actually talked more and more about it. And so I have given probably like half a dozen talks about mental health at VMware in like the last two years. Oh. And I ended up being the mental health chair. So I helped organize a bunch of more talks around mental health. I just think it's like really important, especially for me since I've experienced it. And like the feeling of being really isolated and alone and feeling very different from the norm is a terrible feeling. And I don't wish that on anybody. So the best I could do is, you know, help organize these talks, get real people talking to everybody else about it, get them comfortable and then hopefully it makes people, you know, just feel better.

Felicia Jadczak (00:38:06): Yeah. Thank you. And I think, I think I remember this talk Pacha, I'm curious what made you decide to, to do that topic in the first place? Because I think, I think I don't agree with the person who said that and I, I understand why she said that and I think it's probably something that a lot of other folks deal with, right? Mm-Hmm. <affirmative> where it's like, oh, I don't wanna share this piece of who I am because it might hurt me in some way or I might be viewed differently. And I, I think that's one of the great things about VMware. It's what I always really appreciated is I think there was space for that and there is space for that. Yeah. But I'm just curious like totally if what your thought process was when you initially decided to kind of share a bit more. Especially because at a large company like VMware, I think it's really easy to not have to share a lot of your personal stuff unless you really want to mm-hmm. <Affirmative>.

Dexter Arver (00:38:58): Oh no, I mean, it's still an option. Like, I mean, nobody forced me to do it. I just thought I could make a difference. I thought I could help somebody. I just thought a younger me, if I was in the audience, would've appreciated hearing that this person at the company who has a like a lot of connections is doing well also has mental health issues. And like, just knowing that would've helped me a lot. And so if you wanna see change in the world, you gotta do it first. Right? So that's just the way I

Rachel Murray (00:39:24): Thought about it. Aw, that's so compassionate. You really do live your values Dexter.

Dexter Arver (00:39:31): I try.

Rachel Murray (00:39:35): Have you seen a pretty big shift? I mean, I, I think the answer probably is yes, I would imagine. But I guess maybe how have those shifts shown up maybe in VMware if you're able to talk about it? Or just do you think in general in companies around talking about topics that maybe are a little bit more vulnerable and personal?

Dexter Arver (00:39:55): So while I up whore capitalism, I think one of the great things about it is a sense of competition among companies. And so I think once companies like, actually no, Facebook's a horrible one. Maybe Microsoft, I don't know. Some of these bigger companies started embracing mental health as like this as a competitive edge really to retain their employees. And so everybody kind of like started trying to one up each other. And because of that, I, I, I'm pretty sure that's where it came from cuz I don't think corporations would do it otherwise. People started talking about it and giving open space and not, you know, and judging people far less for mental health issues. And so once that cushion was there, I just felt like, oh, okay, if that's okay, like let's have talks, let's have real people talking about it. Let's have experts come in and give their advice for like coping mechanisms or how to deal with lots of anxiety or like talks about like like change with covid or things like that. And so it's been amazing I think cuz we have like a great community, at least at VMware. And yeah, it, I don't, it's just been really nice to see it grow and change over the years. Yeah. I think for the better.

Rachel Murray (00:41:04): Yeah, I agree. I think, yeah, and Covid definitely I think played a huge, it was one of the pluses was that it just made it very apparent that like, we are not okay so <laugh> so it's, it's, that has been the one silver lining.

Dexter Arver (00:41:20): Yeah, for sure.

Felicia Jadczak (00:41:21): So another thing I'd love to talk about is you do a lot of volunteering. It's something, I don't know if it was something that was really important to you before VMware, but I know VMware supports that too. But could you talk a bit more about like what you do, why you got into it, how you've integrated that maybe into even your day-to-day job? Anything and everything?

Dexter Arver (00:41:40): So I think it was like 10 years ago when I, no. Oh man. Oh man. I've been here a while. I think it was like 12 years ago when I was like, oh my God, I'm now reporting to a manager that actually thinks it's great to go volunteer and help other people. I would love to get paid to help other people. That's amazing. And so I think I organized like a few activities and one of them went well, I think we pulled fences so that deer wouldn't get hurt on public land. Rubbing up against barbed wire and then that went, went pretty well. And then I organized another one where we were pulling weed in like 90 to a hundred degree temperatures and that didn't go well. And so <laugh>, I kinda, I kind of quieted that down for a bit. And then I found out that VMware has this like awesome program where if you volunteer for 40 hours in a year, which is what they give an allowance for that they'll donate like a thousand dollars to a charity of your choice.

