Crystal Anderson | Operations Manager and Producer, Man Repeller
I love working in operations/production because no day is ever the same. Some days I'm in the office first thing in the AM, checking emails, meeting with internal stakeholders, and doing interviews and other days, I'm onsite activating an event. It's a really exciting and incredibly rewarding career for someone who doesn't need a regimented workday. My career path definitely hasn't been a linear one though. I've been all over the place in terms of the spaces I've worked in, from IMG to Tough Mudder. I think having those varied experiences at different organizations has made my work experience so incredibly rich and I'm better for it.
I recently wrote a very candid piece about my mental health on Man Repeller. I wrote the story because it was Mental Health Awareness Month and visibility and normalization of mental health struggles are so incredibly important to me, as a Black, Queer woman. I’ve shared my story many times over the years and sharing it with the Man Repeller readers was no different. I had zero expectations and wasn't hoping for responses. That's not why I shared my story. I shared it with the hope that someone, somewhere, saw themselves in me and gained some sort of hope that living a full, healthy, rewarding life is more than just a possibility. With that being said, people were incredibly kind in their messages and comments to me.
When trying to maintain a balanced work life and a healthy self, the healthy self has to come first, right? I cannot put out my best work if my mind and body aren't working at full capacity. So either I can run my body into the ground, working at 45% capacity and likely get reprimanded for poor performance OR I can take time to really practice self-care and fire at all cylinders. I know it's easier said than done and I haven't always practiced self-care, but truly, what good are we to anyone else if we are not in good shape internally? Each morning, I put my feet on the ground because I truly think a part of my larger calling is showing people that there are real women out here, making change, having a seat at tables that they weren't necessarily invited to. And what keeps me up at night? Working on outside projects that feed my soul and unfortunately, more times that I'd like for it to keep me up, the way black folks are treated in America.
There are so many women that inspire me. My mom, for one, who built a franchise of Montessori school with no college education. She is truly the prototype. My best friend, Sharrica, who grew up in the Foster System and is now a doctor. So many more, but those two women are my day to day inspirations. I think being an entrefemmeur means that you are unabashedly you, both in your work and outside of it. An entrefemmeur knows that there is not only one specific route to success. She believes in the ethos of reaching back to help other women find their passions. She believes in giving a "fuck you" to anyone who stands in the way of the things she wants.
My advice to LFC readers is: Run your own race! We live in a society that is so flooded with images of what EVERYONE is doing at every moment of the day, which can make you feel like you haven't reached some "milestone." Don't get caught up in the hype of it all. You'll get to your finish line when you're supposed to.