Me Too: My Harassment Story

When I was 16, I applied to work at a local pizza place that my best friend worked. I didn’t get the job, despite her putting in a good word for me. She never would tell me why when I asked her. When I came out to her two years later, she revealed that it was because the manager thought I was gay, and he didn’t want to hire a gay guy. Fast forward to my first job after college, and I’m working in a “relaxed” corporate environment. Everyone jokes around and hangs out after wo

My Mental Health Journey

I see a therapist and psychiatrist. I have experienced suicide in my family, and I, too, have considered suicide at the lowest points of my life. I have experienced drug addiction and alcoholism in my family, and I, too, struggle from time to time with the side effects of my addictive personality. I have a family history of depression and anxiety, and I, too, suffer from depression and anxiety. I share all this because I believe more than anything that visibility is the only

Standing Up For Yourself In Interviews

I once was interviewing for a job, and they asked me what I make. I said, “In New York that question is technically illegal, but my desired range is X.” I didn’t get the job. I once was asked for my emergency contact in an early interview stage for a job. I said, “His name is Jay.” They asked me the relation with a puzzled look on their face. I said, “He is my boyfriend.” I didn’t get the job. I once was asked if I was comfortable covering my tattoos while at work. I said,

"You Are Just Going To Have To Pick Something"

I was working with a recruiter before I landed my current job. My former company had just been acquired, and I had a few months on contract to look for my next move. With time on my side, I was being thorough in my search. I wanted to be excited for my next move. I wanted to learn and grow in my next role. I wanted to continue working for impactful companies. With a month left of my contract, I still hadn’t found the perfect job. The recruiter was growing restless. After mu

IWD 2020: Thank You, Mom

I was raised by a single mom. She put herself through college and law school with two young children. While in law school, she also received her MBA, being the first student ever to graduate with both at the same time from the University of Mississippi. She was one of only a handful women in law school and went on to be one of the few women in the Mississippi Bar Association. She worked for years at the EEOC and throughout her career represented women and children. Later in h

COVID-19: Hourly Employees

During college, I made $8.00/hour as an office assistant at my university. I made $7.50/hour at my first summer job, working full-time hours. When I graduated college, my first job was a job where I made $12/hour. I never will forget how it felt to have to worry about my hours getting cut. I will never forget how it felt to have my schedule changed. I will never forget how weather, seasonal work, and holidays affected my pay. I can’t imagine what hourly employees are going

The Ever Impossible "Work-Life-Balance"

Work-life balance? Who’s she? Never heard of her! In today’s technological age, work-life balance is nearly impossible. Everyone is just a email, Slack, or text away. We are always on, because we are always online and plugged in. So, how do you thrive in work and in your personal life? For me, I make a list of three things that I must do every day to stay sane: 1. Wake up with enough time to watch 20-30 minutes of the news and enjoy my coffee 2. Have dinner at home 3. Q

The Problem with "Preferred Pronouns"

Allies: Stop saying “preferred pronouns.” They are not preferred. They are not suggested. They are a person’s pronouns. Respect that by instead saying, “My pronouns are x/xy. What are your pronouns?” #Diversity #Inclusion #DEI #LGBTQ #Queer #Trans #NonBinary #Pronouns #People #HR

Authenticity in the Workplace

It can be terrifying to bring your authentic self to work. I grew up in Brandon, Mississippi, a small town located in the most conservative county in the state. There was a car dealership on every corner and a church in between. I was called gay for the first time when I was 11, before I even fully understood what the word meant. I was ridiculed and bullied throughout middle school and high school. I grew up in a liberal household yet still struggled to come out. My queer br

Employees Want to be Heard

More than anything, employees want to be heard. They want their feedback and suggestions to not fall on deaf ears. They want to be valued for their opinions and perspective. They want to be seen for who they truly are — their full selves. They want to be asked questions and have their answers be received and taken into consideration in return. They want to be able to explain their mistakes. They want to be able to acknowledge their wins. They want to be able to vent about iss

Corporate Transparency: Looking Beyond the Core Value

Transparency. It’s a core value at most companies today. But, what does corporate transparency actually mean, and why is it necessary? Can corporate transparency be counter-productive? Transparency is an approach where communication is shared openly and proactively to those that will be affected or have vested interest. It allows employees to ask questions and expect real answers. That said, transparent communication can easily become overly messaged and come across as inaut

Embrace the Fear...

