Lessons from overcoming grief with Leslie Oquendo

Leslie Oquendo is an author and now works at Salesforce in business development - after spending 4+ years in talent acquisition and people/culture roles.

He joins us on the Gathering podcast to discuss how grief can be part of both the candidate job hunting process and the role which hiring teams play. Leslie's own journey through grief was prompted with the loss of his mother in 2021 - which prompted him to write “There’s Always Enough Love” an illustrated book that will appeal to all ages expressing reflections that helped Leslie's own inner child deal with loss.

Read the whole interview transcript

Writing, philosophy, and personal research.

Qasim Virjee 0:04 So for this the third episode of season two of the gathering podcast, we sat down with Lesley Oquendo, who is an author, he wrote a very interesting book. And this is unlocked seems like an appetite to keep writing for him. But he also works in business development, and has a history in, you know, talent, I guess. Martin Hauck 0:25 Yeah, started out in talent went to business development. But that's not what the podcast touched on, we spent. Admittedly, this was a not a fly by night, we planned to do the podcast, and we ended up talking about philosophy outside of the podcast arena. And then we just jumped into it and said, Hey, we've got 30 minutes, let's make the most of it. And I think because of that time crunch, yeah. It forced us into like a really interesting, I agree conversation. And in the conversation we had outside where he just, he was meeting you for the first time and he literally did his homework on you as an individual. And that's why that question came up. He's like, Oh, I scrolled all the way down your LinkedIn profile and saw that you studied comparative religion like

Social engineering, grief, and podcasting.

Qasim Virjee 1:08 in the last we were talking about Sean Tracy and and social engineering. There you go. Recruiters need to do that. They need to do the diligence on who they're going to talk to. You got to get to know them. Well, yeah. Martin Hauck 1:18 And and Leslie, share some of his tips on how to do that homework, as well as tackling the really tough subject of grief. Writing a book, which is incredible, and wish more people did and talked about. Absolutely. Qasim Virjee 1:35 So lots to look forward to and in this episode, listen to Leslie Oquendo 1:38 the people. Instead of evil people Oh, people in culture. Oh, yes. term for the devil. It's time for the gathering thoughts. Qasim Virjee 1:56 Okay, we're back. We're back. Here we go. Martin Hauck 1:58 At the gathering Podcast. I'm Martin hawk. Qasim Virjee 2:02 And I'm Kasim Ruchi. Welcome, and thanks for joining us at start. Well, thanks, man. Leslie Oquendo 2:06 I'm really humbled to be here with you guys. Martin Hauck 2:08 We're jumping in. Leslie Oquendo 2:12 Do it interrogation starts now. Martin Hauck 2:13 It's where's the microchip? I don't know. I don't know. There you go. Yeah. Yeah. Why didn't microchip come to mind? Because

Interrogation experiences and personal stories.

Leslie Oquendo 2:21 when I stepped into this room, it was just very intense. Like it was an interrogation room. Oh, because it's all black and all black, you have this big mass of light. And then my mind always goes towards like, where's the microchip? Like, slamming the table? Like, where is it? You Qasim Virjee 2:36 stole it? If I was being interrogated in a room like this, like if the police arrested me and brought me to this sort of place. I would talk for attendees about everything. Like I'm so comfortable. This is great. You have cappuccinos. Awesome, Leslie Oquendo 2:48 right? I wouldn't be mad at it very well branded, you know, aesthetic is great. Once Martin Hauck 2:53 the last time, you know, the that experience has been designed, right? Because the good cop bad cop routine exists. But have they iterated since the 1960s 1960s? Well, I Qasim Virjee 3:06 don't know. Luckily, you know, knock on wood. I have not been arrested or interrogated formally since I was 15. And on a trip with friends in Uganda, we got arrested. You got interrogated. But we corroborated our stories about our fake identities. And they let us go. Leslie Oquendo 3:25 And because we had microchip. Qasim Virjee 3:28 We were turning our car around in front of what turned out to be the head of the CIDs like, house. But we didn't know that we're just you know, down the wrong road. And we're changing direction and moving our cars and trying to get you know, to this restaurant for dinner. And suddenly, while we were turning the car around, we were surrounded by army guys with AK 40 sevens. And when we rolled down the windows, we heard and we were like, Oh, wow. So they said go inside. We went inside. We were like, Okay, guys, we're all students from Canada, right? So that's our story. We're just here we're turning our car on. And we're like, no story. We're just not lying. But we all had fake IDs, because we didn't want them to have our real phone numbers. Anyway, we were like, young in Africa. You need a fake ID. You can lose your REAL ID if they take it to bribe you or something. Do we knew what was going on? And we had President most of Annie's phone number. So in case we got real bad, we would call the president and get you know, out of there. But look, this podcast is not about me. What's Leslie Oquendo 4:28 really dropped right now I want to talk about myself. Yeah. If you just mentioned Oh, I have the president number. And the microchip. Martin Hauck 4:35 That's, that's a trailer. This is a short trailer. Qasim Virjee 4:39 Oh my god, but Martin Hauck 4:39 flipping the script. Sure. I think context is important. We just spent We're late for this podcast. We were supposed to start half an hour ago. But we were talking about life, the universe and everything else in terms of like spirituality. Kasim. You've got an interesting background. Lesley. You clock that because you're a recruiter and you do great research. urge to never you know, I think the most interesting thing about Lesley and we're not like crazy friends. We're like soon to be better friends, I think right? randomly met on LinkedIn. Yeah, reached out. We had coffee. And I was like Leslie's one of the coolest people I know. And from that, we're like, we should do a podcast. And that's why we're here. Amazing. But we only have so much time. So we're going to do like speed rounds.

