As the next generation of workers identifies as LGBT+ at a percentage much higher than any generation before, it’s important to look at the state of the work environment and how we can safely fit into it.
Younger generations of workers are demanding change, human decency, and respect. It’s one of the driving forces behind The Great Resignation, a phenomenon we’ve seen develop since the beginning of the pandemic, in which droves of workers quit their jobs to find better conditions elsewhere.
With Generation Z and younger millennials talking more and more about mental health issues and identifying more and more as LGBT+, discussing the state of work environments for LGBT+ professionals and professionals with physical and mental differences is key to our communities’ long-term success.
But what we can do is discover our personal boundaries and honor them throughout our careers.
What does it even mean to explore personal boundaries?
Boundaries are a part of every aspect of our lives. For example, maybe you don’t like being touched, so you can vocally express this boundary by telling someone “I don’t like hugs,” when you’re saying hi or bye to someone.
Some people will totally respect that, others, unfortunately, will not. Discovering and honoring boundaries is a life-long skill that we learn how to enforce for each individual situation.
But no matter what, boundaries are essential for our individual survival because it allows us to give more of ourselves to things we actually care about instead of spending energy doing things others want us to do.
Work boundaries can be some of the hardest boundaries to apply, because of the rigid work culture we have in the United States. Whether it’s the strict 9 to 5 life or the arbitrary sense of urgency we place on, say, an analytics report––as if the world will end if it’s not submitted by 3 pm on a Tuesday.
America’s corporate work culture is stifling if you’re not built for it.
When that rigid work culture is the one we’re brought up in, it’s no wonder that more and more people are suffering from mental illness!
And it’s also no wonder that the next generation of workers is demanding change. Advocate associations like Pride and Joy are doing a great job of doing the education that a lot of us individuals are too exhausted to do––providing information to the corporate world in order to make it a little bit more tolerable for LGBT+ folks. An example of such education can be found on the Marketing by Rocio blog, a post written by Pride and Joy’s very own Elena Joy about how to create and support Pride Employee Resource Groups in your company.
So how do you employ boundaries in a rigid work culture? Below are some tips:
Turn off your work-related notifications when you’re off the clock.
Unless you’re getting paid to work for that time, your job shouldn’t be getting your attention at all.
Find a community of other LGBT+ and/or neurodivergent people to build your professional network around. Now more than ever you can find online professional spaces that will allow you to be yourself while developing professionally in a way that’s authentic to you.
Everyone has their own unique boundaries, and it’s completely okay to take the time to explore them. It might take weeks or even years, but that’s what life-long growth is all about––patience and curiosity.
And if you’re curious about how to build a strong LinkedIn profile or how to network with more confidence as a queer professional, or if you know someone that may be interested in these workshops, feel free to check out and share the sign-up page here.
About the Author: Rocio Sanchez is a multicultural brand strategist and multilingual digital marketing expert who helps queer entrepreneurs and entrepreneurs of color take up space in the fashion industry. They grew up between New York City and the Dominican Republic and are now based in Amsterdam, Netherlands.