This is ME!
As a member of the Army Reserves from 1987-1998, I lived through the “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” period within our military history. It was a time in my life where I literally could not “bring my whole self to work”. If I did, I would be discharged.
Can you imagine a time in your life where you couldn’t be who you truly are?
Luckily, I now work for a company where I am encouraged to bring my whole, true, authentic self to work. National Grid.
I am Adrienne Jones, a Black and Latina woman. I identify as lesbian, married to my wife Patricia for 6 years. I am a veteran, and also mom to two adorable fur babies. This is me!
I bring my whole self to work every day by being proud of who I am, talking with others about my life, and having the willingness to engage in courageous conversations that drive Inclusion & Diversity at National Grid.
I sometimes work in high pressure and dangerous situations, where safety is a top priority. By being true to who you are, you can then share with others – which leads to building trust, collaboration, respect, and commitment. By doing this my team has created an environment where everyone feels safe, included, and respected.
There are some challenges to being your authentic self at work. This could mean coming out over and over again. We have all dealt with being stereotyped, been afraid of being socially isolated, or felt the shame and indignity of past experiences creep into our current situation. But we must push past these fears, put one foot in front of the other, and understand that being your whole, true, authentic self can be a liberating experience that enables us to be productive, be effective collaborators, and become inclusive leaders.
If you are struggling, my advice to you would be to start with one person. Find someone you trust and reveal to them who you truly are. Then share with another person, and another. Pretty soon, you won’t have to feel as if you have to hide behind a mask of what isn’t you. After a while you won’t even have to think about bringing your whole self to work, your authentic self just takes over, and you just be you.
It’s a beautiful thing to be able to be who you truly are at work. Thank you to National Grid and my Greenpoint warehouse family for creating the space for me to be ME.