Respect in the Workplace – Ep.76

Becoming Socially Conscious – Ep.75
January 4, 2023
Telling OurStory – Ep.77
January 18, 2023

Veronica Rogers discusses the importance of respect in the workplace and shares tips to successfully prepare for your next dream job. 

Melyssa Barrett:  Welcome to the Jali Podcast. I’m your host, Melissa Barrett. This podcast is for those who are interested in the conversation around diversity, inclusion, and equity. Each week I’ll be interviewing a guest who has something special to share or is actively part of building solutions in this space. Let’s get started.

Meet Veronica Adele Rogers. She is a performer, a speaker, she writes poetry, songs, stories and speeches and she always seems to have life-changing words to share. She’s a published author, multifaceted writer and just really interesting to talk to. She is celebrating her book publication, How to Successfully Prepare for Job Interviews. So I thought I would bring her on so she could tell us a little bit more about the book, but also give us some insight into her life as well.

Please join me in welcoming Ms. Veronica Rogers. So I’m excited this week to have Miss Veronica Rogers here with me and we all know she is a published author, multifaceted writer and I know you have a couple of books out, so I’m hoping we can talk a little bit about those. But before we do that, I really wanted to just ask you a question about how you got to be where you are today and who you are today. I know you’re not living in the United States, so tell us a little bit about yourself.

Veronica Rogers:  Well, hello everybody. To start, I was born and raised in the island of Trinidad and Tobago. It’s the most southernly island of the Caribbean, right up next to Venezuela. And so I’ve been here my entire life and ever since I was very young, maybe, well six or seven, I have been expressing my mind in words. And what was interesting was when my late mom was pregnant with me, she wasn’t too well. And when I was born, I wasn’t too well. In fact, the nurses didn’t think I would survive the hour-

Melyssa Barrett:  Oh wow.

Veronica Rogers:  … And so the first four years of my life, I couldn’t speak at all, but they knew I wasn’t mute because I could make sounds and I cry and whatever. And I had something called Einstein Syndrome, which they didn’t at the time know about. So everybody was just praying that I would be all right and the speech would come and it did. And I was told that when I came of age to go to school, mom took me to preschool within faith believing because I was responsive and everything like a regular child And everything, had my mood swings and my emotions and everything else was in check.

And they noticed that I was very much in love with music. Anything musical, I would be just high. And so they said the childish, everything is just normal. She doesn’t have anything to say whatever. When she has something to say, she’ll say it. And so on the first day I went to sit next to some little boy and apparently he was, you know some kids when they’re small and they’re not socialized yet, they cry and they fuss about everything.

And apparently he wasn’t too thrilled with having a girl come sit next to him. So early to be so ridiculous. And I think the first interaction with a non-family member was then, when I looked at him because mom was still standing talking to the principal and they said, I looked at the boy with such disgust and given the signal to go around and he started crying because he was flabbergasted and intimidated by my face.

I was like, “What’s wrong with you?” And everybody was laughing at him and when Mom got home, she proceeded to tell everybody about how I was. So tell the child go around by my body language, but I was correct. And then by the second day when I got home, I just started blurting out whole set of words and just telling them about my day. And they were like mouths tongue open, amazed that, okay, something unplugged. So they follow, wow. She just had it stored up, she was just waiting, just waiting for the moment.

Melyssa Barrett:  That boy brought out the best in you, huh?

Veronica Rogers:  Yeah. Oh gosh. Well I loved words ever since. I just love words. I remember sometimes when you’re on the phone talking to a friend, you start doodling on the nearest thing that you could write on?

Melyssa Barrett:  Yes.

Veronica Rogers:  And I do remember even as a teenager I would be doodling the alphabet and somebody come and will use the phone after me will be like, “Who wrote the alphabet on this book? What is this?”  I would write the alphabet in all kinds of patterns and shapes and when I got to high school and started doing arts, I loved cross patch and these kinds of things because I used to do that, writing the alphabet and drawing little lines this way and that way all over the place. And so when I told somebody I really love words, it’s like, “No kidding.”

Melyssa Barrett:  That’s funny.