Personal stories and perspectives in work and culture.

Qasim Virjee 5:28 Speed rounds. Let's do it. Rapid fire. Martin Hauck 5:31 First question. Hit me. Owl tattoo. Yeah. Leslie Oquendo 5:34 Oh, okay. I'll tattoo. Yes. So I got this mid 20s. And it was to represent wisdom. You know, I think that there are moments in our lives where we get older, you know, we get the gut punches, but we don't take the time to reflect and actually understand what the lesson was. So there were a lot of lessons up until that point that I was like, You know what, let's just like put it on a forearm and mix it in with some sunflowers, just kind of, you know, always remind myself about positivity and lightness. I think we Paul has a quote where he mentions that, you know, you can be negative but positivity will always get you success no matter what. So it was just kind of this one driver for me where it was like, okay, just like, have a good attitude, keep things moving. And things will line up when they need to love Qasim Virjee 6:26 it. I love that that's tattooed on your arm or remind you of this was powerful. Thank you. Martin Hauck 6:31 I took a more negative route. When I just went, you only got one life left Qasim Virjee 6:37 lives remaining zero, so on your negative Leslie Oquendo 6:40 because I remember when you post it on LinkedIn, I found that to be really insightful, because the whole premise of it was like, go out, because you got one life. Go go do your thing. And like, don't hold back on it. And I remember like when Mark and I were having that breakfast in the East End, it was the idea that if you're not can I say like, I think the island workouts case we're here Qasim Virjee 7:03 because we don't discriminate. Okay. You won't get reported to HR. Okay, but Well, you had Leslie Oquendo 7:09 the President's number, so I'm good. Right, if any what happened? I Qasim Virjee 7:12 think he's still the president. I don't have the number anymore. But Leslie Oquendo 7:15 go for it with the pizza pizza number. If you're not shitting your pants, you're not living big enough. We chatted about this. Remember when he said that to you? Yeah. And like, it's so true. Like, we're in a room here of people who have, like, who are living really big lives and it's scary and risky and messy and all of it. But like, I'm sure we all have a moment to reflect on it. You know, we wouldn't have any other way. Yeah, man. Qasim Virjee 7:41 It's true. eat papaya. wear white pants. Go forth into life. Martin Hauck 7:46 Why? Why not eat papaya? I missed them. Am Qasim Virjee 7:48 I helps you, you know. Martin Hauck 7:49 Okay, yeah. Is Qasim Virjee 7:51 this diarrhea? Oh, well, maybe too much via constipated eating papaya. Is Leslie Oquendo 8:00 not like kids mostly learn with dropping the mic to me. So Qasim Virjee 8:06 yes, sir. More fling. Right. Yeah. Right. All right. But yeah, go forth and conquer. Absolutely. Martin Hauck 8:13 Next question. You speed round it. Cool. Okay, Qasim Virjee 8:17 so obviously, this is a podcast, I don't know how obvious this is. But Martin hopefully invited you with context. So gathering is a podcast, aimed at kind of like unveiling some personal stories, but also perspective from people that are, you know, engaged in the work life, in people in culture, HR, these sorts of roles, bringing people together and trying to like motivate them and, and help make them enjoy or enable them to enjoy their work lives. So in a quick spin, give us your story. workwise my

Recruitment process and building relationships.

