The ongoing conversation about gender and sexuality in the workplace is a tough one to join, particularly if you’re only recently taking a seat at the table. Because on the one hand, we know that a diverse group will draw on greater pools of experience, and be able to see more sides of an issue than a homogeneous group will. On the other hand, we also know women earn on average only 80 percent of what men are paid, and they tend to face a battery of different forms of discrimination, from the blatant to the subtle. When you also consider the rates at which gay and transgender people face discrimination in the workplace, with numbers ranging from 15 to 43 percent depending on the discrimination study, it’s clear there is a serious problem.
One solution to this problem, published at Medium, is to imagine you work with The Rock.
Do What Now?
This is a simple test that will help you eliminate biased actions and speech from your workplace behaviors. All you do is review what you’re about to say, or do, and ask if you would still say or do that thing if you were talking to Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson.
For example, are you going to tell Susan not to help you unload boxes from the truck because you want to show off? See how ridiculous that would sound if Dwayne was offering to help you get the job done a little faster? What about that one time Jackie asked you to meet for coffee to discuss her job performance? Imagining Mr. Johnson sitting across the table from you should help you focus on what that meeting is actually for, rather than trying to parse for some secret come-on somewhere. Confused about Jared’s sex life, or wondering what sort of partner May is interested in? Just remember, they’re action superstars, and they’re just here to do their job. What they do on their time is their business, not yours.
Does That Sound Silly?
On the one hand, this is patently ridiculous. No one’s powers of imagination are this good, and the metaphor can break down on an individual level. With that said, though, it does point out how we would treat our co-workers with more respect if we eliminated our double standards of behavior. And once you start thinking about those standards, and forcing yourself to be made aware of them, you can start changing them.
It won’t be easy, but nothing worth doing ever is.
For more information on how you can make your workplace a more equal, comfortable place to be, simply contact us today!