Relax your jaw

The other day I was interviewing a candidate (we’re hiring!) and after something I said, I felt a disturbance in the Force. At our debrief, the boss said that for a split second, my face “turned to death” and he had to max out his human CPU to keep himself from cracking up. A surprisingly delightful benefit of video meetings.

This isn’t the first time something like this has happened. Another time, a colleague was walking me through his work and when he looked back at my face on the other window, it audibly frightened him.

Discussing the ways my ethnicity compounds the way my angry face is perceived by others is not in scope for this post. Believe it or not, this is a post about self-care.

Over the last few days I’ve had my computer take random pictures of my face throughout the day to help me analyze what’s wrong with me. I know I grind my teeth and bite my lip, particularly when I’m really focusing. After super busy weeks, I’ll get a bad case of nerd neck, Cardassian shoulders, etc. and have to pay for it on the roller. But I really didn’t realize how jarring it looked, until this fun age of people knowing you only via your face.

Because I don’t take myself too seriously, check out today’s:

It’s been a pretty good day at work and I’ve felt focused, productive, in-tune with people, and full of energy. I promise.

And yet–

It’s not just when I’m “making” (also, opinions). Thinking, listening, or waiting. Any time my brain is on, so’s the face. I’m a proponent of distributed work for many reasons, but for the purposes of explaining this face, it’s easier to focus working from my own office, so when I’m on calls with colleagues, they are really getting my undivided attention. Vis-à-vis the face…if you think about it, it’s really the opposite of a resting b* face. But definitely not what I want to convey when I’m meeting someone I think would make a great colleague. So let’s just call it a thinking Dezzie face and I’ll take some steps to make sure I smile more:

Take-aways

Family calls this my, “cara de enojona,” or simply, “the Zamora face.” We all have it, it’s because we have heavy blood. Nothing to be ashamed of, but if you do it too much you really might push out a tooth. So maybe these self-care things I’ve been de-prioritizing will help you too:

  • Re-arranging my desk and pushing my chair back during video calls or recording looms so people can see my body language was a good idea. And if you wanna look good, listen to Tom Ford.
  • Using the camera as mirror prior to “entering” a meeting is not weird or vain.
  • Soham..
  • There’s no point in keeping a lipbalm at my desk if I’m not using it. I have been using an essential oil vaporizer though, which is invigorating in a different way than tea or coffee is. Think yoga studio.
  • Maybe this is why people didn’t want to hang out with me when I worked in a physical office. Feel somewhat less bad, but only slightly and I suppose it’s irrelevant right now.

No one reads this stuff I know but I’m going to keep blogging like the old internet. If you are though, take this moment to relax your jaw.