Thank you to everyone who requested to connect with me on LinkedIn. I apologize for the delayed acceptance (see LI post, Deer in Headlights). Throughout this 4-week LinkedIn viral frenzy, the question I repeatedly received from others has been, “now what?” The pressure was real and most of it came from myself, if I’m honest. I’ve reached out to mentors, friends and family, and as these people know me best and know what my potential is, they all agreed – You have a platform, use it. So welcome to my platform:
Category 1: Praise and Approval – This was the vast majority of the LinkedIn and media response. Many people thanked me for speaking my truth about embracing a new reality and shared that they felt exactly the same way. To this group – your words brought be comfort during a scary time (ie. 2020) and inspired me to continue using my voice. I deeply thank you.
Toss The Headshot - This blog is about bringing your whole and true self to work. Metaphorically (and perhaps, literally) tossing the headshot to reveal to others who you truly are, with courage and pride.
Some upcoming work-related topics that I’m thinking about:
- Video Sharing (and why we need to stop apologizing when we don’t think we look our best)
- Work attire
- Unconscious Biases at play and how to recognize them
- Showing emotions (crying?!) at work
- Discussing mental health
- Asking for flexibility in your schedule
- Talking about our families
- Different standards for different groups
- The list goes on, and please let me know what topics are important to you, too! I’m so excited to dig in to these - share personal stories, ask questions and challenge the norms.
Now, my response to my post…
I’m going to categorize my responses as best as I can and offer some reflection. The driving value behind this blog is to approach with curiosity, and not judgment. I have tried my best to do this and hope you do the same.
- Category 1A: Game Changers - This group was inspired to replace their headshots with something more authentic that reflected who they truly are. Wow! Tell me - how did this make you feel and what has the response been?
Category 2: Detractors – This group disagreed with posting a selfie on LinkedIn. To this group, I say thank you for openly disagreeing and challenging me. We are all entitled to our opinions. Your comments turned the post into a debate and made it clear that we have a lot to think about and discuss here – with ourselves, with our teams and leaders, with the LI community. Your posts were thought provoking and begged me to ask – where do our different values on ‘professionalism’ come from and can they be changed? And if they cannot be changed, how can we bring awareness to our unconscious biases to ensure we're making fair decisions?
- Category 2A: Detractors who judged my photos – Thank you for illuminating the fact that we make snap judgements based on looks. Many failed to remember that both photos had the same skills, experience and education, but only one person would 'get the job' based on her appearance. I hope these comments have reminded all of the hiring managers and recruiters out there that we all have biases (whether good or bad) that we need to be aware of when making hiring decisions. I’d love someone from Talent Acquisition to chime in on this – what are some best practices your companies are implementing to avoid hiring based on appearance?
- Category 2B: Detractors who were offensive –
Category 3: Harsh Realities - The vulnerable commenters who said things like, “Great for you, but I could never do this.” These posts came from New Grads, Job Seekers, African American women, Older adults, and Executives. Thank you so much for bringing your perspective and experience in the workforce to our attention. I have no response other than to just ask Why? Why is it this way? What do we need to do to challenge this? I'll be exploring this more in this blog.
Category 4: My eye color - I so did not want to respond to this but it's eating at me, so I must. My eyes are blue and isn't it scary how some iPhone filtering and poor lighting can completely change our features?
I recently heard a leader say, “Everyone keeps saying they wish for things to go back to normal. I hope they don’t!”
Be well, stay safe, thank you for your engagement, and I can’t wait to see where this new normal takes us.
Until the next post...