Trans Talk with Connor
by: Connor Maddocks
Fall is coming and that means a time of renewal after the hot, lazy summer. For many it’s a time of change, whether it’s going back to school, coming home after a summer job away from home, or maybe just a continuation of regular life and job responsibilities.
But this brings up some questions: Are you happy with your job? Are you looking for something new that better fits your skills? Are you working in a hostile environment that is wreaking havoc on your body and soul?
Maybe it’s time for a change!
We all know that change can be scary, and we also know that new jobs and job hunting can be especially scary and stressful. But there are ways to minimize at least some of that stress.
Here are some tips I’ve compiled to help:
Know your skills. Take a personal inventory of your entire self, not just what you think of as job skills.
For instance, being organized. Is your home, your ways of keeping up with paying bills, attending appointments, car maintenance, keeping up with children, etc., fairly organized? Do you have a system? These are job skills! Employers love organized people.
Creativity! There are lots of different ways to have creativity. We usually think of creativity as painting, drawing, needlework, or maybe with music. These are great creative outlets and you can use these when worded appropriately on your resume. Don’t forget all the other ways we are creative. Part of living in the world as our true authentic selves is an incredible work of creativity. Think of all the ways in which you are and have been negotiating your place in the world. How am I going to dress? What do I want my hair to look like? Choices of make-up or facial hair. If you are stealth, you must have thought of so many ways to make that happen for yourself.
Are you handy around the house? Do you come up with ideas to personalize your habitat, or maybe something broke and you figured out a way to fix it on your own. All these things need creativity, so if you are like me and think you don’t have a creative bone in your body, think again and translate these skills into workplace bonuses on your resume.
Being creative, being organized, being a self-starter, and being confident are all traits you have if you have done all or many of the things above.
Know yourself and never undermine all the skills you have, because you are a rockstar! Sell it and you’ll have step one down.
Next, take a good hard look at what makes you happy. What are you passionate about? In order to be successful, you should love your job and it should love you. Putting your body and soul into going to work every day should not be drudgery or negatively stressful. Think about any jobs you might have had that made you happy, then reach for the stars. Come up with a list of jobs you would like to have, then see if you have the skills required for it.
Be realistic! I always wanted to be a doctor, but unfortunately, I could not pass all the classes to get there. So, my job hunt is not going to include things like neurosurgeons or family practitioners. One big regret I have in my life is that instead of pursuing my dream of working in the medical field, I was so angry with myself for being too stupid that I ditched the entire idea. Don’t do that! Every kind of occupation has many important supporting roles for people. Figuring this out is paramount to job satisfaction and a happy work life.
If you think you might need a few more skills to do what you really want, going back to school is always an option, and often you can go to night school to get those additional tools into your toolbelt.
Spend some time reading through websites, job search pages, local newspapers, and reading descriptions of the type of job you want.
Know the job market. Which jobs are in demand?
Think outside the box. If you like food, for example, check out all the different types of jobs in the food industry. My neighbor is a sales rep for a local food company that caters to almost every major venue in San Diego. You don’t have to cook it, but you can sell it.
Look at jobs that reflect your own personality. If you are shy and not very sociable, maybe a sales job is not for you. But there are lots of jobs where you can work on your own remotely or in an environment that needs a self-starter. Don’t count out opportunities until you really examine them. When you know your market, you can actualize what skills you have to bring to the workplace, and you will be better prepared for that all important interview.
There are places that can help you with your resume, or maybe you have a friend or acquaintance who has some mad skills. Your resume should be tuned to the job you are going after – it’s easy once your resume is done to create new ones that are customized to a different job by adding or changing a few items. Get a Linkedin account, or join other job search sites. Get your bad self out there!
Translate the abilities you worked on earlier into amazing skills that you possess. For example, write something like this: I am an organized, self-starter who enjoys looking at the big picture without losing sight of the details of any task. I am diligent and persistent and always follow through on all my projects. I can look at things in a creative way and find viable solutions that benefit the workplace.
So many people find a job through a friend, acquaintance, co-worker or others in their networks. Put out the word that you are job hunting. Make a post on Facebook or Instagram, and add what type of job you are looking for. If you love your workplace, but not your job, check in with HR or even your boss to see what other opportunities they might have.
Keep your mind open. Don’t dismiss something simply because you don’t think you have all the right skills, employers are often happy to train folks who are worth their time and you are worth their time. Don’t underestimate yourself.
This is the big moment. All your hard work has come to fruition and it’s time to sell it. Dress for success. Know the company you are interviewing with. Study what kind of questions the interviewer might ask and have your answers ready. Practice at home, maybe with a friend. You have to make yourself stand out from all the other applicants so be savvy about that.
What can you say that will make the interviewer remember you? Use that creativity. Be well groomed. Maybe full business attire isn’t the right vibe for this place, so business casual might be better. Be confident! You are amazing! Be you!
—Connor Maddocks (he, him, his) is a Transgender activist, trainer, speaker, and advocate. You can reach him at [email protected].