Fear has a negative connotation. But, fear can be powerful if turned into action (Thanks, Susan Jeffers!) Fear seeps in with the unknown — a risk you’ve taken at work, your boss asking for a quick chat, a career move that has unpredictable outcomes. Finding the fear in something and doing it anyway can be the most powerful thing to do to set you apart. Take a leap of faith today. Try approaching something differently. Ask those questions you’ve been too afraid to ask. Speak

Micro-goals: Revamping Performance Management for Startups

At Knotch, we launched “‘micro-goals” in an effort to build manageable goals that would allow our employees to embrace change and allow our managers to celebrate wins and provide more immediate feedback to their direct reports. I had the pleasure of sharing this concept, and my philosophy around performance management at startups, at a Stacklist event recently. If you are interested in hearing more, please reach out! #Startups #PerformanceManagement #People #HR #HumanResourc

Yes, We All Have Imposter Syndrome

Yesterday at Knotch, we discussed imposter syndrome as a part of our quarterly mental health initiative. The truth is, we all struggle with imposter syndrome from time to time. Hell, I feel it every time I sit down to write something for LinkedIn. Why would anyone want to hear my advise? What words of wisdom do I think I have? Who do I think I am? I work every day to dismantle those notions for the team at Knotch. I want them to be able to offer their opinions. I want them

"We Belong Together"

In my career, I’ve had the pleasure of working at companies that have had very identifiable workplace cultures. They all strived for inclusion with varying degrees of success. I only felt I truly belonged at two (one of those being my current company.) Belonging is so important, and admittedly, it’s hard to qualify. Belonging is not just creating an environment where people can be their authentic self at work. Belonging is also celebrating what makes them unique. Belonging

HR Isolation

HR people have to be chameleons. We have to be able to adapt to our surroundings. It’s a delicate balance — being approachable and removed. Being a culture representative and culturally adjacent. Being business-minded and empathetic. Being a mediator and a judge. Being a listener and a talker. It requires the ability to understand a certain point of view, then determine and understand the opposite point of view, and ultimately, make a conclusion and set the best path forwar

Allyship Requires More Than Empty Words

Allyship requires support AND action. There is no such thing as a passive ally. You must put in the work. You must understand your own privileges, and by doing so, learn that there are limitations that come with being merely an ally. I’m a queer man. As one, I have a deep, personal understanding of the queer experience. I’m also a strong ally for many communities. For example — I’m an ally for women’s equality. I grew up the son of a single mom, who was the first in her fami

Debate in Private; Alignment in Public

Decisions big or small require discourse. That discourse should happen during the decision-making process in a room with designated key decision-makers. General announcement of the decision or the intended execution and effect of said decision should display alignment. Transparent communication is an important piece of many inclusive workplace cultures. Transparency requires alignment to be successful. Internal communication is most effective when it’s shared from a place of

Not My Hill To Die On

You can ask anyone in my office — I utter the phrase, “That’s not my hill to die on,” multiple times a day. It helps me put things in perspective. I ask myself: Is this worth my time, my energy, or my resources? Is this worth discourse? Is this worth challenging? Is this worth adding my voice and perspective to? If the answer is no, then my response is simple — “That’s not my hill to die on.” #Idioms #Motto #Perspective #People #HR

Perfomative Behavior at Work

After I entered the workforce post-college, I quickly realized I was *performing* at work. I was being open about my sexuality. I often shared details and stories about my partner. I wore clothing I felt comfortable in. I was doing everything I thought I needed to do as a queer person, and, in turn, I felt generally accepted. It took me sometime to realize my behavior was actually performative. I was using performativity to broadcast my identity in order to make sure I fit i