Welcome back to Real Job Talk, Kat Kibben! Kat (pronouns they/them) is the founder of Three Ears Media, a speaker, advocate, and leader in the HR space around inclusivity and job descriptions. We're really pleased to have Kat join us for a second time on the podcast. (Check out their first appearance, Episode 38: Write a Resume that Gets Past the Screeners with Katrina Kibben)
Every week, Kat writes a letter with their thoughts from that week. They started writing their letters as a marketing exercise, but found the letters got more personal and they eventually evolved to being about... life. Those letters are now a collection of stories titled This Was All An Accident focusing on their year of living in a van and traveling around the United States.
According to Kat, the first step of accepting yourself is learning what it feels like to be happy. Kat started writing a list of what they were doing when they felt happy and then read the list every day and whenever they were feeling low.
We unpack the word “should” and redefining boundaries in a way that works for us. Can a CEO live in a van and work 4 days a week? How did Kat redefine their norms to adjust to van life? Scheduling in van life has to be flexible, and not only did Kat have to adjust their idea of what work looked like, but their team had to adjust and refine their set up.
Kat inspired Kat and John to take their own van trip. We discuss the planning of a van trip and how it’s a metaphor for life in that you can plan and plan, but you often run into and need things you don’t plan for. Both Kats learned that lesson in their van trips. Our lessons? Bring duct tape and an ax!
We dive into vulnerability. Kat felt most vulnerable when they learned that their estranged father was reading their book. They wrote it for teenagers and people who could use the lessons they’ve learned in their life. What they found was that it felt most vulnerable when they knew people who they know in their personal life were reading it. They’re more used to people they work with knowing more about them from their work.
Kat talks in their letters about hard things, but has very clear boundaries. Their rule is to not write about anything they aren’t certain about in their life. We talk more about boundaries and how they determine what to share and how to handle people who ask questions they aren’t ready to answer.
Lastly we talked about staying realistically positive without being toxic. Kat’s answer is to focus on now vs the huge picture so that life isn’t overwhelming.
One of Kat’s motivations is around helping kids, specifically queer and trans kids, feel comfortable and safe in their bodies. They mentor adults about being queer in the workplace and tell us some stories about how they help people live authentically.
Get Kat's book, This Was All An Accident: Letters and Life Lessons on Amazon
Kat's blog and personal site: katrinakibben.com