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I recently transitioned at work after 18 years at the same company. I have had at least one coworker I could confide in the majority of the time there. I have had long hair, worn jewelry, etc. to work for years, but still was officially male. There were several times I was ready to and chickened out, but finally made the leap this year and got my markers at work changed!
So it has been interesting adjusting to the new dynamics of being a woman in the workplace. I hold the same position that I did prior to transitioning but there are some noticeable differences in how I am treated. Some maybe because my transition is still new and people are trying to make me feel included, and some just because it is how women are treated. It’s hard to tell what part is what.
The most notable one to me is the constant references to how I am dressed. It used to be, “[dead name] has been working hard on this project and has an update.” Now I get introduced in meetings by my appearance. “Kaiya, who is rocking an awesome sweater, has something for us.” It’s an interesting dynamic I am still getting used to. I noticed that my manager, (also a woman,) does it to all the women in the company. It’s affirming in someways and distracting in others.
I have also seemed to switched sides of social interactions. I no longer get invited to lunch with the guys in R&D. But I have been asked about a girls night and shopping trips. That is pretty new to me as well. Most of my girlfriends outside of work are tomboys, so talk of fashion and make up have not made it into my life until now.
Emotionally, there has been an adjustment as stress makes me tear up when I could press it down before. This worries me, because I made the argument that I would be more pleasant on the job once transitioning. I’ve gotten advice about feeling the emotion, instead of denying it, and finding good places to cry when needed, which seems to help. It does make me worry about being taken seriously and worry it may keep me from some projects because I look like I can’t handle it.
For the most part, I haven’t seen it affect my standing in the company too much; but I am wondering how others have felt that shift of having a new set connection networks at work or elsewhere. How has transitioning on the job had an effect on your career? How have you adjusted to being on a new rung of the social ladder?
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