I’ve been laid off twice in my career. The first time was about two years after I graduated from college. I was working at VisualCV, an online resume startup. Then, the recession happened. Bye, bye dream job.
I was 23, carefree, and adventurous. My lease happened to end about 2 weeks after my last day. I could go anywhere. Do anything. So one day, I opened Monster.com, and I typed “social media jobs.” I promised myself I would move wherever I saw the most social media jobs.
The result: Boston, MA. So, I packed my bags. The real twist on this story? I accepted a social media job at Monster.com. No shit.
I was in one of the most liberal states in the country. Still, I wasn’t out yet at work. For one thing, I didn’t look like I do now when I was 23, and I’m not just talking about the wrinkles. I had shoulder-length curly hair. I forced myself to dress “like a girl.”
I lied every day. I changed pronouns, names, everything to try and convince my team I was straight.
Fast-forward 5 years.
At 28, I was laid off for the second time. This time I was not carefree or adventurous. I was laid off 3 days before I spent my entire savings on a new house. A week before my now ex-wife asked for a divorce. Oh, and I now lived in one of the most conservative states in the US: Tennessee.
I remember thinking I would never get a job with my short, boy’s haircut and tomboy style. I look gay. I can’t hide. But more significant than that, I didn’t want to. I spent almost 25 years of my life in hiding. Never again.
Six weeks into my job search panic, Matt Charney gave me a call about a marketing gig. The rest, as they say, is history. I got a remote job without anyone ever seeing my haircut or wondering who I loved.
But I’m the exception, not the rule. Nearly two-thirds of LGBTQ Americans report experiencing discrimination in their everyday lives. It is completely legal. It happens to people every single day.
This week, the Supreme Court started to discuss what that means and determine if that’s ok. I guess I think the answer is obvious. Work should be a place where anyone, emphasis on anyone, can thrive if they work hard. No one should have to hide because of who they are and who they love.
Job postings should be a story we can all imagine living, whether you’re trans, straight, gay, or anything else. That’s what I wrote about this week. 2 more links you should check out down there, too.
CEO, Three Ears Media