Ok, friends. I’m a day late on this post but I was, frankly, emotionally spent and needed to collect my thoughts before writing this. I promised my experience coming out at work would be a new feature here and, oh my, is this post a doozy.
Yesterday, I had my first meeting with someone from my company’s HR department. We met at a coffee shop near our offices to allow for a little privacy. My HR rep is incredibly sweet and, despite only having one other interaction with her, I felt deep down this would go well.
After some light chit-chat, I segued (clumsily) into the purpose of our meeting. Immediately, she assured me that the company was behind me 1000%. That, however, was just the start.
The way it was framed went like this. Since this would be the first time anyone in my organization has transition, I was assured that I was not alone – we (both my colleagues and I) are taking this journey together. Needless to say, I had to breathe a little to keep my composure after hearing that.
It only gets more emotional from here, so grab a tissue for the rest of this.
After some back and forth on my timeline for going full time, my HR rep got real. She told me I would be her “special project”. Why? It’s personally important to her that she get this right. Any failure is not just a failure on the company, it’s a failure on everyone as people (her words, not mine). At this point, I’m fighting back tears…as was she. Finally, we both let ourselves get a little misty before composing ourselves and walking back towards our offices. (I can’t imagine what a casual party thought seeing two people have this genuine moment of mutual empathy would’ve thought).
Walking back to our offices, I offered any help I could in making this easier for the company. This includes referring them to a few friends in HR that have helped people transition in the workplace before. I also assured her that my easy-going nature would still stay intact so I was free to answer any questions anyone has (within reason).
I ended the day with two thoughts as the day went on:
- I am incredibly fortunate that every person I’ve come across in my journey has been supportive. I don’t know what I did to be this fortunate. (Damn it, I’m welling up just typing that!)
- Regardless of what & how my colleagues may feel about my transition, I know that I have the support where it counts.
Until next time, be good to one another, and be open to compromise. Life is too short to do otherwise.