Leslie Oquendo 8:50 story workwise. Okay, so I went to work right after high school. Well, I did not go to university or college, coming from an Asian family and an only child, I must have been tough. It was really tough. And my mom had her first stroke. And when that happens, because we lost a source of income, I went straight to work. So I worked through hospitality and different organizations, I worked at Loblaws, you name it. And I found my way at a hospitality startup company, where basically I was a shift supervisor. And then the owner saw me with customers and was like, hey, like, you're really engaging, I'd love to see if you want to hire for for, you know, for the company. And that's where I kind of like got my recruitment start and then built that for and that leveraged me to different tech organizations. And that's kind of where I am today. Qasim Virjee 9:36 See, this is so interesting, because like we hear this often on this podcast that a lot of people path into a formal role in an organization in HR, anything to do with people is that their people write ergo the name of your organic groups. It's about people, people. It's about being good with people and joining their stories and being able to support their stories continue right Um, tech, DOD, DOD, DOD. So which what like what what are some examples of companies that are like tech companies that you have worked out? Well, where are you working now? Leslie Oquendo 10:10 Yeah, so foodora Canada, okay, was my first like, foray into tech nice? Qasim Virjee 10:16 How did that feel to be, you know, managing people or working with people when you started? Huh? Leslie Oquendo 10:24 That's a great question humbled. Qasim Virjee 10:25 Did you have to, like learn a lot in terms of absolutely, yeah, Leslie Oquendo 10:29 it is a tightly run ship. Like, it's amazing to understand the processes and how they operate the recruitment cycle. So I think that, for me, it was balancing, okay, you know, the the corporate side, but then also maintaining what makes you you, right, right. And what makes you a really great recruiter. And I remember from, like, different experiences in my past life talking with Martin. You know, it was the idea of going through that LinkedIn, right, go through their profiles, seeing them as a human being, and understand ways that you can have those small little moments. There's so much stickier, right when you're talking about your background or schooling, talking about religion talking about that you could speak Swahili and you've come from Nairobi. Like it's things like that, where it's like, well, the Qasim Virjee 11:16 record my Swahili is terrible. I mean, I do a Keto go keto. Leslie Oquendo 11:22 I was gonna I was gonna greet you with jumbo, but I wasn't sure if that was like, Jumbo. Cool. Qasim Virjee 11:26 It was cool. It's not like super hip, but it's cool. It's real. Yeah. It's like saying hello, right. Yeah, but do people say hello? So Leslie Oquendo 11:35 I said, Jim, I would have been like, alright, Grandpa, why a cooler way. Qasim Virjee 11:39 And I again, I sound like an old man to some of the audience, perhaps, but like would be like, you could say like, a mumbles become cooler. Or you could say like, semma. Like, what's up? Like, see something? That's what it literally means? Oh, semis, like, speak. Oh, Leslie Oquendo 11:53 sure. Sounds like Scarborough. roentgen Yeah. Saimaa Qasim Virjee 11:56 cinema. Okay. All right. Leslie Oquendo 11:58 But yeah, so when you have moments where you can find that stickiness, like that is where I really came into my own when I was a recruiter in that people space. Because again, like, people need to remember that in recruitment, it's a terrifying process, like you're taking somebody, especially if they're like, from another country, like, I was doing a lot of work with the states, right? So you're now reaching out to someone from Toronto, and you're getting this message on LinkedIn, from someone in Toronto, you're in Alabama, how do you bridge that gap? How do you trust that person? And from eight to close? You know, what I'm saying? And feel respected, feel like you actually want to work here. Because when you go over it, like it really is such a wild story with recruitment. You know, you're telling them hey, like, I recognize that, you know, you're working here, but like, what do you actually want to do? What energizes you? And they say, this, this, this, I might have a role for you that could work out. Right? If you're interested, let's get conversations going. And the entire time you're managing that relationship? Qasim Virjee 13:02 It's a very loaded experience, I imagine. What do you find is the receptiveness people have to the opportunities that you present? If they are cold, like that, like are people generally like, Man, this emotion? This guy's trying to steal my money? Or are they like, fantastic, that sounds so exciting, really, me, me, you can give me an opportunity. Leslie Oquendo 13:27 everything in between? And I think that it was important for me to have detachment in that. Right. It was understanding, okay, I have this opportunity for you. If you're interested. Amazing. If you're not, that's okay, too. Right. You can always come back, keep things open. It was then when you started to come into a place of pushing us where you're like, oh, like, trust me, like, this is amazing for you. Trust me, trust me. It's like get on the pickup truck and right. Gonna be at the corner at 91. I'm saying I have the President's number. We're good. Like, it's when you start coming from that perspective, is when it becomes like, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa. Like you don't know my life. You don't know what I want. You don't know my career, you don't know, the family I'm supporting. So a lot of it is just coming from a place of what's important to you, what energizes you? And how can I connect you with something that can possibly be be interesting. So

Recruiting strategies and techniques.

Martin Hauck 14:23 this is one of your superpowers, and that's what I noticed when we first chatted in person was just the ability to disarm the the barrier between people so quickly. That was the superpower that you had have. Qasim Virjee 14:46 With this podcast, it's Martin Hauck 14:48 written a book jumped the gun with recruiting, right? I'm trying to salvage it. It's not working, but in terms of like, you could teach a master class and recruiting and I would attend And you might be humble about it. But for anyone that wants to start seeing the world from your lens and operating at the level that you do from a recruitment perspective, or a sales perspective, and there's an interesting story there that we won't go down today, maybe later, Qasim Virjee 15:18 ask a question, man. I'm taking how do you how do you know because I'm gonna get, I'm gonna get a little Martin Hauck 15:26 I'm a little kid. All right, cool. So how, what are the things that like anyone can start doing that you do to get as good as you and maybe you don't want to share your secret sauce here. But what what is it? Leslie Oquendo 15:41 A question, I think you need to take a moment and go through all the times that you have been an inter, you have been a candidate, and understand what went wrong there and how you felt? Right. So when you've been ghosted, before by a recruiter, right, taking the time to understand, Oh, like that really hurt? How can I now as a recruiter, make sure that doesn't happen? Right? How do I work with my hiring manager, and manufacture this entire relationship, to ensure that it reflects what we want it to reflect? Like, there were moments where I would talk to my hiring manager, and then I would have a chat with the candidate, I learned all these way things that build rapport. And I put that as notes for my hiring manager, say, hey, they're interested in this, this, this or this next level? And they like this is this and then they can now sort of, like, okay, like, do you want to use this to warm up the conversation, we talked the candidate, and now you're already keeping this like, energy from the beginning, and carrying it all the way down. And then lastly, when I whenever did my, as recent as well, too, I definitely, that definitely came from learning more. But when I did rejections, it would be on video call. Yeah, not a phone call. And it would be like, I respect you so much. I've been there before, I'm getting you on a video call. Because I want to see your face, I want you to see my face and hide behind anything. Unfortunately, you're not moving forward. And here's why. Martin Hauck 17:03 What level now this is me digging into the weeds here big like phone screen. After like the first interview with a company, you're jumping on a video call for the 40 people or 30 people that you've spoken to for a role. Leslie Oquendo 17:19 Quick question. So in my career, it's been, it's been the mix between the phone call and the video call, I will always try for the video call. Because a lot of like, like body language, body language is such a huge thing. And especially if you're going to be client facing, you're going to be on camera anyways. And also, part of my superpower is is seen, you're not going to see my smiled white hold myself, all these things that go on behind it. So that also goes down to finding the right talent to make sure that you are sourcing that this person is like on paper or by resume can do the job. And then you get onto the call and then you have the conversation now say okay, now will they be moved forward? Right? Martin Hauck 18:06 The biggest thing I think in recruiting that people don't realize until they get into it is 99% of the people you talk to you're not giving good news to ultimately. Yeah, Qasim Virjee 18:18 I mean, exactly. You only have certain amount of roles to fill. And there may be great people that you're talking to as well that you want to hire. Mm

Grief, loss, and attachment in recruitment.