Veronica Rogers:  Stories have always been a very important part of my life. And I believe that even a mute person can communicate and language is just wonderful. I started learning sign language when I was a teenager. In a military group that I was a part of that was similar to the guys and I’m even more fascinated. And then when the understanding that you can express yourself with poetry and with song. I just had a ball growing up. I mean I had all the regular troubles of a young person growing up I suppose. But to me going into the world of words and appreciating the solace and the refuge of imagination and positive thinking has been very integral in my upbringing, my survival through a whole lot of stuff that I’ve experienced.

And I just have to say I give praise to God and my parents who were no longer with us. I really was blessed to have parents that instilled in me a love for learning and did not stop me from always going in the library and “Mom, I’d like to get a new book please.” And they didn’t deter me, they didn’t discourage me and yell at me and say, “What’s the matter with you, how many books do you want to get?” Because we were middle class when I was little, but started having some financial problems with the different recessions and the different things and Dad getting ill and things like that.

So it wasn’t always easy to go for them to go and buy me a new book for a birthday or Christmas. But when I couldn’t get it as a gift, there was a library and oh was I excited to be able to go to the library and get books for free, I sit down for hours and mom didn’t have to worry about, okay, we don’t know where V is. No, they always knew when I was not in the house, I was somewhere up in the tree or in a corner somewhere quiet with a book.

Melyssa Barrett:  I love it.

Veronica Rogers:  Or an animal because I was an animal lover, I just love animals too. So I hardly got into trouble. I think I started getting into trouble when I was an adult.

Melyssa Barrett:  I love it. Well, so now story, you mentioned being such an integral part of your being. I know there’s a lot of history where you come from. How have those stories shaped you?

Veronica Rogers:  The scary ones that they told us when I was little, the folklore about these creepy little creatures that looked like children but had no face and had their heads turned around and we called, made me stay out of trouble and get home after school. So it instilled me a respect for the supernatural. A curiosity but caution for the unknown and a discipline to know to find yourself where you’re supposed to be at what time. So Mom again didn’t have to worry about the girls being late, going with my friends and not remembering the time, what? When the sun started setting and even before I would be telling my eldest sister, because I hardly went out when I was little.

I always went in a group it’s either myself and a sister or a few of us. And I would be telling her when she’s with her best friend, I was like, “It’s time to go,” and she’s like, “What’s wrong with you? We have at least half an hour.” I was like, “No, I want to get home before it gets dark. I don’t want any trouble.” All the other stories like the one that loved animals and took care of animals, helped us to respect all life and respect animals apart from Mom raising us to respect all life and respect people and to treat all people with equality and the same level of regard.

That stayed with me to the point where just yesterday I was speaking to someone in LinkedIn because they were talking about the fact that there’s still a lot of people that disrespect certain groups of people. And in one of my written works, I was sharing the importance even when you’re going to an interview of showing respect for everybody you meet because a lot of young and middle-aged people forget that the boss can change his suit and put on something scruffy, wear slippers, rumple his hair, go around the back and then come in pretending that he’s the plant man or he’s the cleaner or he came to look for a relative and he just jumped into his car and then wanted to fuss up and they can observe how you treat everyone that comes in the interview room and they could be looking at you on camera you don’t even know because there are all kinds of cameras now and they could send a cleaner to spill something near to your foot and see how you react and all of that.

So these stories they not only instill in us a discipline, help me to realize, well wow, if they could write that crappy story, I could probably write something better and it also builds a self-esteem and a confidence that I can do it. I know I can do that. I can write a story too. So when it came time to school, getting an assignment where you have to write an essay, write a story, I was elated. I want a future in a class that I would ace it and never be afraid to say what I have to say whether I had to make something up or I had to talk about something that actually happened, which is the difference between fiction and nonfiction, which I learned very early and found exciting.

Rest of the kids be like, “There’s something wrong with you.” “No, something’s wrong with you. How can you not want to share about what happened in your holidays? How can you be afraid to talk about something that’s supposed to be so natural?” And that confidence stayed with me and I pass it on to younger people in my family, pass it on to my daughter, pass it on to students that I eventually ended up teaching. And that is the thing about your beginning is very important because it determines your ending. It determines a person you grew up to be.

And in the Caribbean we have lots and lots of stories. We have lots of folklore and even in the festivals we celebrate things like in carnival that we celebrate February, March each year as the Lord allows them. You see all the characters that they could muster up, all the costume that are made about the Griot and the guys wearing the stilts, I forget what they’re called. The mud monkeys, there’s another word for them too. All these amazing creatures, some of them are really creepy and kind of scary, but you knew the background behind it.

