3 Tips for Finding Meaningful Work with LGBTQ+ Affirming Organizations
Finding the right job or career is a challenge shared by many, but it can be even more challenging for LGBTQ+ job seekers due to societal, legal, and cultural factors. Since we spend much of our day working, it is important to reflect on the satisfaction you gain from your career. For LGBTQ+ individuals, this satisfaction, in part, can be gained from sharing your authentic self with colleagues. The search for meaningful work is an intricate part of an individual’s happiness. Below are 3 tips to get the job of your dreams in an LGBTQ+ affirming organization.
Assess if you desire to be out at work
Being open with your sexual orientation or gender identity at work can be a daunting challenge, fraught with anxiety about whether or not you will be accepted by colleagues or supervisors (or even hired). However, bringing your full, authentic self to work can help relieve the daily stress of hiding a major part of who you are. At the same time, however, you likely do not want to put your job security or promotional potential at risk. This is a highly personal decision, so here are some questions to ask yourself if you are ready to be out at work.
- Do I want my professional life to be an extension of -or- completely separate from my personal life?
- How likely am I to want to share details about my weekends, vacations, and social life with my colleagues?
- Is it important to my partner and I that colleagues know we are a couple? Do we want to attend company events together?
- If I choose to be out at work, would I feel more unified with my team? Would I be supported by my supervisor?
Research if the company or organization has LGBTQ+ policies
While the battle for LGBTQ+ equality is far from over, over the past decade there have been major, positive shifts in many US workplaces regarding creating a more accepting, inclusive workplace. However, it is important to do your research when applying to an organization to see what their non-discrimination policies are. While many states and cities have non-discrimination ordinances that protect employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and/or gender identity, many do not (Houston, sadly, is one that does not). Here are some questions to ask yourself when evaluating a potential employer.
- Is there a formal, written non-discrimination policy for the organization?
- Check if the policy specifically states that it covers sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression?
- Does the organization have insurance options or other benefits that would cover domestic partners?
- Does the organization’s health coverage options cover gender affirmation costs (ex. Hormone replacement, hormone blockers, gender affirmation surgery?
Determine whether your team, department, and/or manager is LGBTQ+ friendly
While nondiscrimination policies are helpful, that does not mean that just because an organization has one on the books, that you will feel accepted or included in your direct team or department. Finding out this information can be difficult prior to an in-person interview. However, with so many social media platforms and organizational review sites, including LinkedIn and Glassdoor, you can hopefully do some sleuthing before you step foot in the door.
- Are there other LGBTQ+ employees who are out at the organization?
- Are there members of upper management who openly identify as a member of the LGBTQ+ community?
- Do team members reflect the diversity of the city in which I live?
- Does the organization have pro-LGBTQ+ lobbying efforts visible, or does the organization make financial contributions to pro-LGBTQ+ causes?
Being out at work has the potential to make you a more productive worker. This new version of yourself can even bring admiration from your colleagues! However, the choice is yours and yours alone to make. The LGBTQ+ affirming counselors at Eddins Counseling Group can help you explore your LGBTQ+ identity and your career aspirations. Give us a call today at 832-559-2662 or book an appointment online.
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