Also, the right steps to make a big change in your life, why Gen Z is looking for a job in finance and the high cost of workaholism

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Question: I’d like to come out at work, but I’m not sure that everyone in my office will respond positively about it. I work in a conservative industry and I don’t know of any other LGBTQ+ people on my team. But I’m tired of having to be cagey about my personal life when we talk about our weekends. How should I approach this?

We asked Martine Roy, regional director for 2SLGBTQ+ business development in Quebec and Eastern Canada for TD Bank, to tackle this one:

Unfortunately, there is no strategy. It can be really, really hard to come out because it depends where you work and what the environment is there. I was arrested, interrogated and fired from the Army for being gay. Often, we are waiting for those little cues, but your manager may not have a rainbow flag on their desk.

If you feel like it won’t be a safe space, my advice is always to speak to someone in human resources or an equity, diversity and inclusion role. Also, is there a 2SLGBTQ+ employee resource group in that company? Sometimes there is not because it’s a small company, but there is always someone who manages staff and who can inform you about their policies.

If you think your boss will be open [to the discussion] and you want to talk to them first, do it in person. Don’t do it by Zoom unless you have no choice. And don’t try and do it too quickly. People sometimes think, ‘It’s not so important, I’ll do it in five minutes.’ No – take the time you need because it is very important. You might want to do it at the end of the day, just before the weekend, so that if you get emotional you won’t have to be at work all day afterwards.

If you feel the environment won’t make it possible for you to come out, you’re going to have to make a choice about staying or leaving. Of course, we have to be careful – I’m not telling everybody to quit their job tomorrow. But there is a cost of the closet, for you and for the company you are working with.

If you are in the closet, you may have to lie about what you did over the weekend, about your partner or getting married or having children. Then you are not concentrating any more. At the end of the day, you want to be authentic. When you’re authentic, you’re focused, you’re productive and you want to go to work. Corporations lose talent because of mental health. Somebody who is not focused or productive won’t succeed and won’t do their numbers. They’re always going to feel ‘less than.’

When you start at a new company, check their policies, their culture, their value system and their mission. I founded Pride at Work with seven others in 2008, so I always tell people, go to that website and look at those companies. Then you’ll know they will have a culture of inclusion and diversity, they will have policies around 2SLGBTQ+ employees and they will have an employee resource group that you can join.

Submit your own questions to Ask Women and Work by e-mailing us at [email protected].

How to join the ‘6 per cent club’ of people who make personal change

Psychologist Michelle Rozen calls it “The 6 per cent Club.”

She followed 1,000 people who started out one year in January wanting to make a big change in their life. She checked in every month until June. At that point, 94 per cent had dropped the ball.

So which club do you want to be a part of? The 6 per cent who are effective at changing aspects of their life or the 94 per cent who fail?

To succeed, she says you must understand you are fighting your brain. It fears the unknown. It only has so much energy to handle the many tasks and obligations you face each day. “When you’re thinking about doing anything new, you are forcing your brain to use more energy than it normally does. In other words, your brain hates new things,” she writes in The 6% Club.

Read how an accountability mindset can help you move beyond excuses.

Gen Z is looking for a job in finance, with security and high salaries

If you’ve been on TikTok in the past month, you’ve likely heard it. An anthem listing the traits of an ideal partner: “I’m looking for a man in finance. Trust fund. 6′5. Blue eyes.” Posted by 26-year-old content creator Megan Boni, the 19-second clip has raked in 3.2 million likes, 195,000 shares and spawned countless renditions – some of which have already made it to dance clubs.

Boni has clarified the video is a satire, but go down the rabbit hole of #financeguy, #financecareers or #financegirlie on TikTok, and you’ll see real videos of twentysomethings glamorizing a job in finance: stylish corporate fits, 80-hour work weeks and overpriced desk lunches. In the comment sections, a chorus of questions asking how much they make, how to get a job in finance and if they should invest in crypto.

These videos also offer a window into a lifestyle that’s seemingly untouched by student debt, rising rents or the phrase “cost of living.”

Read why finance has become the most desirable industry to work in among students aged 18 to 25.

Workaholic executives short-change their teams, their families and themselves

“For generations, we’ve looked to executives who burn the midnight oil and arrive early to work as successful leaders to emulate,” say Dr. Seema Parmar and Dr. Andrew Morgan of Cleveland Clinic Canada. “These hard-working executives have traditionally been rewarded with significant raises, bonuses and even the corner office, by companies that view extra hours worked as a metric of commitment and drive.

“However, as health professionals, we see downsides to the workaholic boss. While working excessively may seem like a win for their employers, it usually isn’t. When we dig into the psychology of what drives hard-charging executives, we see they derive significant satisfaction through work – they enjoy the achievement, positive feedback, recognition, promotions and, yes, money. But this situation is like a one-legged stool. While investing so much in fortifying one leg, the others – such as family, friends, community and health – receive less attention and become weak.”

Read how workaholics can heal and consciously shift their approach.

These entrepreneurs are making swimwear, peanut butter and hair extensions more sustainable

Courtney Chew wants to change the way consumers think about swimwear.

“We want to show that a commodity like swimwear can become an investment piece that can last for you, as opposed to [wearing it] for one vacation and throwing it away,” she says.

Ms. Chew is the founder of OCIN, a Vancouver-based ecoswimwear label for men and women. The company’s swimsuits are composed of “infinitely regenerable” nylon yarn (made from waste products such as fishing nets, carpets and industrial plastic) and recycled polyesters made from plastic bottles saved from landfill. OCIN also offers a recycling program where customers can return old swimsuits, OCIN or not, which are sent to a mattress recycling facility and regenerated into a concrete alternative used for construction.

Ms. Chew says the inspiration for OCIN came from her days as a competitive swimmer who spent most of her time in the ocean, “a place where I feel the most connected to the earth.”

Read the full article.

Women do more ‘worry work’ than men. It’s affecting their mental health and their careers

The other day, Ksenia Barton was sorting through paperwork for her taxes and thought, there’s a lot of work here. Orthodontics, dental and medical appointments. Permission slips for her kids. Volunteering and social events. Birthdays. Appointments for her aging parents. Managing household bills.

“So many of these pieces of paper represented tasks that people don’t even know that I did,” she says.

Each receipt represented emotional labour – a combination of planning, caregiving, managing the household and the “worry work” of life that often comes at personal expense to women. This work is unseen, uncompensated, unrecognized and endless.

Based in Burnaby, Ms. Barton is a mother of two teenagers, one of whom struggles with ADHD as well as other educational challenges and needed home-schooling to be successful. Her second child also has ADHD.

Read the full article.

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