December 15, 2011

Another Shameless Plug and A Few of My Most Stressful Things

Following Kyle's trend from yesterday, I'm going to do a little shameless plug before getting into the real point of this post.

So, there's a discussion group for LGBTQ-identified men called Man to Man. Did you know that? Most first-years probably don't because we haven't had any meetings this semester. We had some logistical difficulties but we'll be back in full action next semester. Man to Man is a monthly discussion group for LGBTQ-identified men for us to discuss the issues we face and how they affect us. Topics that have come up are coming out, stereotypes, gender expression, and lots of others. The group is meant to help us foster a community that goes beyond the superficial conversations and give us a support network of other queer men that we know we can talk to. If you're interested, shoot me an email (ajb56@duke.edu) and keep your eyes open for specific details on meeting times.

Ok, plug done. Now, on to the real thing.

Thing 1:
It's the end of the first semester. I'm a senior. I'm applying for jobs. I'm gay. What does this have to do with anything? Well, when applying to jobs (or when I actually start *grunt of agony*), I need to be cognizant of the company's treatment of LGBTQ individuals. See, I've decided that I'm going to be gay in my applications. I'm going to list my involvement with the LGBTQ community here. I'm going to talk about it in interviews when asked. I hid who I was for close to 16 years of my life. I'm not hiding anymore. But my refusal to hide myself brings up another fear: an employer's refusal to hire me for not hiding who I am.

I've tormented myself about this for a few months. I could keep my sexuality quiet and not worry about it. But what about when I find a partner? What benefits would he be able to get? What if my secret is discovered and the company doesn't take it well? Then, I'm still out of a job. Whereas, if I'm upfront about my sexuality from the beginning, then once I do find a job that is accepting of me, I'm totally set and don't have to lie about what I did last weekend or something like that.

And yes, I am terribly worried that I will get turned away from jobs that I am highly interested in because of my sexuality. I am worried that I'm going to have a harder time securing a job than my straight counterparts (that could also be due to my psychology major compared to others' economics major *defeated sigh*). But you know what I've told myself? That's life. Life sucks sometimes. I wish it didn't and it's not fair that it sucks because I'm gay, but I'm not going to sit and cry about it. I'm going to boldly march on in search of the right job no matter what rejections I receive.

Thing 2:
Following Jenn's inspiration (Gosh, I'm such a follower. Maybe because I have such awesome people to inspire me :D), I'm going to have a conversation with my mom about my sexuality and life in general when I go home for break. We've never had an outright discussion about me being gay, only awkward, subtle suggestions of acceptance. But I think I'm at a point where I need to hear the words from her mouth. Me applying to jobs as an out gay man is basically putting business out there for all to know, and I'd like to have my mom's blessing, I guess. Her opinion still matters to me a lot. It doesn't mean I'm going to completely change at her suggestion but she's my mom. I love her so I want to know what she thinks.

Also, and here's the big reason this is stressing me out, I'm going to tell her about my boyfriend. I'm incredibly terrified thinking of how she's going to handle it. It could range from an uncomfortable, slow acceptance to rage and shouting. Both will most likely involve crying from both of us. I've always kept my personal life somewhat of a secret from my mom, even the names of my friends. She's always asked questions about my friends that I was never comfortable with, but that's a personal conversation to have, not a blog post. Suffice it to say that I had good reasons to be so private. Telling her about my boyfriend is going to be the first time I've opened up to her about the details of my personal life. That is stressful enough. The fact that it's about her gay son's boyfriend just takes it to another level.

I haven't decided when we're going to talk about it, probably the day before I come back to Duke. I don't want to do it too early because if things go sour, I'll have to deal with that for two weeks. But I also want to give her time to think it over and ask me all her questions before I'm like "Peace out, mom. See you in 5 months!".

So yeah, that's what's stressing me out right now. This final I have isn't helping *pained moan*. The only thing getting me through this week is the thought of being done and my awesome boyfriend :-)

2 comments:

  1. <3 <3 <3 You can do it, beautiful!

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  2. This was an interesting post, especially the commentary on the job market. I'm a senior in the same boat as you: gay, was looking for jobs for a while. It's interesting though, because although there are a ton of concerns about being LGBTQ in the workplace, I was very out in all of my applications, because I felt that it gave me a leg up in the process.

    Especially in finance and consulting (I can't speak for other industries, but I imagine things are relatively similar at other large firms), there are tons of LGBT-affinity groups. These groups are fantastic, because they offer a chance to network with executives and just have another support system. While concerns regarding general office culture are salient to me as well, I approached recruiting with the philosophy that I needed to somehow reach out to these affinity groups, and be as out as possible. LGBT recruiting is definitely alive and well, and can be extremely helpful in getting a job (insert OUBC plug here). If you're LGBTQ and interested in business, APPLY FOR THE OUT FOR UNDERGRADUATE EDUCATION BUSINESS CONFERENCE, and apply to have an OUBC mentor. Even if you don't want to do finance/consulting, OUBC gives students a good feel for how to be out in the workplace, and how to approach some of the issues that this blog post brings up.

    In today's politically correct-esque climate, I like to think that there would be very, very few firms and individual interviewers that would deny a qualified applicant a job because they're LGBTQ. Being LGBTQ gives people a distinct experience, usually involving challenges and some adversity at some point in their lives, so I think from an employers perspective it can simply be an illustration of the strength of an applicants character.

    Great post--sorry for the rambling comment!

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