Leslie Oquendo 18:24 hmm. Yeah. And that's a big thing, too. Because like, I reflected on this, and I think that the best recruiters are not the ones on sure, like they can take you down the line, right. But the best recruiters are the ones who know how to tell a candidate didn't get the job. Yeah. And who can do it in the most human way possible to so that when they you know, when they have that rejection, they can say, okay, you know what, I was let down by x company, but this recruiter was fantastic. And like down the line, I would like to come back, I would like to reach back out to that recruiter and say, Hey, I've learned I've taken I've taken your feedback. Let's let's, let's talk. Martin Hauck 19:04 I've got a hard pivot here. Oh, and there's a segue. Okay, can I spoil some stuff? Sure. So you've written a book about grief. I have an part of me in my brain is like you naturally hot like there is a grieving process to not getting the job. Good. Yeah, absolutely. Right. That when you're when you're putting myself in a candidate's shoes, when I've gotten a job I was really stoked for. There's it's not massive grief, but it's still an emotion that you go through. Qasim Virjee 19:35 Yeah, because anytime that hope is diminished, you know. It's tough. You have to you have to deal with that. Personally, everyone. Yeah. Martin Hauck 19:45 And so, yeah, so you've you've written a book on this. And by nature of podcasts, we've got to talk about it. Leslie Oquendo 19:54 So what's your book? Qasim Virjee 19:55 What's your book author, man, Leslie Oquendo 19:57 I'll bring you on to spot so I think that all On the recruitment side, it's the attachment like that, that's where it hits you in the gut is that like, you got all this way through it, and you pictured yourself? Yeah, at this organization, you pictured yourself in this role. And then it's also like the chatting to other people in your organization about it, right? It's chatting to your partner, your your spouse, whoever about it, as well to see attachment. And when that gets severed, that's where hurts the most, right. And the grieving now comes from the understanding that yes, that this is what comes with it. Right? As recruiters we know, that, like, it might not work out, they could be seen as fantastic at the beginning. And then they get all the way down after a demo, or after, like whatever interview and it doesn't work out, you also have that photographer because you could attach to your like, I really wanted them to work out Qasim Virjee 20:49 because you have to envision that to be able to like you have to understand the role. But you also have to see through it as a lived experience and right that, oh, wow, this person would be and you could picture it, I'm sure those nights where you, you know, go home from from, you know, kind of work and you're thinking about those people, you carry their stories into your life as well. Mm hmm. So Leslie Oquendo 21:08 Oh, my gosh, I've had some really great stories where I let down a candidate. And then they actually were calling me on like a zoom call. And I picked up the like, I can't leave you picked up. I'm like, yeah, like what's up? And they're like, Oh, I accepted another offer somewhere else. And they're asking this question, Can you can you give your insight? And I'm like, sure, yeah, like, here, here it is. And here's how I would, you know, kind of take that direction. And they were like, wow, like, thank you so much. Like, I didn't even take the job with your company, and you're still giving me support. And he's like, You know what, like, I've been telling my wife about you, like, how about I've had these great experiences on the recruitment side and how it's not like any other experience I've had before. And that's super special. And I'll segue that now into my book. My book is called is always enough love. And the Segway part of it was that, as I wrote this book about grief, it really created more space for people to start opening up to me about their own grief stories. Because I found with my own experience that it was either you're on two sides of the spectrum, you either don't talk about it, like, the less you talk about it, the more I didn't happen, or I'm open and I can talk about it. Qasim Virjee 22:24 Mm hmm. Yeah, people either kind of Yeah, they dig into it to deal or they hide like that. They're just right there for you guys. So Leslie, tell us about the impetus for writing this book. Yeah, Leslie Oquendo 22:37 absolutely. So in 2021, my mom passed away. And, again, sharing at the beginning of this podcast, like as an only child, like, it was probably the biggest moment to ever happen the entirety of my life, I still think so even till I die. This will be a huge moment, probably the biggest moment. And I realize that as an adult, I understand some What about death. And that it's, you know, that it's inevitable, and it's a rite of passage. But as that only child, that eight year old kid, that seven year old kid, the kid that my mom would take to Chinese grocery stores, to the pool to the library, that kid was hurting the most. So I, I'm Qasim Virjee 23:27 gonna feel I feel like I'm gonna cry a motion. I'm like, flipping through this book, and I'm picturing my daughter, right. And the bond, of course, that you have, your child is so strong, and they're your best friend. And so I'm sorry. No, no, no, no, no, I Leslie Oquendo 23:42 appreciate that. Thanks so much for resonating with it. And, and that really, like, I'm glad you hopped on that, because it was how do I talk to that eight year old kid? And and help him understand the passing of, of his mom? But also, how does the parent get support now too, because as I as I started to kind of go through my own grief, it was also really understanding my dad as well, too. And it's like, it went from being super greedy. And I lost my mom, I lost my mom to be like, Yo, he lost his wife. You know what I'm saying? And when you now tap into that, it's like, how do you get the child and the adult on the right on the same? Pun intended page? Yeah. And together and in their grief together and going through it? And it's meant to be a companion. So when the initial grief happens, and then next year, five years, 10 years because grief doesn't go away, right?