(00:42:35): I was like, are you kidding me? Like that's amazing. Wow. So then I just made it a personal goal to volunteer at least 40 hours. And then, you know, I, I helped out like local charities with like various like hobbies I have. So like photography or like the outdoors and things like that. And then during times of covid I was like, oh man, like I really can't get sick and don't want to. So I, I'm like, like a hermit and I get to embrace that and be indoors a lot. <Laugh>. so then I found out there's like virtual volunteering opportunities where you could just be at your desk and like help kids who have like career questions or I have another one where there is the issue with police being having mm. Issues talking to inner city youth. And so there's like a, there's a nonprofit that helps out with that based outta Massachusetts actually. And so I volunteer there with them. And then I think a year and a half ago my friend told me about how you could donate platelets instead of just blood. And then I was like, what, you can get a needle stuck in you every two weeks without doing drugs. And so that was definitely <laugh>, that was definitely something I was interested in. So I started doing that. You're so

Rachel Murray (00:43:51): Fun.

Dexter Arver (00:43:52): And so, you know,

Rachel Murray (00:43:53): Dexter, what's your blood type?

Dexter Arver (00:43:55): I'm not gonna make a racial joke, which I usually do with that question, but I am a plus

Rachel Murray (00:44:00): <Laugh> man and we did it <laugh>. Okay. We did it. We got there. 2023 is officially kicked off. Thanks Dexter. Is that one of the really rare ones?

Dexter Arver (00:44:18): Yeah, it's not very common.

Rachel Murray (00:44:20): Yeah, that's what I thought.

Dexter Arver (00:44:21): But because, because I'm donating a specific part of it, it actually doesn't matter that much. Cause like platelets Oh, interesting. Not the whole blood and sometimes plasma, but they want me there every two weeks, so That's amazing. I actually have to stop donating plasma because Yeah, like there's a limit. You hit, you can only donate the 24 times a year. Yeah. And so I was hitting that limit earlier, so they're like, we really need platelets. Stop donating plasma. I was like,

Rachel Murray (00:44:45): Slow, slow down, stick it in me. <Laugh>, slow your roll. I know I'm an O positive. So I keep getting these emails that are like, ah, NIS come because I'm the most basic, I'm the most common blood type <laugh> so

Dexter Arver (00:45:00): You can help the world. It's

Rachel Murray (00:45:01): Amazing. Yeah, I think it's like, well I can help a lot of people because a lot of people have the same blood type, but I'm not the universal, which I think is like,

Felicia Jadczak (00:45:09): Is that, oh,

Rachel Murray (00:45:10): Negative. It might be Oh, negative. No, negative. I don't know. There's people listening to this podcast that are like, come on, get it together. They're

Felicia Jadczak (00:45:16): Like, and you call yourselves women in stem, <laugh>

Rachel Murray (00:45:19): <Laugh>. But it's, that's, that's awesome. Dexter, that is so cool that you do all of that with your, with your free time. It speaks a lot to your character and your values, so I really appreciate that. Yeah. So I mean, let's, let's like, okay, let's do it. I know that you're, you're living your dream job, you're born to do this role, but like if you were to think about like what's next for future Dexter, what's there, what's big vision

Dexter Arver (00:45:45): C Can I, can I tell you guys something? So I took this wilderness first responder training mm-hmm. <Affirmative> last month

Rachel Murray (00:45:51): Mm-Hmm. <Affirmative>

Dexter Arver (00:45:52): Because I go outdoors a lot. Like I do a lot of hiking and a bunch of other stuff. And I came across a few situations where people really needed help and I did help them, but I was like, man, I really wanna like be at my best when people are in need. And so I was like, yeah's to go take this training. And when I took the training, the two instructors of the course were both former or current EMTs. I got really inspired by that. And so I was like, man, after I think my kids go off to college and I don't need money in like the way, like a corporate way, you know what I mean? I just need enough to survive. I don't, yeah. I don't need that much money. And so I was like, oh, I think I really want to like try being an E M T for a while. So I read two books about like being like an E M T and things like that. And I think, I think it's something I want to like at least try out for a bit. So, well I think that's like my next big like career change, although it's probably gonna be in 10 years, but,

Rachel Murray (00:46:50): Well, what's a fun fact is I know someone who is in your neck of the woods who actually is an E M T. So you just let me know when you're ready and I can make an introduction offline.

