Diversity and Inclusion

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We had our annual training on diversity and inclusion at work last week.  My thoughts turned more towards inclusion because of my current status at work.  Like I mentioned before, I basically got sucked up a level in the org chart because they removed a layer of leadership.  I’ve got the same position and roughly the same group and the same responsibilities but, because my box changed, they suddenly want me to feel extra special.  Only problem is they are doing it in the only way they know how and it doesn’t apply to me.

Like this small thing – got an email from someone wanting a short bio of me because one of the muckity mucks wants to put out a communication introducing all of the department to their new “leaders”.  Of course, since I’m kind of in this position because they couldn’t really find another place to stash me, the message only got to me after a couple of weeks probably when someone looked at the new org chart and said “who’s this guy?”.  Guess we better include him.

I’m not saying this is a bad thing and I see reasons for doing this, but the focus is on what I do and that is not who I am.  Well, it is a part of who I am but it is just a small part of the whole.

I’m a dancer.  I know how to Waltz, Fox Trot, Tango, Viennese Waltz, Argentine Tango, Peabody, Cha-Cha, Rumba, East Coast Swing, Bolero, Mambo, West Coast Swing, Country Two Step, Country Waltz, Hustle and I can even do a little Salsa every now and then.

I’ve done routines in many of these dances and found out I generally love performing.  I’ve worn costumes that would be even be out of place on a casual Friday.

I’ve a dog lover.  I’m a bird watcher.  I feed birds around my house.  I also feed the raccoons that have hung around.  I’m a nature lover but not a camper.  My speed is walks in the woods.  I love zoos and we make it a habit of seeing zoos and any other animal things we can while on vacation.

I support multiple animal rescue organizations.  Several are for dogs and cats but I also support a rabbit sanctuary because we had a wonderful pet rabbit when we first got married.  I support an elephant sanctuary because I love elephants.

I love music of all kinds from hair metal to 80’s synth pop to country to classical to big band.  Some of our happiest summer nights are spent outdoors at a local place listening to our symphony.

I love fog.  I love walking in fog.  I sometimes think I can walk into a fog bank and disappear.  I love spring and summer but not so crazy about fall or winter.

I read a lot.  I’m partial to action (spy vs spy stuff).  But I also read a lot of young adult stuff.  But I tend to get too caught up in the characters so when bad things happen, it can make me sad.

I’m a blogger.  I write my reactions to all sorts of things because I don’t really have a lot of people I’d trust sharing this stuff with.  Plus, most of them wouldn’t understand.  Not that all of you understand my rants but some of you get some of what I’m saying and that’s good enough for me.

I’m an introvert who generally hates talking about myself.  Which is a bit ironic given what I just went through but writing is different.  Writing is one sided.  I can ramble on here without being interrupted and, for the most part, you guys are judgy.  You may be but so far it doesn’t show up in the comments.  Face to face, I can see the other person’s reactions and I know who is generally interested and who isn’t.  If you ain’t interested, I ain’t going to say anything to you.  Just the way I’m wired.

When you get into the upper layers of management, I would guess that a lot of workplaces are overpopulated with ENTJ and ESTJ types.  The ones who like to spend all their time in meetings developing plans and strategies and contingencies.  People who love to hear themselves talk and who talk over each other to get air time because they want their version to carry the day.  Competitive, direct, logic driven.  How inclusive is that to an introvert?  The idea of sitting in a room for a day to discuss this stuff makes me want to gag.  That’s not my skill set.  I’m the guy who can react and adapt when your well made plans blow up in your face because you all fell in line behind the loudest talker.

Oh and those ENTJ and ESTJ are all about the networking.  Every one of those meetings would start with some kind of breakfast mix and mingle which is literally hell on earth for us Introverts.  When forced to do it, I usually grab some coffee and go sit down and pretend to be checking important messages on my phone.  Just another way the business world is generally not inclusive for introverts.  See, we have two choices.  Force ourselves to mingle which drains energy we’ll need to get through the rest of the day.  Or take the way out of pretending to check messages which just makes you appear anti-social.  Actually, I forgot the third option which is to just arrive late and grab a seat right as things start.

Just so you know, I’m rambling like this because I’ve had a couple of these type sessions already.  Fortunately, they’ve been short.  There is supposed to be some kind of off site meeting the first week in May but, luckily, I have an appointment to get my knee looked at and I’m going to miss it.  I told them I couldn’t reschedule the appointment and it was booked before the meeting was.  It actually gave me a lot of anxiety thinking about having to sit there and pretend to be interested so I’m glad I’m out.  The problem is that if they do now see me as part of some lead time by virtue of where my box sits on the org chart, then I’ll probably have more of these in the future and I won’t be able to get out of all of them.

Like I said, I don’t like talking about work but I thought I’d spell a little bit about what’s been going there because it bleeds over into other things.

And the funny thing is that the people in boxes above me on the org chart think they are being inclusive by allowing me to attend things like this.  It is like that lunch I had to attend the other day.  Getting face time with a high priest of the job was supposed to be something special.  Problem is that I don’t put a lot of stock in titles and positions and I’ve never been a ladder climber so it was more of an anxiety inducing thing than a perk.

Look, work is work.  It is what I do to pay the bills.  I enjoy the people I work with.  I believe in the stuff we make.  Normally, that is enough to allow me to take all the other BS and just ignore it or mock it.  The problem is that I’m getting the sense that it is going to be harder to do that in the future which will likely make work a whole lot less fun.


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