Reply To: Advice for transition at work

DeeAnn Hopings


Over the course of my career, I was on MANY construction sites and in MANY machine shops. By and large the culture is pretty much as you said. The only thing that helped me was that I came out about 4 months before I retired. Since then, I’ve come to understand how really fortunate I was in that regard.

I retired from Corning, Inc. after have been employed there for 23 years. Early on we brought in a husband and wife team of diversity consultants to do a series of workshops; primarily for women and minorities. The idea was to help people understand the environments in which they worked from a cultural viewpoint and how to successfully navigate them. The husband was an electrical engineer and his wife had a background in social work. Great people and I have always considered them as friends because of how they treated me and what I learned from them. Sadly the wife passed away a couple of years ago.

During one of the sessions one of the women in the group talked about what others in her work group thought of her and that she worried about it. The reply was swift and woman to woman. It was something that I will probably never forget. She said: “If they are not f+++ing you, feeding you or funding you, there is no reason to listen to what they have to say.”. 20+ years later I still chuckle at that. To me it was something akin to nice guy Clark Kent going into the phone booth and coming out as BadAss Superman! It also reinforced to me that for many things, the delivery is as important as the message. Translated to your situation, it means that a fair amount of conscious thought is needed as you have some significant road blocks in your way. There are some things to care about and some things not. How you fashion the message will allow some to hear it, but many others will always be tone deaf. I have every confidence that what has carried you this far in the business world will continue to stand you in good stead.

I totally agree with what you said: “Haters are gonna hate” as the song says. It is all they know how to do. Sad, though, because they miss out on the richness that the world has to offer. However, the realization is that while we can fix some things, we cannot fix everything. Those folks will just have to figure out things on their own. Some will, but most won’t.

So, onward and upward!

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