Dexter Arver (00:47:00): Oh

Rachel Murray (00:47:01): Lovely. Yeah,

Dexter Arver (00:47:01): That sounds super cool actually.

Rachel Murray (00:47:02): Yeah. Yeah, it's great. Yeah, it's

Felicia Jadczak (00:47:04): Great. That's awesome. Intro interview,

Rachel Murray (00:47:06): <Laugh> <laugh>,

Felicia Jadczak (00:47:09): Like you're back in college all over again.

Rachel Murray (00:47:11): Love it. Yeah.

Dexter Arver (00:47:13): <Laugh>. Yeah. And then that kind of like led me down the path of like, well, okay, so like what can I do before, like 10 years later? And then I was like, maybe I could be like a volunteer firefighter and then I have an issue. Like I'm just like born with this thing where I get heat exhaustion. Really? So I was like, probably not the best idea. <Laugh>

Rachel Murray (00:47:32): Smart, smart

Felicia Jadczak (00:47:34): May wanna stay away from that

Dexter Arver (00:47:37): <Laugh>. Yeah. I think I need be like run into the burning building and then pass out myself. So <laugh> probably not the best thing

Rachel Murray (00:47:42): Then we'll have to rescue you. But then,

Dexter Arver (00:47:45): Yeah, but then somebody in that course told me about search and rescue and I was like, that's a thing. Oh wait, that's a volunteer thing. And so I signed up for like the notification for this year for training. It starts in October. So I'm gonna try that out until like the whole like career switch to like e EMT or something more medical. Oh. So yeah, I think it's be cool.

Rachel Murray (00:48:09): I never even thought about that. I never even thought about search and rescue being a volunteer, but that totally makes sense.

Dexter Arver (00:48:16): Yeah, it's pretty wild though because once you go through like the training, you have to actually devote 14 hours every month for additional training. And you're on call basically twenty four seven according to all the documentation I read. Wow. and so you could get woken up in the middle of the night, be like, hey, there's like a hiker missing, let's say like halfway around the state of California. And if you're able come and go, you know, join our search team. And so to me it sounds super cool. Yeah. But, and you know, I'm, I'm sure how that works out with like being like a halftime parent and everything, but I don't know, I think I can manage. So

Rachel Murray (00:48:54): Oh yeah. I think that's what I'm thinking about. I'm excited for you. I'm excited for future Dexter.

Dexter Arver (00:49:00): Yeah. I think it's gonna be super cool.

Rachel Murray (00:49:01): I love it. <Laugh>. Well now we just have our quickfire rapid fire

Felicia Jadczak (00:49:07): Fun questions. All right. Okay. What do you geek out about

Dexter Arver (00:49:11): Outdoors?

Felicia Jadczak (00:49:12): <Laugh>.

Dexter Arver (00:49:13): Wait, how, how, how quick do we need to be

Felicia Jadczak (00:49:17): <Laugh>? Sorry, I'm laughing cause I thought Rachel was gonna jump in I ball and I was like, oh,

Rachel Murray (00:49:23): It was so fast. I didn't, it was that quick. It was double quick fire. Okay, I'll go next. Who or what inspires you?

Dexter Arver (00:49:31): My friends.

Felicia Jadczak (00:49:32): Favorite way to practice self-care.

Dexter Arver (00:49:35): Being outdoors.

Rachel Murray (00:49:36): What's the best advice you've ever received and who gave it to you?

Dexter Arver (00:49:39): Sarah Phil told me to not care so much and that's really helped with stress especially at work

Felicia Jadczak (00:49:46): <Laugh>. So, and in case anyone's like, who is Saraville? She is a person I don't actually know. She's still at VMware but a former college.

