People often ask me whether I like my job, or how it’s going. If I’m being polite, I say that my co-workers are nice, and it’s going well. It’s helping me to save money to pay for top surgery (on Friday!) and move back to Chicago. It’s steady, and I’m grateful to have a job in this economy. If I’m being more honest, it sounds something like this: it’s distressing, and it’s frustrating. Dealing with angry people makes me wither a little inside. I hate being called “ma’am.” I feel like I’m not contributing to the world. I almost feel like I’m someone else. Continue reading
I realize that when I discuss my former company, I still say “we,” as if I remain a part of it. Life is so much easier when you can wrap yourself within the veil of a big company’s identity. People assume that so much of what you do is who you are, and it’s easy to believe that yourself. There’s a stamp of worth that you get automatically by association.
— Kathleen Finn, The Sharper Your Knife, the Less You Cry
I don’t wrap myself in the “veil of a big company’s identity,” but I understand the sentiment nonetheless. So much of our identities comes from our jobs and the organizations to which we belong. I find myself still saying “we” and “us” when I speak about Bryn Mawr, or Genderqueer Chicago, or especially TJLP. It may be telling that I do not particularly identify with the job I currently have or the company for which I currently work, but despite the 400 miles and the over six months since I’ve been in the office, I still am deeply tied to TJLP. Continue reading
In the past four weeks at work, I have been called “ma’am,” “she,” or “Miss” (or “Diane” — really?) by roughly 140 different people on the phone. It’s frustrating, especially since it doesn’t feel as though my voice has been getting much lower in the past few weeks. And then I stumbled upon the video above in which Chris Colfer speaks about his voice on Lopez Tonight. The fact that people nearly always assume he’s a woman over the phone makes me feel so much better. Continue reading
As a queer, trans person of color, when I think of someone aiming abusive language at me, I immediately think of deeply hateful racist, homophobic, transphobic language. Words of sexual violence, people telling me that the world would be better off if I were dead, being told that I am less than human. I have not personally experienced that, but I know that others like me have, and so the potential for that is always in the back of my mind.
As irrational as it is, when I was told that I’ll just have to deal with abusive language at work, that’s what I thought of. Being called an idiot, or being yelled at because the person is frustrated with the company is one thing — something that will probably upset me, but something that I can deal with. But emotionally, it felt as though I were being told that I must deal with the rest, and that was unacceptable. Continue reading
At a little after 1:00 pm today, I passed my test at work! I’m now an actual employee. I suppose it’ll be more official once I’m eligible for things like the 401(k) plan, health insurance, and short-term disability, but I’ve now got my schedule for the rest of the quarter (1 – 10 pm, Monday through Friday), and it feels pretty real. Continue reading
Navigating new situations is nearly always a tricky thing, gender-wise. The past two weeks at the new job have been a bit mixed. Overall, it’s going well (more occasionally awkward than actually bad). I’m out, I think, although not in so many words — I haven’t directly said that I’m trans (no one’s asked), but I have stated that I prefer masculine pronouns in front of my entire training class. Continue reading
I was told on Friday that handling abusive language is simply part of the job. No rudeness or irritation or anything that isn’t strictly professional is allowed, and we can’t transfer the caller to a supervisor unless the person makes direct threats of violence — a pattern of either will lead to being fired. I can’t tell you how nervous and, well, unsupported that makes me feel. I’ve never been in a situation like that before, even though the rest of the people in the class seemed to take that as being pretty standard. Nowhere I’ve ever worked would have told me that I should just get used to be shouted and sworn at. I’m really not looking forward to training being over and having to actually start the job. Continue reading