And that all started with people taking something negative that occurred and finding a way to spin it, turn it into something that not only lives on but can be deemed as a positive because a lot of the descendants of slaves and the descendants of the indentured laborers created stories for their kids to have something to entertain them. And they keep children from crying when they were hungry and to pass time when they were sheltering from bad weather and all these kinds of things. And I really admire the past storytellers that have set the pace for us and have instilled in us appreciation of fantasy versus reality and just finding a way to find something to celebrate about in the past of your ancestors and even yourself.

Melyssa Barrett:  Yeah, I love that. Well, I have a special place in my heart for the Griot because my husband was the Jali. So I know you talked a little bit about interviewing, so I do want to kind of jump over to your published work, recently published work about how to successfully prepare for a job interview. And I know landing your dream job, everybody wants a dream job. They may have an idea of what they want to do and you are dropping some nuggets here on successful interview techniques.

I know my dad always told me, “You smile and speak to everybody you see whether they’re picking up garbage or cleaning or whatever they’re doing, they have an important role in whatever the process and the circle is.” So I love that you talk about equality in that way because I think nowadays people start talking about equality and there are so many different aspects to equality even starting small. So tell us a little bit about why you wrote the book and maybe a little bit about some of the benefits, some of the things in there that might be helpful.

Veronica Rogers:  Okay. Well, I started working in 1989, volunteer work first for different family members who had businesses and needed help. And that got me a lot of valuable volunteer experience. And even while I was doing sales work or whatever it was, you’d always come across some potential customers that maybe one of the siblings, maybe my sister might have been a little afraid of or perturb to deal with because of their appearance. But I always had a mindset, there’s a person inside of it regardless of what they look like. And so from an early age, again just to respect and what actually helped her get some sales was the fact that I didn’t snuff them. I didn’t snob them, I didn’t act like, okay, we don’t want you go away because of the fact that he’s not wearing a shirt or whatever the hair is in a mess or whatever.

And these people went back and told other people, “Hey, go and buy something from that place. There’s this girl that’s helping sell and she’s very pleasant.” And customer service 101, if you’re not respectful of everybody that you meet, you would not have the success that you want to have as a customer. And you found that they’ll send their sisters, they send their aunts and their uncles and whoever else, and during the course of selling them the product, they would say, you so and so and so, they’d ask me about what happened earlier when this particular person came in and I’m like, “Well I just answered that question and I’m a best to be of help.” And then if they bought something or they didn’t buy something at the point in time I wasn’t upset.

I guess I was always by my life being a light and also being a teacher because you always meet somebody who is amazed or didn’t know it that way. And so you’re able to again impart knowledge and information to other people. When I started working I had a lot of trouble, not because of not having qualifications and things like that because I went to college and got very good grades. But again the respect and the understanding that everybody deserves a chance and everybody deserves equal respect across the board, no matter what sort of company I interviewed with or saw together a job at, you saw that in play, you saw it in a waiting room with the different people that were waiting, you saw it when you went into the interview room and over the years, I would say basically 30 to 32 years of working, I have had many, many interviews, probably over a hundred.

And I learned from each one I would take notes of things and try to glean whatever information I can get. Not just about the companies that I interviewed with, but people, I like studying people. And I realized over the years I was struggling with this thing that I don’t know if you’ve ever heard of something called a negative cycle or a negative pattern and some of the reasons why they come to be, but unknown to me, I only found out about it this year. I was not getting to keep jobs and it wasn’t because of anything that I was doing or not doing. It’s because of a whole other elements. And I remember somebody telling me last year that anything that is negative that has happened in your life, you should try to get it moving forward.

But even though they said that, I was thinking there are some elements of our past that we shouldn’t try to forget even the bad things because you’ll not only learn from it, but you can turn that bad thing or that thing that people perceive to be bad into something good. And I wanted to do that. So I thought about some of the bad things in my past, losing a lot of jobs that I had, really great jobs too. And some of the pain that I experienced being persecuted by coworkers who didn’t like me for one reason or another. And I said, “How can I use that to help other people?” Because that’s what I’m all about. “And how can I turn that into something positive?”

And I thought, okay, I can take all that I’ve learned in that experience or that aspect of my life and put it into a book so I can help other people to be prepared and to do better when they have to face this thing that I’ve had to face so many times, interviews, because it became an art. I became like a professional interviewee. It was ridiculous. There was a particular year that I went to interview at a company that was making and I think that was the first time I used the word diversity and got people raising their eyes.

It was a panel interview and when I walked in I saw the females looking, looking at me a certain way and because at that time I was rocking an Angie Gina’s look, so I had a lovely business suit on, but I didn’t have the feminine hairstyle. I had my haircut short and everything was neat and I had all my documents and I had my poise and the posture and my good handshake and all the works. And the interview was as far as anybody would be able to judge, excellent. I aced it. There wasn’t anything I didn’t say that I should have said.

And they asked me a question and I answered them and I used the word diversity about embracing diversity and the two females looked at each other, one of the guys started twitching a foot like he was nervous, and the other one did a sort of not like, okay then. That kind of, “Mm-hmm.” And as soon as I said it, a little check came in inside of me saying, oops, you shouldn’t have used that phrase that isn’t accepted yet in society. From the time you started talk about rights and diversity and equality that I don’t think she’s some kind of feminist, she’s an activist, she’s one of those troublemakers who’s going to start to fight for equality in the workplace, they don’t want to be females in this and that and the other and they’re talking about sexual harassment, or she must be gay.

I kept thinking not only is this important now because all these people who have lost jobs are going back into the world of work and going back into the rat race looking for work. And some of them might have forgotten what to do. They’ve been working at a company for so many years and even the young ones now coming out of college and now coming out of school and want to get some work for the summer, some work before they go back. I think it’s timely and is really valuable. And I do hope and I really believe that it’s for everybody. It’s for every type of person, doesn’t matter what is the age range, doesn’t matter what is your agenda, your race, your religion, no matter what it is important to know how to be prepared for the interview you have to face. What’s the interviewers would most likely be thinking about?

What are the purposes of interviews? These are some of the things that I cover in the book. The reasons for interviews, the steps you need to take before you reach even that interview stage being even called or written to be asked to an interview. There are things that you have to understand and be prepared for. And two of my favorite chapters are what interviewers look for and what interviewers look at. And they seem to be almost the same thing but they’re not.

And at the end after I talk about that and the structure stages of the interview, the day of the interview before you get to the venue, when you get to the venue, after the interview and the most popular chapters I think would be some of the toughest questions asked and how to handle them and the reasons for not getting hired and tips on how to improve your chances because in going to some interviews, I hear people talk about some of the other wait, people waiting in the room, talk to each other, they talk about past interviews that they have had and previous time they applied to work at that particular company and how it worked out for them.

And I was just thinking in my mind, and you’re deciding to talk about this now while you are in the waiting room where the people, staff can hear you? Unbelievable. And I was like, they’re not going to get you. And then you meet some people who let negative right through. They’re just negative. The bad talk, the past boss, the bad talk, the past coworkers. They talk to the security guard they met on the way in and I’m thinking, why doesn’t this person just be quiet, best he stayed home. And I’m thinking I need to write this stuff down because people need to know you don’t go to an interview the boss.

Doesn’t matter how horrible the person was, if it made a pass at you, it doesn’t matter. You always have to find a positive way to talk about that past company and why? Not because you lying or because what happened didn’t happen. But because the person that is sitting before you really doesn’t want to know about all that bad stuff. They’re simply asking you to tell them about that job because they want to know if you are going to bad talk them if something goes wrong there. That’s a basic bottom line.

And you realize in everything there’s an element of selfishness when you’re dealing with other people and money. They always think about the bottom line. They always think about how it’s going to affect them and the company and the bottom line, the grass at the end of the day and the week and the month and the year. So you always have to remember, put your best foot forward and your best words forward and always try to present everything in a positive light. You can present being harassed in a positive light. For example, the very first paid job I had, I didn’t put this in the book though. But the very first paid job, I was about 20, maybe 20, 21. And it was a summer job that had potential to turn into a permanent job.