Dexter Arver (00:49:54): No, she left like a year and a half ago. Yeah. But she was my manager for a bit and I just remember one time I was really frustrated and she was like, Hey, just try not to care so much.

Rachel Murray (00:50:04): It's deep.

Felicia Jadczak (00:50:05): Okay. But don't think that's okay. Can we pause here on this quick fire situation? Yeah. Because <laugh>, I wanna dig into this a little further because do you think that's so counterintuitive to what we've just been talking about for the past hour? Like not to care when your values are Honesty, compassion, like isn't care involved in that?

Dexter Arver (00:50:23): No, I think it's, it's that I like I do it too much. I think I over care and so, I mean I think any, especially like quotes or these like pieces of advice, I think it really depends on the person. Like, and I think for me it hit home perfectly cuz I was like, yeah, I'm really stressing out because I'm caring too much when the other person doesn't care as much and doesn't need it. And so I'm just stressing myself out for like no reason really. And so, okay, that's fair. That advice works hard

Felicia Jadczak (00:50:54): For

Rachel Murray (00:50:54): Me. That's where intentionality, that's where intentionality become, comes in really handy cuz you're like, be intentional about how you're caring and how much you're caring and who you're caring for. Absolutely. I appreciate that. I appreciate that. But how

Felicia Jadczak (00:51:08): Do we get the other person to care more if that's a situation? Because I feel like run into

Dexter Arver (00:51:13): That. I can't control other people. I care

Felicia Jadczak (00:51:14): Too much. I want the other person to care too. <Laugh>,

Rachel Murray (00:51:18): Dexter's giving you some wise advice right now.

Felicia Jadczak (00:51:20): I control people. <Laugh>.

Dexter Arver (00:51:24): I'm just saying, you know, it's re it's really hard to control your own emotions. It's extremely difficult to try to control someone else. Yeah. And so best we could do is just, you know, control our own emotions and then yes, hopefully everybody can do that. And then we'll all get de-stressed.

Rachel Murray (00:51:40): Ah, it's so real. I will share on a personal note that that is definitely something that my lovely anxious husband has struggled with, where he will just like double down and like, I think moving to San Diego has actually helped a lot with just having a more chill attitude about everything. Cuz it was like he was investing so much emotion into, and I think this can apply actually to a lot of folks who are like working for a large companies and they're investing so much into it. Not to get to the whole quiet, quitting business, but I think, you know, putting so much love and attention and care into a universe that isn't giving it back to you. You know? So I, I appreciate that. And I'm sure there's other, there's other ways that applies also. It's like, you don't need to care how much your wife is spending on certain things.

Felicia Jadczak (00:52:31): <Laugh> don't care. We're fine. Are you,

Dexter Arver (00:52:35): Are you being super honest right now? <Laugh>?

Felicia Jadczak (00:52:37): I'm being

Rachel Murray (00:52:38): So honest right now. She

Felicia Jadczak (00:52:40): Doesn't need

Rachel Murray (00:52:40): To care how much I spend on things.

Felicia Jadczak (00:52:44): I mean, I agree. We're

Rachel Murray (00:52:45): Fine

Felicia Jadczak (00:52:46): And I don't, we're

Rachel Murray (00:52:48): Fine.

Felicia Jadczak (00:52:48): Don't the care that we were <laugh>, I'm

Rachel Murray (00:52:50): Just letting you,

Felicia Jadczak (00:52:51): That I was thinking about,

Rachel Murray (00:52:52): I'm just sharing <laugh>.

Felicia Jadczak (00:52:53): That's ok.

Rachel Murray (00:52:55): Okay. What are you reading right now? What's your favorite book or what's your favorite book? Either one or both. Up to you.

Dexter Arver (00:53:03): I'm currently listening to, I do like lots of audio books, the Tranny of Merit by Michael Sandell. Ooh. It's really good. I feel like he really does a great job in verbalizing what I've felt about our, our American culture and what's good and bad about it.

Rachel Murray (00:53:24): Yeah. So I'm, and it

Dexter Arver (00:53:25): Has a lot to do with Merit and meritocracy.

