Unemployed, Unmarried, and Living at Home, Now What?


By Rachel Carmen Ceasar

I was unemployed, not married, and living at home with my parents when I decided to start my own business. The advice I got from family and friends was to find a stable job that offered good healthcare and a pension—I was going to become a mother, after all, and needed to think about the baby now.

But I had a stable job and was getting paid the most I had ever made as a researcher in Silicon Valley. And then just like that, it was taken away from me—no severance, no maternity leave, nothing.

It was the best time to start my own business. The kind of business where I could mentor young women researchers whom like myself felt like an imposter and unemployeable after graduating with a PhD in the social sciences. I wanted to create a consultancy where we did rigorous social science research AND implementation to support health and tech companies to discover the importance of user experience in their new inventions. And I wanted to do it at a pay rate that matched my expertise and work ethic, and at a pace that would never include weekends or unpaid overtime.

All those business aspirations would fall into place with the coming of our daughter, Carmen Samuel, and the support of my partner, Brent, who has been encouraging me to run my own business from the beginning.

Over the course of her research and consulting career, Rachel Carmen Ceasar has worked across a wide range of projects in the health and technology industries. She has guided clients, such as Embraer, Kaiser Permanente, Hewlett Packer, and Buoy Health, to realize the unique emotions and perspectives of their users.

Rachel has lived and worked in Spain, Mexico, and South Africa before returning to her hometown of Los Angeles. She has a BA in Psychology from the University of California, Los Angeles and a PhD in Medical Anthropology with a specialization in Science and Technology Studies from the University of California, Berkeley. From 2015-2018, Rachel was a Research Fellow at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa where she conducted original research and trained public health students and professionals in ethnography and human-centered design. She is an user experience volunteer with the OpenEMR project, and also a volunteer for The Ladybug Movement.

Rachel founded Culture of Health+Tech Consulting in 2014 as an opportunity to conduct rigorous research and implementation in collaboration with other great women researchers, creatives, and designers. For more information about Rachel’s research projects and publications, check out: http://www.rachelceasar.com.

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