And it wasn’t even two days into the job I distinctly remember I was sitting at the desk doing my work and the head of security came up to me and the guy started teasing me. Just like that, day two, I didn’t even have time to get accustomed to the place that this guy started it. And I was raised Christian and very, very strict and respect. And so I was about to go and cause any problems. I was not interested, the man was old enough to be my father and I was there to do a job and I intended to do to the best of my ability and leave with good reviews.

This man was asking me if I needed a lift down to town and who sent stuff and the man would not take no for an answer. He kept coming back, each day he would come and stand by the desk and by the end of the week I got concerned and I went to my senior, the one right over me who I was assisting. I told her about him and she said, “Yes, I noticed that he was coming around and I’ll observe him for next couple of days and if it’s getting to be where you’re really uncomfortable, we’re going to take it high. But for the most part ignore him just have your morning and evening and try your best to be busy so he would take a hint and leave.”

Take a hint and leave? Yeah, he left but he kept coming back. And it reached to a point where some friends that I made, some female friends that I made at work, one of them had a car and she lived near to me and so we decided to carpool. So she said she would give me a lift and he didn’t know all of that, but he assumed one day when he came and asked again and I said, “No, thanks, I’m getting a lift with someone else.” He assumed that I was just playing hard to get and I went to her and I told her about it and she’s like, “What? well no, I’m not having that.” But she’s deceased now.

She went and she started up a conversation with him to confront him about his behavior and to let him know not only is it unprofessional and immature, that you’re dealing with this young girl who just started working here. This young girl now come with us, that’s the kind of thing you let any girl you meet for the first time, and you’re too old, you should know better, and a whole lot of stuff she told him. And he stayed away for a while and then when he did come back and talk to me, he tried to make it as if I led him on and then I’m pretending that I’m getting a lift with somebody else.

But the long and short of all that experience, if I had to answer a question, what is one difficult thing that you had to overcome while you at a past job? There’s so many ways that you could say it, but the best thing would be just try to put a sort of a joke into it and say, “Well I learned in my very first job and ever since then that I am so cute, some people just can’t concentrate on their work.” Now I can say that instead of saying, “I was almost sexually harassed and I was stalked by a coworker.” I mean, the person on the other end of the table might not be too comfortable with that response.

So in the book, I share scenarios or I present the facts and I give examples whether hypothetical or a little bit of truth and experiences that I’ve had, particularly in the end when I got really comfortable because I wrote the book as if I’m speaking to somebody, I’m not just on top of a pulpit or on top of a stage in a conference or something talking. But I made it professionally personal, so that the person will get a tone of, okay, this is an older person with experience. She’s not just talking off the top of her head or stuff she researched, she’s telling us based on experience.

And I wasn’t ashamed to let them know that I’ve actually been successful at being offered at least 30 jobs. So it’s not that I’m just telling you stuff, it’s stuff that works. And I’ve learned that the more you learn and the more you apply what you learn and you teach other people, to me, you solidify the lessons and it’s so much richer and even though the bad things that you accomplish, you’re able to look back and hey, I can look back now and laugh at that encounter with that guy. And I was like, at the time, this is scary. Do I have to leave? And you know how it works out by me maintaining my composure, maintaining my values and my respect. I have so many people batting for me and defending me. I didn’t have to tell them anything.

Melyssa Barrett:  Well, that was a lot.

Veronica Rogers:  Yeah.

Melyssa Barrett:  I mean that’s nice about having people that will support you and speak up for you, even when you may not even know how to speak up at the time.

Veronica Rogers:  That’s it. That’s it. Because I was so young, I mean literally my first job.

Melyssa Barrett:  Yeah. It can be scary, right?

Veronica Rogers:  Yeah. So that’s basically what inspired me getting that book out and I’m so excited I can hardly wait for people to start to really realize that it’s there and get their hands on a copy. So it’s going to be available free all week next week from the ninth to the 13th of January on So I’m telling everybody that’s my gift to you. If you don’t get it on that during that time, that’s it.

Melyssa Barrett:  Oh fantastic.

Veronica Rogers:  Pay $7.

Melyssa Barrett:  So now, and what’s interesting is I know you have another book that you have coming out that talks about anger.

Veronica Rogers:  Oh yeah. Are You Angry? Well, I’m hoping that I can get it out by the end of the month, but self-publish is hard girl. It’s not as easy as people made us think. I’m still learning.

Melyssa Barrett:  Yes, it is hard.

