She Works Hard for the Money

 

I love Estradiol patch change out day! I’m happy on the in-between days as well, but I always look forward to the new patch. This isn’t a post about my HRT, it’s going along with the expected breasts feeling “full”, aches of puberty, soft skin, etc. I’m not trying to downplay the changes and how thrilled I am, I would just rather give 6-month updates instead of every little change you have heard over and over by others. I will quietly be thrilled and giddy. (I just now had one of my friends at work, who knows about me, suggest that I may want to get a sports bra soon because my breasts are really starting to become pronounced. Feels good and awkward at the same time.)

 

I have been contemplating my coming out at work during my transition. I want to do things the right way and in the right order. It is easy to say, “these are the steps”. But unfortunately, it’s not always that easy. I must get my name change process started, but that can take a long time in North Carolina, even after I’m out at work. There is no guarantee that they will approve my name change and I will be stuck. So, it’s not always going to go by the numbers. I still like the idea of just sliding into coming out at work, like one day they just notice there is a woman working at this desk, wondering what ever happened to the guy. It won’t work that way, life isn’t easy that way.

I have read up on the many ways to transition at work, how to come out at work. Generally, they are just telling you the basic steps that only deal with the meetings with HR and Management, dealing with personnel. It is somehow our onus to “teach” others about what transgender means and how to work out a bathroom arrangement. I understand this, I don’t like that I must instruct adults on anything about my personal life, I suppose I will count myself lucky if they don’t confuse gender with sexual desire. Even so, I’m not exactly sure how to come out at work, yes, a little of my hesitation is having to deal with those I know for a fact will not accept me, but a lot of it is my need to do things right the first time. I am afraid, I don’t want to lose my job even though I don’t particularly like working here, I hate looking for new jobs and it’s made more complicated by including my transition in the deal. “Hello, I am Elizabeth but my name on my paperwork is [deadname], I’m a transgender woman and I am in the middle of transitioning… So, what duties can I expect with this position?” I’m seeing awkward all over the place.

I used to hire for Best Buy, which granted, was retail and not corporate-level positions, but I hired for entire stores and I never kept the applications of those who presented complicated lives during the interview. Granted, I never had a transition mentioned, but if their story was complicated, I couldn’t afford to make troubled choices for employment. I am now a complicated story, I’m also not protected for employment in any way. I’m over the age of easy employment and my skillsets are geared towards the company for which I have worked 18 years. So, I am worried about keeping this job or getting a new one in which, I would not be making anything close to what I am making now. I’m not just worried for myself, I’m not alone in this. I have a wife who works, but is a middle school teacher so her job is always on the block year to year. I have kids, one that lives with us to go to college and another who is in high school. We have a house that we fought long and hard in which to get a loan. So, mortgage and upkeep expenses factor into our budget. The cost of transitioning isn’t cheap, the insurance I have isn’t great but it’s better than nothing at all. I have a lot of things to worry about, should coming out at work go askew.

Coming out to family and friends, while stressful wasn’t going to cause the possible loss of our home. My coming out at work can cause a domino effect of loss, so there is stress and worry here like nothing else I have felt. I’m worried I will do it wrong or every outcome of doing it right will result in a negative outcome. I am a worst-case scenario planner, but it’s hard to plan for unknown variables. I am counting heavily on the fact that my company is German owned and they tend to be a bit more progressive about things. So, perhaps if things go sideways I can appeal to the parent company.

I am not going to let my fears stop me from doing what I need to do to be me full time. I can’t be that guy anymore, that mask I have worn and now continue to have to put it on for 10 hours a day, 5 days a week, is still too much. It is my fault for wearing the mask for such a long time, so that now people expect the mask and anything genuine is considered out of place.

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