Rachel Murray (00:53:27): Oh, so good. Yeah. I'm looking at the, the, yeah, the Tyranny of Merit. What's become of the common good. Yeah. The subtitle, it looks great. That is going down my bookshelf. We will add it in the show notes. Great. Oh,

Felicia Jadczak (00:53:39): I know we're getting close to the end of our time, but this actually brings up something i I was thinking about, which is, I don't think we've actually mentioned it, but you are not from America originally. And so I'm curious no if that's something that you're thinking about when you're reading this book, for example, or if you even wanted to speak to that at all in terms of has that impacted anything that we've been talking about so far?

Dexter Arver (00:54:01): Okay, so I have to, I think I have to answer that in like a really securous way. So, okay, if somebody were to, to ask me, Hey what nationality are you? Why my default answer is American? And then if people go, no, no, no, like you don't look American, like what are you? Then I go, okay, Korean <laugh>. But being American is like my default answer, but I don't a hundred percent feel that way. Like I don't, I don't really feel like, man, how do I describe this? You know how when somebody asks you, Hey, where is your home? Mm-Hmm. <affirmative> and most people will, will answer in a geographical way. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>. So they'll say, oh it's the Bay Area. Oh it's San Diego. Or it's a certain city or a state et cetera. I don't really feel like I have a home in that aspect. Like the closest geographic thing I could give you is earth, not quite solar system <laugh>. And so when I like with this book and whatnot, it's more like, okay, so this is a club like America is a club that I've decided to join and get citizenship for. Is this like, first of all, is this, you know, what this person's saying? True. And for this one, I'm only quarter of the way through. So if he takes a hard u-turn <laugh> about this, you'll

Felicia Jadczak (00:55:16): Have to let us know and we'll update the show notes. Yeah,

Dexter Arver (00:55:18): For sure. But if he continues with his current premise like do I agree with it? Do I think it's honest? Do I think it's right? And then I yeah. Also think about, okay, if this is true, is this a club that I wanna be a part of? Mm-Hmm <affirmative> are these is America, does it have room for me? Does it have room for my values? Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>. And I think it does, it's not, you know, nothing is black and white. The cauldron that America is, there's just like so many different values and value systems mm-hmm. <Affirmative>. and so I mean that's like the amazing thing about it. But yeah, when I read a book like this and I do see the shift in the political spectrum in people's values and things like that, yeah. It makes me think, oh, okay, well in like 15 years or something when I'm not tethered to my kids and when I have total freedom, do I still wanna be here? Mm. And I'm not sure.

Rachel Murray (00:56:11): Mm.

Dexter Arver (00:56:11): Maybe.

Felicia Jadczak (00:56:12): Yeah.

Dexter Arver (00:56:13): Yeah,

Rachel Murray (00:56:13): Probably. Where else would you go? We have this discussion all the time because the thing is that America is special and it's great and very problematic. And then you about all the other countries and you know what, like barring maybe New Zealand pretty much everywhere else is, and I'm sure New Zealand's not perfect either. It's

Felicia Jadczak (00:56:30): Like Everywhere's got their issue,

Rachel Murray (00:56:31): No one's safe. Everywhere's got their, nowhere is safe.

Dexter Arver (00:56:34): Well, but I think it's more like the way I think about it, it's not just like good or bad, but it's just like a value system. So every country has their own value system and they're different in that way. And so what aligns best with your values, right? So that when you get there, hopefully in most things you'll just be happy because it's Oh yeah, this, this feels natural, this feels really easy. Yeah. But yeah, I don't know. I have no idea. I've only lived in two countries, so I'm not sure where I fit best, but the best I could do is like just read about it or talk to people about it and then see where it fits. So Love it.

Rachel Murray (00:57:10): I love that. Were, did you wanna ask any other of the rapid fire? Were you gonna wrap it up with this?

Felicia Jadczak (00:57:16): I think, I think we're good. I think

Rachel Murray (00:57:17): We're good.

Felicia Jadczak (00:57:18): Yeah. I guess we have like a minute or two left. So Dex or any questions for us <laugh>?

Dexter Arver (00:57:25): Hmm. Yeah, actually, so if you could go back five years, if you could go back and you see the five year younger Felicia and five year younger Rachel mm-hmm. <Affirmative>, what advice would you give? Like would you be like, girl's

Rachel Murray (00:57:40): So easy San Diego? No. Literally the, no, literally the opposite. Opposite would be moved to San Diego like five years earlier. Like,

Felicia Jadczak (00:57:47): But that would be like literally a year before you moved to San Diego.