Veronica Rogers:  Yeah, because for the past four days since I put out the first one, I have been looking at the cover and not liking what I see and the templates and all that’s available, having to learn, it’s like they put me into the deep water of the sea of technology to learn so many new things in the past four days. And I was up all day yesterday from since after one in the morning till after midnight this morning, didn’t get a wink of sleep. Trying to just get it perfect and organize the cover and the manuscript for the paperback version because right now I have everything in except the book cover for the paperback. It’s not as easy as it seems. Just when I think, okay this should be easy. Just about five clicks and I should be done.

Melyssa Barrett:  Yes, it takes a village sometimes.

Veronica Rogers:  So Are You Angry is the title of that second book. And the subtitle is something to the effect of take back control of your life and your emotions because again, through experience and observing other people and how anger has destroyed their life and wrecked their reputation, messed with their social life, I mean, mess with everything, even messes with your spiritual life, I realize okay, this is something that needs to be said and I observe particular groups of people in society and I love them to bits. So this is not a-

Melyssa Barrett:  Critique?

Veronica Rogers:  A critique, just an observation and my opinion, you don’t have to agree. But I think the L G B T community, it has a lot of angry people. And I think rightfully so because they had to endure other groups of people, like different races who have been enslaved and people who have been in war and it seemed like there’s no end to the suffering of their race and their descendants, so I understand that there are different groups of people who are angry, but I noticed even when I was little and I had to ask mom, “Why is he so angry? If he’s so angry, why do you call him gay?” And she cracked up because you know the child? Children say things in a way that’s different from us adults.

I was seeing it as this. If gay means happy because they didn’t explain to me what gay was when I was little. All they said was, “This guy is gay.” And I was like, “How do you know he’s gay? He doesn’t look happy to me.” So I was trying to understand and even growing up, meeting a lot of them, dealing with a lot of them, working with them, you meet a lot of angry people and I’m like, “Why are you so pissed off?” And the basic reply is, “We have to fight so much to get our rights.” And “Somebody’s always on our case and somebody’s always trying to tell us how to dress and how to speak and how to…” whatever.

And I thought about it and I said, “Okay, I can understand, I can empathize.” Because I was the last in my siblings, my parents made seven of us and I was the last. So you know what that means, right? That means that there are many people who are going to be telling me what to wear, how to fix my hair, what to put on my feet, how to speak, how to stand and even if I’m just at home just relaxing and I’m just maybe performing a song for a family guest who’s here that I can sing and order me to sing something for them. When I’m done having a ball and singing a song and I go back inside, some sibling might be saying, “Why didn’t you put your hand like this? Or why didn’t you…”

I’m like, “Because they’re not can a person breathe?” So I could relate and understand if someone has a problem with people not liking how they dress, not liking what they say, not liking something about them. And in every place we go there’s always a culture. There are always rules, there are always expectations, there’s always stereotype. There are always people that are in charge of stuff who have a bias. And these biases come to people because of how they were brought up, what they were taught as children, what they were taught as teenagers, the fact that they didn’t know squat, just like I had. I had a lot of biases when I was little and a teenager because I didn’t know any better.

When I became an adult, obviously I decided to learn and I started to realize, hey, but you know what so-and-so taught me was wrong and they’re not all bad and they don’t carry on like that. And not all of them wear tattoos and not all of them have extra piercings all over the place. So a whole side of different stereotypes, beliefs and myths that people have been taught. Again, the use of words.

So I realized again, words can hurt and words can heal. And so I wanted that book to be a source of healing. I wanted it to encourage, I wanted it to enlighten people, to provide information that people didn’t have about anger and about how it works and about the fact that it doesn’t work alone. And for those who believe in spiritual entities, for them to understand and believe for real that you’re not just suspecting this is a spirit, but to know that it is a spirit and it doesn’t work alone. Uh-uh. He’s got somebody that move with him and they cause real havoc into the life of anybody who entertains them.

