So much of What marginalized people go through at work comes down to the workplace environment: how people in the office get out of it with each other, who asks who out for lunch, who gets out of it with whom, and so on. Unfortunately, even if you are objectively the most skilled and experienced person on your team if you are marginalized because of your race, your gender, or your disability status, there is nothing you can do to maintain the cluster in it. culture of seeping into your work and preventing you from doing your best.
But in the first months of 2020, much of that changed. Many of us suddenly went from working in offices all the time and having to navigate the politics of being seen, being a superstar and showing ourselves and our work around others, to working at home, quietly, behind a screen and just that be seen by others for Zoom meetings and conference calls that were scheduled. The pandemic threw a wrench into office cultures around the world, and some companies have permanently abandoned their office space. Others have used this moment to drastically rethink remote and hybrid work options. The bright spot in this tragedy may be that there is a little more empathy for the worker. Or at least a little more flexibility.
When I felt at my lowest as a Smarter Living editor at New York Times, I loved my job, but I had a hard time doing it. Some of it was my own shyness and difficulty advocating for myself, but some of it was the very closed, clichéd nature of some of the teams I worked with. So I rather enjoyed the flexibility of being able to do my work from home, listen to music if I chose to, and use a computer that was far more powerful and flexible than the laptop I had been assigned at work (and one with a way larger screen). In addition, I had a more comfortable desk and a chair and all the other personal touches I had already put into my work area at home – something many of my colleagues had to work hard to do when the pandemic set in and they were suddenly forced to put up. home office spaces where did not exist before.
I enjoyed the peace and quiet, because here it’s about being a marginalized person, even if you have to go into the office: You feel you have to be there to be seen – to be recognized as a member of the team or even as a person present , available and willing to cooperate and help with all the things you are excluded from – but you hate it too. You hate being there, being seen and walking just to be seen. These feelings come with a level of paranoia about what is going on behind your back when you are there and when you are not there, the encounters that could happen right now but to which you were not invited, and the anxiety of wondering how you will be perceived when you are present and also when you are not.
Working remotely can alleviate this anxiety a bit. Not quite, and it has its drawbacks, but there are ways to use teleworking to your advantage as a marginalized worker. After all, when the currency of being present and being the loudest person in the room is diminished by the fact that everyone’s remote control, you have a unique opportunity to shine. And the same goes if you’re on a hybrid-style team, where some people are in the office and others are not. Hybrid-style teams can give rise to some misunderstandings and communication breakdowns, yet there are moves you can make in silence to protect yourself.
Melanie Pinola, en senior writer at Consumer reports, is a veteran of teleworking. Prior to her current concert, she was on Wirecutter, the product review site owned by New York Times. I’ve been working with Pinola somehow since we were both writers Lifehacker in 2011 and I was so lucky to work with her again eight years later when she started at Wirecutter and I was its link to New York Times newsroom. She has worked externally for various employers since 1998, “as a telecommuter for a small marketing agency for over a dozen years, as a freelance writer working on remote teams such as. Lifehacker for five years, as part of the completely remote technology company Zapier for three years, finally with Wirecutter for almost two years now. That is a long time, ”she says.