Tomorrow marks the start of my new job — the first full-time, non-internship, non-temporary job I’ve ever had. In some ways, I’m eager to start: the sooner I start, the sooner twelve months will be up, and I’ll be able to search for jobs in Chicago. It will also be good to adjust to the new schedule and to have an income again (especially with the job market as it is). At the same, I’m nervous for a lot of reasons. I’m worried about coming out; I’m worried that I won’t do well; I’m worried simply because it’s the first day, and I don’t know what to expect. Above all, though, I’m anxious because it’s so different from what I want to be doing with my life (and I’m an idealistic recent college grad who wants to change the world).
The job is for a Fortune 500 company; it employs well over a quarter-million people. The company’s huge. In other words, it’s pretty much the opposite of a handful of radical, queer transfolk trying to transform the world. It involves business casual drag, as my friend calls it. It is not the kind of place where you bring your whole self to the table (that would be irrelevant at best, possibly inappropriate and alienating).
I worry about coming out at trans because I’m just not good at it. At the same time, I’m not going to be in the closet for the next year. I just couldn’t do that. And anyway, it’s not like I could — in a matter of months, even if I don’t say anything, they’ll probably be able to tell that something’s up (thanks to the T working its magic).
I also have a lot of stress regarding how, or whether, the job will affect my politics. I don’t want to change in order to fit in. I want to remain radical and faggy and abolitionist and so many other things, but that’s not necessarily what should be out at this job. And so that’s forty-five hours a week of slipping into this other persona that glosses over things that are deeply important to me. Can I do it? Yes. Will I do it? It appears I’ll have to. I just wish that things were different.
The trip back to Chicago was really good for me, for all that the desire to move back is fresher and sharper than it was just a week ago. I may not have refueled much in the way of sleep, but I feel refreshed and recharged — a wealth of good conversation and time with people I care about replenished my emotional reserves and will help me through the upcoming months. Being back in Chicago also reminded what I’m working for — where I’m working toward — and remembering that the job will help me back to Chicago should make it easier to handle.