And the first way we entertain anger or any habit or any problem that we end up having as a result of just letting something in as negative into our mind is that the second time you do a thing, you have created a habit. And then from that, the more you do it, the more it becomes a lifestyle. So if for example, someone thinks they have an unclean spirit, there are two kinds of unclean spirit. There’s one that means it’s just bad and then there’s one that means it’s dirty, it likes dirtiness. So for example, you throw it on the ground and you say, “Well, it’s my yard, it’s my room, it’s my whatever. It’s my house so I can be untidy, I can leave the way it’s dirty in the sink all day. I don’t have to wash it. And I don’t have to fix this, I don’t have to make my bed, I don’t…”

And so you live in that mindset that I don’t have to be clean, I don’t have to. Then the second time you do it and you think, I don’t have to clean that now. Hello, the unclean spirit is hanging around and heard you say, “I don’t have to.” And they’re like, “Oh okay, thank you.” That is an invitation to me. I’m coming in. So they come and they start living in your life, and living in your mindset and they bring along their friends. They bring along the litterbug, they bring along the rebellion, they bring along the one that is disobedient and doesn’t like to follow rules and all these kinds of similar spirits that have a similar mindset of I don’t have to, I don’t have to listen to my parents, I don’t have to listen to my boss when he tells me, “You’ve got half an hour to finish that project.”

So whatever it is that we do repeatedly is something that stays with us. And anger is no different. And it’s a very, very strong spirit. A very, very hard habit to break. I know of a particular person when they are not angry, they are so sweet, they’re so helpful, you like to have them around and when they are angry, girl, uh-uh, nobody wants to be around them. Anybody who has to come and deal with them to do work for them, they are hustling to get the job done so they can get out of their way.

Because that person when they start all it takes is one tiny thought of something that gets them upset and they just run with that. And they go from this topic to this topic, to this topic to this. And every time they start to talk a new topic, they’re more and more angry to the point where you’re like, “Just now she might lick me down.” Yeah, that’s how you say it, say a phrase over here that means to hit you where you’re knocked out.

And it’s really sad and I really, really am looking forward to getting this out and I want to make sure they get a copy. And I’m hoping because they’re so angry most of the time that you can’t even tell them, “You know are angry a lot. Why are you always so angry?” When you drive with them, they’ve got road rage, they’re fighters, they’re bad drivers, screaming. I just scream at the person and when the person’s window is up, they’re upset because they can’t scream at the person in the road. You have to put earplugs in your ears to travel with them and it’s not nice. It’s not a nice thing.

And do you know anger causes a lot of illnesses? It’s responsible for high blood pressure, heart problems, trouble sleeping, indigestion, and the list goes on. It’s amazing. So I really am looking forward to getting that out there. And I hope and I trust and I believe that it’s going to be a blessing to people and it’s going to really help people. And I mean anybody. Not just people of one particular nationality or one particular religion or any group or anything. It’s a great book for every person. As long as you can read, you can benefit from the book. I hope maybe one day I can maybe even make an audio or am I just read it and put it on YouTube.

Melyssa Barrett:  Definitely. Definitely. Well and it’s so interesting because I think there’s a lot of people that think about anger for themselves because we are angry and I know even in the workplace a lot of times we are the angry black women because we want to speak up and say something. But you also encounter people, other people who are directing their anger at you, which is always challenging, especially when it’s a senior person or your manager or-

Veronica Rogers:  Yes, they start to talk to and tell. It’s called misplaced anger. And usually it starts, the seed was sown as a young person, whereas a person in authority over you, someone older than you, whether a parent or an elder sibling or whoever, hurt you. They did something either to offend you in word or deed or they made you feel less than. Made you feel as if what you had to say or what you had to contribute was not good enough. And so that seed was planted in there from that age and you grew with that if that wasn’t dealt with. And so you find that you grew up now and everybody who’s an authority over you in any kind of form or fashion, you’re ready to snip at them the slightest thing that they just have to disagree with something and you… 

And another thing is people who have been hurt by someone of the opposite gender. The person has gone on and broken up with you and gone their way and everybody new you meet, they’re getting a taste of your rage. You’re at the bar and a guy just comes over and he simply asks you, “What’s good in here today?” And he’s not trying to pick you up, just really, and you ready to bite the guy’s ear and nose off with some kind of remark. You think he’s coming onto you and he either looks like the person you were dating or he sounds like him or he’s wearing the same cologne.

