Man in the Mirror – Bringing My Whole Self to Work

Man in the Mirror – bringing my whole self to work.

Putting “pen to paper” to write this blog has taken quite a while! I’ve written, rewritten, and rephrased the first sentence a number of times… only to hear myself eventually say… ENOUGH – be brave and just start writing!

Me, myself and I 

Coming out as Gay has been a topsy turvey kind of journey over the past 4 years. I have learnt so much about my support network both in work and in my personal friendship group. I am thoroughly enjoying learning about the “new Des”. Over the past few years, I have had a number of difficult conversations with my family and close friends in revealing my true identity. I have been extremely fortunate to have the support and love to help me come to terms with my sexuality from my family and friends.  

There was one piece of the jigsaw however…that I had not conquered until I joined EY a year ago. I never felt comfortable with letting people know about the real Des in work. I was not comfortable in myself to disclose that personal information to other colleagues before. In work, I constantly found myself trying to remember what I told colleagues I was doing at the weekend – trying to maintain the “straight” persona that I wanted them to believe. It was rather stressful making up stories – trying to recall who I was with at the weekend or who I was out with. It was like having an affair with myself….  

Bringing my whole self to work

By working in an organisation where diversity and inclusivity is celebrated, I feel that I am able to bring all of me to work… not a quarter, not a half… the whole Des! Being in EY has made it easier to let my colleagues know who I really am. EY has a strong policy on diversity and inclusivity and I have felt comfortable and secure in disclosing my identity to the teams I work in.

Diversity rocks

Diverse teams are stronger teams. I am an employee who strives to do my best in work, deliver on time, be a mentor, be a manager and be an inclusive team member. I feel that by being able to be myself in the workplace, it enables me to give back to the team with full commitment to my client. Honesty is the best policy, and learning this over the past year has enabled me to grow in my own ability and confidence.

Change is afoot – bring it on

Management Consultancy has made a start to embrace diversity, but I believe that as an industry we have only explored the tip of the iceberg in embracing LGBT+ matters in the workplace. I understand the sensitivities associated on bringing our whole selves to work, but we need to work together as a wider community with our wider network (including partner firms and clients) to create a safe place where people can thrive.

People who are coming to terms with being LGBT+ will be in various stages of their own personal journey. However, organisations need to ensure that they have a safe haven for those who are ready to disclose their sexuality to their colleagues and clients without prejudice or bias. For those of us who have embrace our whole self, there is opportunity for us to be brave in telling our stories and help create an environment where others feel safe to bring their whole selves to work…And in some way help and inspire others to do the same.

Earlier this year the MCA launched the year of diversity. I am delighted to be part of this instrumental initiative as I am passionate about diversity in the workplace. I am looking forward to seeing the positive change and impact it will have on the Industry as a whole.

Twitter: @dbldecker1