Transitioning - It's not what you will e ...

Transitioning - It's not what you will expect

Sep 11, 2022

The word transitioning gets thrown around a lot these days. As we as a community have become more visible it has entered the public lexicon to such an extent that it has become almost exclusively associated with us. Let’s be honest when was the last time you heard the conventional use of that word like ‘transitioning into a new role’?

Yet, somehow while the term has become more mainstream and become associated with us, it has also managed to lose all meaning along the way. People tend to think it is short-hand for saying ‘Bob, who had a penis is now Betty and we are not quite sure about the penis part’. Let me just tell you that transitioning involves a lot more than a physical transformation.

If I were to succinctly describe transitioning it would be something along the lines of ‘transitioning is a journey from being an unhappy person who is dissatisfied with their life to being a happy person who is in love with their life’.

Unfortunately, being succinct while convenient also glosses over a lot of details. Yes, everyone focuses on the physical aspect of it but there is so much more involved. Estrogen is a heck of a drug and it can have some unexpected effects. People who may have had a latent attraction to men or women but were mostly straight or gay otherwise, suddenly start to find the opposite team attractive.

But something that tends to get lost in the shuffle is our professional lives. Yes, transition does affect our personal lives and our physical appearance but we also have another side to ourselves and that’s what this post is about and yes, the girl who has been bitching about her boss on social media off late is now going to talk about her job.

While it’s true that a lot of people stay in their jobs post their transition, a lot of people do leave their old professional lives behind. Unsurprisingly, the Bureau of Labor Statistics doesn’t track these numbers. So, this will be more personal and less data driven.

I can only tell you my story. Before my transition I was a software engineer. I didn’t work for a FAANG company and frankly I was a pretty awful employee. I bounced around a few towns in Virginia for about 7 years. To me software engineering was a way to get out of my hometown and make some money and by those parameters it was a roaring success. Never even got close to making a big name company in Silicon Valley.

I was pretty miserable and I decided that if I wanted to go from being a maladjusted man to being a happy woman, I needed to change more than my appearance I also needed to change my professional life. This isn’t really a choice for most transwomen and I recognize my privilege at having that choice. I was paid well and I invested well and I could not only afford the costs of transition I could also afford to go back to school and learn a different trade.

And so, all of 31 years old, I went to UNC Asheville. They have an accelerated program over there and I got my BSN a year later. However, it was also around this time that I got into a toxic relationship and lost most of my money supporting an asshole.

So, at 32 with no money, I restarted my career. I feel there are 2 professions that are very accepting of LGBTQ people – healthcare and tech. Tech because the biggest players in tech are based out of super liberal California and even the ones that are not have to keep up with standards. Healthcare though is a little different. When a patient is on the operating table and they need your help to save their lives neither they nor your co-workers care if you are gay or straight or black or white or Hispanic. Sexual preferences don’t matter, gender identity does not matter and race and ethnicity does not matter. In a way it is less forced and more in-grained in healthcare.

I have worked in 3 different Health systems – well 2 health systems and 1 hospital – In Virginia, Kentucky and California and each has been different and unique in its own ways but the one constant has been acceptance. I haven’t ever been discriminated against in my workplace due to my gender identity and believe me I know how lucky I am to be able to say that.

So, now that we have gotten all the general stuff out of the way, let’s get to the juicy part that everyone wants to hear about – what’s going on with me and my boss. I have spoken with a few co-workers about this and I think I have lost her trust. To be honest, it is a legitimate appraisal of my work – I did take time off to care for my mother back in West Virginia. But I have been year for over a year now and I feel that I have earned some basic level of trust.

Have you guys ever seen the show, Scrubs? So, there is a Dr. Kelso here and just like JD he has sort of taken me under his wing. He gives me more work. He trusts my opinions and decisions and he really likes the way I perform (also he is happily married and I have met his wife, so no it’s not that). He brings me into meetings with upper management and trusts me to deliver good work.

The thing is my boss doesn’t want me working for this guy who is really mentoring me and making me better at my job. Instead she just wants me to complete my quotas and assignments on time. All of which, I have very little control over because she tends to micromanage me.

Eventually things got to a head last Monday and we had a bit of a screaming match. I have heard from her since then and thanks to Dr. Kelso (not his real name btw) I decided to sit down with her again on Monday and hash things out. He also gave me some pointers on how to better deal with these management issues. So, hopefully the meeting on Monday morning goes much smoother.

Honestly, I was prepared to get fired after what happened last Monday and that would have been a terrible waste. I love my job and I love the people I work with. It’s just that it has been difficult to work with my boss and I hope to rectify that soon.

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