Something triggers you apart from the fact that this person just came up to you and said something and it wasn’t even anything disrespectful. Worse yet for the ones who actually dare to disrespect you, well wow, they’re going to get full brunt. And so it’s misplaced because it was intended for the original offender but because that person is no longer available, whether they died or they moved on or they’re out of the country, you take out all that rage and put it somewhere and that’s very sad. So I have that in there as well, I talk about that.

Melyssa Barrett:  Wow, that’s great. Interesting. So what is next for Miss Veronica Rogers?

Veronica Rogers:  I can’t see. I just got to follow the guidance. The Lord. I got a lot of books so I’m going to look at that and on how I feel there when there seem to be the need in the society at the time. I might go that way. And there are books for different age groups as well because I have children’s stories, teen stories, young adult and adult stories. I’ve got fiction and non-fiction. I’m working on a bio, but I don’t really like writing bios. I rather someone write a bio about me as opposed to me writing it because you get a different feel, a different slant to it. And the good thing you say, you don’t sound like you’re boasting.

And some writers have a particular observation that they have made about bios and writing bios, and I’m not going to say out loud. I don’t want to give any power. But I’m looking at possibly doing maybe two of each type of book and then coming around again. So I’ll do two nonfiction, then two fiction, then work on getting two more songs out because I have a Christmas song out and a Kaiso Soca. In Trinidad we have a special sort of music called Calypso and they’re different members of the family of the Calypso band, there is Kaiso which is a story put to music. It’s kind of different from the entertainments type of music.

And we have Calypso Soca, we have Kaiso Soca, which is a combination of the two. And I have a Kaiso Soca song, it’s great for aerobics, it’s called Jump Up and Wave. And I first performed it in 2007 in college for a songwriting competition. They had just a brain cooler after exams for us to cool Down. And I did an adaptation of it for the Gospel Arena for purchase that I’d like to worship in the dance. So I have two versions of it right now. So I’m probably going to be bringing out one of them later this year because Carnival is coming. They were already started their prelims and stuff like that.

And although I’m not a very active participant in Carnival, this is so small, I thought it was a bit scary, it was just so real. I stood up with daddy, and I was like, “Daddy I want to go home.” He was like, “What? Give me 15 minutes.” “No.” But there is a lot of potential for writers in that particular aspect of our culture because you got to see a lot of the talent of the songwriters, the composers, even though some of them that sing their own work and write their own stuff, they tend to have a sort of signature like Michael Jackson. You can tell a Michael Jackson song by certain things. So singers here, they each have their signature, their own tone, their own intonation. There are two guys that are very similar and I have to always ask somebody, “Is that so and so is that this other guy?”

Melyssa Barrett:  Right, right. That’s great.

Veronica Rogers:  It’s good.

Melyssa Barrett:  Before we go though, I want to make sure people know where to get your books.

Veronica Rogers:  Okay. It’s on You just have to look for… You can type in How to Successfully Prepare for Job Interviews. You can type in the title or you can type in my name, Veronica Adele Rogers and it should come up. And from there you’ll be able to easily click and make an order. You can read the ebook free, you can get it free to read next week. And the paperback, as I said, I’m trying to finish the cover so that hopefully by weekend the cover should be up and everything should be ready and they could be able to order paperbacks to buy for gifts for people and just having a library.

It’s a great gift to give to someone that’s about to enter the world of work or has started already and until now is having a hard time getting jobs, getting through it, even being called in interviews. So it’s a good book, a timely book for them to get so they can know all they need to know to get prepared. So when they do everything that’s advised and they get that interview call, they can go and rock it. They can shine and come home feeling elated and positive and jump and do a jiggle when they get the call that they got the job.

Melyssa Barrett:  That’s right. That’s right. Well, awesome. Well thank you so much Veronica for joining me. You dropped a lot of great nuggets for people whether they’re interviewing or angry or dealing with just challenging situations even. And I know when I always think of an interview, I always think of preparing for how I’m going to tell these stories when they start asking questions because I think there is a lot to just being able to tell a story. So thank you so much for joining me, for giving us, dropping some knowledge on us and we are looking forward to hearing more from you and seeing more books. So congratulations and we hope we will continue to hear from Veronica Rogers.

Veronica Rogers:  Sure. Looking forward to chatting with you again.

Melyssa Barrett:  Absolutely.  Thanks for joining me on the Jali Podcast. Please subscribe so you won’t miss an episode. See you next week.