Grief, healing, and the power of writing.

Qasim Virjee 24:45 And flipping through it also it's written as is it? It's written for any age of audience. Yeah, Leslie Oquendo 24:51 it really is. I mean, you know, you say kids book but it really is the intention was, you know, to kind of have it like, old to play it'll go right or The Giving Tree Shel Silverstein and Dr. Seuss, and it was just this book to really be able to, again, be that companion and create a space where grief is messy. It's everything. It is anger, it's depression, it is like denial, but it's also humbling and full of gratitude at the same time for Qasim Virjee 25:22 an opportunity for rebirth and reinforcing your strengths as well as your, your ability, I think, to own right on the situation on the relationship that you might have had and always considered as like, inherited. It's interesting. So okay, wait. So tell us about, you know, what, there's the experience that led to writing the book. But then what was the moment where you're like, a book is the thing I need to do two Leslie Oquendo 25:51 great questions. So I am a huge journaler not sure about you guys. But like I journal like, probably like four to five times a day, like, wow, constantly writing and journaling. It's been like, a big ritual for me in the morning and at night. And writing has been this thing for me. And then when I went back home to kind of clean up my parents place, I found all these small little journals that like I was writing as in kitchens who are young since I was young. But growing up, it was always tough, because I was made fun of for being a writer. And, you know, I was I was told I was gay in the schoolyard before I even knew I was gay. So I put retributions like, yeah, good. Yes. Cool. Right. Right. Um, and it was like, Whoa, like, I suppressed it so much, because I was scared of like, being teased, that I just left it right. So then when I went back from those journals, I was like, you know, what I love writing. And when my mom passed, it was it opened up this space of do the things that you want to do, and that you love. Because, like, one moment, I had my mom's next I didn't. So it's like, life is just that temporary. So go out and do the things. And that's where it came from. Was it okay, love to write, I need to process this and sit with it. And now, where am I hurting the most? It's that inner child. And the whole premise of it was, if I were to sit next to myself, as an eight year old kid, how to how would that how would that conversation work out? Okay. Right. Qasim Virjee 27:33 I think it's cool. I really think it's not just only about catharsis, to be able to rationalize these things to create something out of them, and then share that story and do it in a way that you have the medium to, is itself, I think, a healing thing, right? Have you been finding a lot of good vibes by getting these books into people's hands and seeing people read these this story? So Leslie Oquendo 27:57 it's really interesting, because when it was done, I was like, Okay, get it into people's hands. It's going to help people. And it's been very humbling to have parents say, you know, I read this book to my kid at night. And to know that my mom is a part of those very intimate conversations with a parent and a kid and that she's now her her love and her wisdom is in that is super humbling. But I won't lie to you. It opened up a lot of fear and sadness in me. Because the story that was so intimate of my mom and I and her passing, now became its own entity. Yeah. And now it's public. Right? And it went from this idea that I was like, okay, okay. Oh, now it's out. Now it's for everybody. Right? And I was like, oh, it's gonna take away from like, my relationship with her like, and I was then experiencing, I was trying my therapist about this, I was really grieving. Like, there were moments where, like, I couldn't get out of bed, or I was achy. Because as I'm sharing with you guys here, my mom's story is also now a sales pitch, in a sense, yeah. And when people ask me, I have to constantly relive it and explain it, and be like, really tight with it in a sense, as well, too. So that opened up a whole new space where I was like, Whoa, like, I thought I had this figured out, I really did. I was like, I wrote a book on it. Like, I know, great, we're good Peace out, you know, but that is even more apt. Now, why it's so special is that it's constantly evolving, and changes as you get older. And the second you think you have a handle on it, it gets nuanced and different. And it really is that way of how do you live in all of it. It's

Unintended consequences of decisions and empathy for others.

