From Holley, With Love
From Holley, With Love
From Holley, With Love • Wednesday, 022322

From Holley, With Love • Wednesday, 022322

We are not "workers."

On my heart this week.

Monday I submitted my answers for an upcoming magazine interview and one of the questions was: Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?

We’ve been down that road here in FHWL before and the first thing that came to mind was that the best way to thrive and not burn out is to remember that we are not workers, labor, talent, we’re human. Life gives work meaning. So instead of rehashing old guidance, I phoned an ancestor — Toni Morrison. In my response I shared an excerpt from her 2017 essay, The Work You Do, the Person You Are. Recounting advice from a conversation with her father about a troublesome job, she wrote: 

1. Whatever the work is, do it well—not for the boss but for yourself.
2. You make the job; it doesn’t make you.
3. Your real life is with us, your family.
4. You are not the work you do; you are the person you are.

As I wrap up my yearlong stint as Creative Researcher-in-Residence at WeTransfer, get back into dissertation writing mode, and prepare for the next big leaps in my career, Morrison’s prose is heavy on my heart this week. So much so that in lieu of one of my normal reflections, in this edition’s micropodcast (press play up top to listen ☝🏾), I read the full piece aloud so we can chew on it together.

Give it a read (link below) and meet me in the comments or my inbo with your thoughts!

Gifts for your growth.

  • 💎 Here’s the Toni Morrison piece I referenced above and in the micropodcast.

  • 💡 My good friend and all around gem of a human, Alice Grandoit-Sutka, sat down with the Creative Independent to discuss “defining your social practice, making time for what you want to do, the value of print media, and learning through ritual and repetition.” Read the full convo here.

Fuel for the week ahead.

  • 🕺🏿💃 This Iman Shumpert and Daniella Karagach performance from Dancing With the Stars lives rent-free in my head. I don’t know Iman personally but I adore the way he centers interdisciplinarity in his pursuits. Not solely husband…or father…or rapper…or athlete and NBA champion…or clothing designer…or entrepreneur — but all of those “titles” (and more) at once.

  • 🎧 🎶 I’ve been carving out a lot more intentional time for music discovery lately and this installment of Seven Bops is a sweet little genre mashup. Listen to it on Apple Music or Spotify.

See y’all in two weeks for the next edition!

Love always,


From Holley, With Love
From Holley, With Love
One part micropodcast, one part written digest, one part playlist, FHWL is a biweekly newsletter of practical stories, resources and inspiration for becoming who you are while creating work you love. New editions drop every other Monday on Substack. Subscribe here: