Transitioning at work

Jen dressed as a cow

On my way to work, dressed as a cow

It’s been a year since I did the whole full-time thing, so I thought it might be about time to write a post about transitioning at work.

I know a lot of people who keep their work life and trans life separate, but when I did this I started to get frustrated and felt it was holding me back too much in my transition.  Making the change definitely wouldn’t be the easiest thing to do, but the desire to progress made me decide to push myself outside my comfort zone. 

I did need a few things to fall into place before I felt able to proceed however:

1) Being comfortable in my environment
I changed jobs in late 2013.  While I could probably have transitioned in my previous workplace, I don’t think I would have felt comfortable.  Starting the new job enabled me to be more open about myself, but even then it took me two years to feel comfortable enough to come to work as a girl.

2) Confidence
One of the problems with transitioning at work is that there is no place to hide.  I have up days and down days, everyone does.  But when I’d just gone full-time, and was lacking in confidence and full of self doubt, it would make it a lot worse that I was sitting in the office while feeling this way.  I waited to go full-time until after I had done a lot of other, smaller steps to build my confidence.

3) Expectations
I did try and reinforce the idea with my colleagues that I wasn’t a different person and didn’t need to be treated any differently.  All I was doing was changing my name, and then wearing clothes which would match that name a bit better.  Thinking about it in this way meant I wasn’t piling unmanageable amounts of pressure on myself to be something else.  I hope this attitude helped my colleagues adapt to the changes as much as it did me. 

Before I transitioned at work people used to tell me I shouldn’t be afraid and it’d soon feel normal.  That used to frustrate me a bit as I thought they clearly didn’t understand the fears that were in my head.  Funnily enough, if someone were to talk to me about it now I guess I’d say the same thing.  I couldn’t have imagined it with all the worrying I was doing beforehand, but after a few months it had stopped feeling different.  I can barely remember now how things were before!

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