Martin Hauck 29:45 an unintended consequence of of these decisions beforehand, creating it. What's what I'm wondering right now and again, not again, but like thank you for a writing this and be sharing it Absolutely, especially with the fact that like, I didn't realize until now I'm like, oh, yeah, reliving it, like, constantly because of this thing that you can't necessarily pull back out of the ether. But another part of me and I don't often do this, but it was like, there's also like a beauty in the fact that, you know, I haven't want to go on a small tangent, I haven't really lost anyone I was really close to. So when people tell me, they've gone through something, I don't know what to do. Because my, my, the thing I lean on is being able to be empathetic. And then I feel like sympathy is like, I was

Career attachment and grief with a personal story.

Qasim Virjee 30:45 like, back to when I was a virgin, you know? Martin Hauck 30:51 That makes sense. But what I'm saying is, like, if you, if you look at it from the perspective of being able to, now you have all these extra moments, to think about your mom, whereas my fear would be to, like, you know, for me out of sight, out of mind is like, super real, for a million different reasons. And like, it affects my relationships, it affects my friendships, and they think there's this. So Qasim Virjee 31:24 it's tough to live with it. But at the same time, it affords you a means of keeping a memory alive, as well. Right, the double edged sword of this Yeah, is that you're celebrating her life through, you know, this story. And at the same time, kind of forcing yourself perhaps, to keep living with it as part of your life, right? Understandable. I don't want to diminish your story, by bringing it back to your career, do it. But the point you made about relating the personal experience of grief and this amazing story of trying to take something from grief, and create something that's, you know, shareable, but also enables people to learn and think through grief? Bringing it back to this kind of idea of attachment people have to their career, and how their careers define them. From all of this experience, and now your own personal development in understanding grief better? How do you see? Yes, we talked about an example of people are looking for a job and they, you know, they don't get it. But at the same time, what is what are your thoughts on on kind of like career attachment? And people in general, whether they're in a job or wanting a job defining themselves by their job? Leslie Oquendo 32:52 Well, that's a big question. I think it's very fair. And I think that, again, this is all societal for us. Right? Everywhere we go. And we see even like, if you go on LinkedIn, the entirety of it is your worth. You know what I mean? And based upon your career, right? Yeah, it's very hard to escape. I think that a lot of it, at least for me, and here's the thing is that, like, there's a really great like Super Soul with Oprah Winfrey and Maya Angelou, and she talks with her at the beginning when she's like, I don't know, like me like mid 20s, or late or, like, early 30s. And she asked Maya Angelou like, oh, where would you describe yourself in terms of your spiritual journey, and Maya Angelou responds with, I'm on Route. Right. So then now you kind of like, she follows up with her when she's like, I think like in her 70s, or 80s, and obraz, the exact same question, where are you on a spiritual journey? And she says, I'm on Route. Like, I'm still figuring it out. And I think that, like, that is where I have been trying to stay in that space, is like, I'm still figuring out like, if I want to be attached to it, and have that define my worth in that moment. Sure. Right, like, and will it evolve? Will it change? Why can slowly wean myself away from it? Absolutely. Right. So I think that's, that's my take on it is that it's, it's very tough, and then you go into the cultural aspect as well, too, right? Like, coming from an Asian family, like working hard is very much so a push on your identity, right? So if you don't work, then you're then you're then you're not contributing to family or, you know, you're you're not caring as much and living your ancestors. Right? And that's a really big weight to have in our culture, for sure. Preach on maybe you know what I'm saying? So, so it really just is like, if I can just give wisdom is just like, try to make it work as best as you can. And really just stay present with right now. And remember that you're on Route, you're still figuring it out. I don't think you'll ever not have, you know, I think we'll ever get to a point where you're like, done. Okay, I know what I'm talking about. Yeah, you know? Yeah. Qasim Virjee 35:10 I agree. I think that's extreme wisdom. And it was so nice of you to take time to share your story with us and at the same time offer some really good nuggets, I think for our audience, from the recruiter perspective, but also from someone who cares about people finding purpose as our off camera. Pre interview half an hour philosophical discussion. Martin Hauck 35:37 Group proves Yeah, yes. It's Qasim Virjee 35:39 been a truly a pleasure, Leslie. Leslie Oquendo 35:40 Oh, my gosh, I'm so humbled. Thank you all so much for this space. And, yeah, I'm humbled to even be invited and to be holding space with you guys and to share my book. I'm so lucky. Thank you so much. Thank you. Thanks, Martin Hauck 35:52 Leslie. Thank you

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