He who shares his story of…

“One of them” they said!

The Story

I have worked in the mining industry for a long time and been around a few different companies. I work as an Electrician and I like my job.  I am good at my job and I just come to work and get on with what’s needed to be done.  I don’t get caught up in the gossip that happens at a mine site.  And let me tell you for those who don’t know our industry – there is gossip.

The reason I keep my head down and bum up is because I don’t want to get caught up in that gossip. Work is work and personal life is personal life. I don’t want people to talk to me about my personal life, so I don’t talk to them about their personal life.

Why am I like that? Because I am cold hearted and don’t care about anyone but myself?

I am quite the opposite actually.  My close family and friends would describe me as warm, caring and someone who can talk to anyone about everything, and in fact, someone who enjoys the chat.

Why am I not that person at work?

I am gay.  I have been with my partner for over 10 years now. Where I work today, I would be described as “one of them” and be cast aside from any opportunity or peace and quiet to be honest. At the moment, I put on a rough voice, I occasionally will say something expected of a butch man, and I might even laugh when I hear people say something about “one of them”.

I don’t get to be my authentic self at work.

The Message

Regardless of gender, race, age, disability, or sexual preference people should feel comfortable and safe in our workplaces.

For a workplace to be inclusive, people must feel like they can be their authentic selves without fear of being ridiculed or missing out on opportunities.

The culture must afford a psychologically safe place for people to feel that they can be their true self.

The Call to Action

Leaders need to establish a psychologically safe workplace, which they can do by being curious and vulnerable themselves.

It will take all workers in our industry to do their bit to make a culture completely inclusive. It can’t be just the leader that sets the scene here.