Wednesday, September 21, 2016

A Friendly Little Chat with HR

So, I'm going to write this post in little spurts as I go through this. There might not be pictures involved. This will be a weird post, okay, that's all I'm saying. It might just be text. I don't know yet. Think of it like a mini-blog within a larger blog. Meta as hell, right? Okay. Anyway. Here goes.

This is the story of me coming out to HR so that I can come to work as a woman.

My meeting with HR is scheduled for 3:30pm today, Wednesday, September 21st, 2016. 


Wednesday, September 21st, 2016. 1:42pm, EST. 
Mostly I'm hoping I don't cry in the meeting. At lunch the Lorde song "Bravado" came on my random mix. That actually made me tear up a little bit. Especially this bit: "I was frightened of  / every little thing that I thought was out to get me down / To trip me up and laugh at me." 

It's a good song.



And I need some courage right now. My hands are shaking a little bit. I'm definitely reminded of the time I went and flew on a plane for the first time as a woman and took a trip, living as a girl for a while. I was nervous as hell but it worked out okay. It was a fun experience and I'm glad I had it. It was an important step and yes, it made me nervous as hell.

That's where I am now. Nervous as hell. I hope I don't cry. And I also hope I don't throw up.

Wednesday, September 21st, 2016. 2:03pm, EST. 
Right now I'm trying to remember that I'm out as transgender to many former coworkers. When I'm a job it seems like the most terrifying thing ever for people to know I'm trans. Then when I leave the job it suddenly doesn't matter any more. Trying to remember that.

Wednesday, September 21st, 2016. 2:32pm, EST. 
You know how before an execution, you sit there in the Walls Unit next to the execution chamber and you just wait. I bet that's a weird feeling.

Wednesday, September 21st, 2016. 2:52pm, EST. 
Time to go for a walk around the little mall in my building's lobby. The sight of woman in professional outfits will get my jealousy raging and give me a little courage and motivation. 

Wednesday, September 21st, 2016. 3:13pm, EST. 
Head of HR strolled past my desk and asked "You got time now?" Sure. Well, here goes nothing.

Wednesday, September 21st, 2016. 4:03pm, EST. 
Well, I had my first meeting with HR. It went, in a word, well. 

So, this might be disjointed because I didn’t have a plan and also because I’m writing down things as I remember them. 

As I went in I was shaking and I could barely stop my own nervous laughter. I really hate my nervous laughter. It's something that I just can't help. In really tense situations I crack up and I hate it. Yes, I laughed and couldn't stop for a second. Then I managed to overcome it.

The whole time the HR lady was like “It’s okay, it’s okay.”

Finally, managed to stammer out “I’m transgender, and hoping we could start a dialogue about my coming out at work.”

“Okay,” she said in a cool, reassuring manner “It’s not the first time I’ve had this conversation.” 

We talked about my plan, which is something I didn’t really have thought out well. That kind of made the meeting a little haphazard. I probably should have come to her with a detailed plan worked out. It’s so not like me to fail to have a plan. I’m fairly meticulous when it comes to planning. It’s more like me to have had a spreadsheet ready. Ah well, chalk that up to nerves. But, life pro tip for people who plan on having this conversation with HR; have a plan ready. Makes the conversation go more smoothly.

She asked if I was having surgery and all that, to which I replied “eventually, probably.” She explained that there would need to be conversations with staff, training about how to act and treat me. She asked about bathrooms which is one big thing that makes me nervous. I said “I didn’t want to make anyone uncomfortable,” because that’s true but also because I didn’t want to declare “I’ll pee wherever the hell I wanna pee!” I’d love to have single use restrooms.

And she said “we’re all New Yorkers, it’s 2016, this won’t be a big deal to people.” And I hope so. There will be training for staff, and things like that, and that’ll involve the EEO people. It’s just gonna be a thing for a while. At least for me. She said this will be to help stop the stupid questions, since people will ask stupid questions. You can’t, she said, come in with a new haircut and not get stupid questions.

I told her that I was in the process of physical changes and that I was also in the process of changing my name legally and changing the gender marker on my driver’s license. That’s my next stage and she said she’s going to talk to my boss and to the big boss about this. That kind of scares me, but I’m going to have to be coming out to everyone soon, so I guess that’s unavoidable. At least I don’t have to have that conversation. 

And she reassured me that I was a respected employee who did a good job and people knew that. And that they’d respect Faith and treat her the same way.

And I said I wanted to start coming in as me, around mid-November, which would give me time to get all my paperwork in order.

I showed her a pic on my phone and she said that all the women in the office are going to have to step up their game.

So, I’m still terrified. But at least one step is out of the way.
 

11 comments:

  1. Omg, awesome! I'm glad it went as well as it did! Congrats! Brick by brick ;)

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  2. congratulations, you are extremely brave. I am sure by the end of the year you will be fitting in very nicely at work.

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  3. Congratulations! I wish you smooth sailing for the rest of your trip.

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  4. Congratulations. One small step at a time is the best way to move from stodgy guy shoes to that fabulous pair of pumps.
    Good luck.
    Pat

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  5. Relieved to hear it went so well for you. One giant leap for your womanhood.
    Consult your doctor about beta blockers taken just before stressful interviews to reduce hand tremors and nervousness. These are prescription items used primarily for heart conditions but have few side effects. But don't be dumb enough to take them without consulting your doctor simply because you read it on the net.
    Congratulations Faith.
    Geraldine

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    1. Thanks, Geraldine. I had a psychiatrist diagnose me with Generalized Anxiety Disorder. Of course he had only met me for 45 minutes when he made that claim, so I do tend to take it with a grain of salt. But I just watched a new SciShow video about Beta Blockers and thought trying them might be interesting.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zYqU3aquF9E

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  6. Relieved to hear it went so well for you. One giant leap for your womanhood.
    Consult your doctor about beta blockers taken just before stressful interviews to reduce hand tremors and nervousness. These are prescription items used primarily for heart conditions but have few side effects. But don't be dumb enough to take them without consulting your doctor simply because you read it on the net.
    Congratulations Faith.
    Geraldine

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  7. Oh that whole exercise must have been nerve wrecking, it is quite palpable from the blog post!
    At least that is over and done, more and more getting rid of all these secrets... Take care!

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  8. Love the comment that the GG's in your office will have to step up their game ...you can be their fashion guru . Amazingly well done , something I could never envisage doing myself xx

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  9. All I can say is "Brava, Faith!" You overcame what must have seemed an enormous obstacle, and now you will proceed and _succeed_.

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