By Rex Huppke
WWR Article (tl;dr) Are you holding back who you really are from your co-workers? If you have fears about truly being your authentic self, you may want to consider the advice of Chris Edwards. His new memoir, “Balls: It Takes Some to Get Some,” comes out this October.
I believe it was Rex Huppke (ahem) who once wrote:
“When we lose fundamental aspects of our personalities, like acting tough when we’re innately gentle or keeping a quirky sense of humor at bay, our potential is limited. We are a less good version of ourselves.”
Wise words. (I can now check “start column by quoting self” off my bucket list.)
I return to the subject of letting your true colors show in the workplace after reading about Chris Edwards, a transgender man who used his marketing know-how to win over co-workers while he was transitioning to his authentic self.
Edwards’ story and his transition from female to male, which he announced to co-workers in 1995, a time when few even knew what “transgender” meant, is inspirational and instructional for people who want to show their true gender identity or sexual orientation at work.
But it goes beyond that. What he did is chart a course anyone could follow, a means of overcoming fears that the real you might not be embraced by co-workers.
“It’s like a marketing strategy come to life, only you use it on yourself,” Edwards told me. “Authenticity seems to be the term in corporate America. Everywhere you go, so many companies seem to be promoting this and wanting to bring people in, to encourage their employees to be themselves and look for ways where they can feel comfortable showing who they really are.”
It sounds easy enough, because that’s what many companies claim to want. But if there’s a part of you that you’ve never shared in a work setting, letting that out can be daunting.