Rachel Murray (00:57:50): No, five years. No, five years ago. Five years. I, it was 2017. I had to move in 2019 December, 2019.

Felicia Jadczak (00:58:00): I mean,

Rachel Murray (00:58:00): I'm

Felicia Jadczak (00:58:01): Just slice in Dyson. I'm just, my math was 20 2023 minus 5 20 18 <laugh>.

Rachel Murray (00:58:08): Hilarious. But

Felicia Jadczak (00:58:09): Anyway, anyhow. That's fair. I, yeah, I I think that would, that makes sense for, for five years younger. Rachel. I don't know because for five years younger than me, like I probably would say like save more money and take more vacation like <laugh>

Rachel Murray (00:58:24): Moisture more often. I

Felicia Jadczak (00:58:26): Feel good about my moisturizing, I will say. But yeah, I guess just like try not to stress probably, you know, something around stress levels cuz that's always a, a constant battle. Yeah.

Dexter Arver (00:58:36): So yeah, I think both of your answers have to deal with self-care. So I think it's, it's a really good answer for both

Rachel Murray (00:58:41): Of you. No, thanks Dexter. We're gonna have you be part of the interview crew.

Felicia Jadczak (00:58:46): <Laugh>,

Rachel Murray (00:58:46): I feel like that's where your heart is, is you just wanna ask other people questions.

Dexter Arver (00:58:51): Get that. I do. I actually am very uncomfortable being asked questions and so, but you did hope my answers came out okay. You

Rachel Murray (00:58:58): Did great. This whole thing is going, we're not cutting anything out <laugh>

Rachel Murray (00:59:05): None

Felicia Jadczak (00:59:05): Of it. We, but

Rachel Murray (00:59:06): Even the embarrassing stuff, we're gonna keep it all.

Dexter Arver (00:59:09): You're the experts <laugh>.

Rachel Murray (00:59:11): We're all

Felicia Jadczak (00:59:11): I'll say before we wrap I will say Dexter has been one of, if not the first listener to the SGO podcast. So I do feel like it's a little bit, a little bit of full circle, but if people wanna get in touch with you, do you want that? Do you have anything to plug, anything that you'd like to sort of wrap us out with?

Dexter Arver (00:59:31): I'm on Instagram, that's the only thing I'm on and so yeah, if anyone's interested, I'm on Instagram, but I would say if I could like spread like one me, like if I could have an alert message for like the planet Earth, I just wish everybody would love themselves more. And I think, and I think if that happened, like the world would just be a better place because that would, that would put so much like frustration and stress and anxiety, like away from everybody and I think that would be amazing.

Rachel Murray (01:00:01): Yeah. I feel like you belong in San Diego, Dexter. That's true.

Dexter Arver (01:00:06): <Laugh>

Rachel Murray (01:00:07): Southern California.

Dexter Arver (01:00:08): Is it a very San Diego thing to say? Yeah, it's

Rachel Murray (01:00:11): Very much <laugh>. Well thank you so much for your time and your wisdom and you know, for always being there for Felicia and just for being a part of the S g O universe, really appreciate you.

Dexter Arver (01:00:26): I have a lot of love for Felicia, so Yeah, no worries.

Rachel Murray (01:00:29): Same. Same. It's

Felicia Jadczak (01:00:30): Easy. Thank you so much.

Rachel Murray (01:00:35): Well that was fun and I hope that you had as much fun listening to it as we did recording it. Thank you so much for listening and please don't forget to rate, share, and subscribe. It makes a huge difference in the reach of this podcast and by extension this work. So make sure to turn in for our next episode in just two weeks.

Felicia Jadczak (01:00:55): And if you're looking to further your own knowledge and gain support alongside other incredible people, join us, join our free community. You will get a welcoming built-in support system that's grounded in our values and the values of diversity, equity, and inclusion. You'll have access to bonus episodes, additional resources, courses, webinars, coaching fun, gies, all the things. So you can check that out at shes or rise together dot she geeks Your preference.

Rachel Murray (01:01:26): Fabulous. See you.