I did an interview several weeks ago with a writer who was researching a story about trans workplace issues. He asked what the single most significant issue in the workplace is for trans workers. I suppose it's difficult to identify a universal single-most significant challenge for anything but it was pretty much a no-brainer for me to explain that the biggest challenge many of us face is simply getting a job. (see his story here).
I am incredibly thankful to enjoy what I'm doing right now and, honestly, I thank my lucky stars each and every day. I'm also tremendously thankful simply to be able to do it, and to live where I want to live. At one of the conferences I attended last year Mara K. from NCTE gave an ominous piece of advice to everyone in the room: If you've got a job don't lose it because you may not be able to get another one. Too many of us have learned this the hard way.
Several years ago we started something at SCC that we called the "Career Expo" specifically to address this crushing need and to bring together companies that are hiring with trans workers who need jobs. It's no longer happening for a number of reasons, but the need is no less critical.
We were also doing some work with the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce when I was on the Board there surrounding starting and running your own business. For many of us, the most realistic option becomes self-employment (whether we want to or not). NGLCC attended a couple of SCC's to collect information but they haven't replaced me with another transperson on the Board for guidance and they haven't updated their "Transgender Business Owners Toolkit" page in forever (still no toolkit, tho).
In all honesty, I think many of us are naive about how our transition can and often does affect our jobs/careers which is actually probably a good thing in the long run. Some of us fear the worst and think we've prepared for it but still somehow get caught off guard when it actually happens. I often warn people that the day of your greatest career potential and highest income level is often the day before you come out at work. Still. And I realize that many of us do have positive experiences and that's truly a testament to hard work and diligence over the past dozen years or more. But that still doesn't stop bad things from happening.
Sometimes it's necessary. We've changed to the point that we've outgrown a number of things in our lives, including our careers. What initially seems traumatic and terrible eventually turns out to be yet another opportunity for rebirth. Often in life we don't do difficult things, even though they may be necessary things, until we are forced to do them.
On to other topics, I posted the photos I took at the Beach Wrestling event in Rochester this past weekend (see them here). I didn't edit the photos so they are straight out of the camera but I wanted to put them online while they were still fresh. I think my next Beach Wrestling adventure will be at an event planned for Labor Day weekend in Myrtle Beach.
In all honesty, it's a terrific model for developing training on other topics as well. But that's another discussion for another time.
Yesterday we had an amazing typhoon-like storm here. It poured like nobody's business for an hour and the air was full of lightning strikes and crackling thunder every few seconds. It was wild. We got almost 2+ inches of rain, and the power went out for 30 minutes. Other areas of the region didn't get so much as a drop but we got smacked hard. It was actually wonderful - I enjoy that kind of thing and Lord knows we need the rain.
The weather here has been pretty brutal lately, with high temperatures in the upper 90's and humidity above 70% the heat index has been above 110 degrees for several days. It's about time that this weather break so this storm is hopefully the beginning of cooler days. I have no problem at all with heat, or humidity. But it's just nice to have a bit of a break from time to time.
I haven't shared any music here for a while. Every once in a while I hear a song for the first time and the lyrics just resonate with me. I heard one of those songs on a local radio station recently. It's an artist that I hadn't heard before and the more I see him the more his sound reminds me of mid-'60s Crosby, Stills, and Nash stuff. Anyway, part of the reason that I can identify with these lyrics will be obvious.
Ray Lamontagne - For the Summer
Been a while since I saw my lady smile
Have I been away so long?
I'm tired. I get so tired.
Can I come home for the summer?
I could slow down for a little while.
Get back to loving each other
And leave all those long and lonesome miles behind.
Now that's good stuff....