Would the Real You Please Stand Up

February 23, 2022 By The Siren Of Support

Each time we engage in a culture fit interview the question gets asked, “Well now that we know a lot about you, what questions do you have for us”? Often, the candidate asks us in one way or another what our favorite part about working for ETE is. While I have many reasons, my answer is always, “I am allowed to be me.” Sure I have to be a little less myself sometimes, I know how to put on my professional pants, but I’m still all me, just a temporarily modified me. I am quirky, loud, slightly unconventional and maybe even a tad bit bonkers. Not only is all that accepted, it’s embraced. I am Sari, and this is who Sari is. 

We foster an environment that promotes self expression and we do not judge a person for who they are. You can be quiet, you can be funny, you can even be a smidge odd. But as long as you live by and believe in our core values and our culture, you are one of us. 

If you toured the maze of cubes taking up the second floor of our building it is likely that you feel like you already knew some of our people simply based on the items that adorn their walls and shelves. Seth, he’s a golf guy, the mini putting green gives him away. Andy digs drift racing, as is apparent from the rows and rows of badges. Ashley and her ducks, there’s nothing more to say about that, it’s obvious. And me, my space is a mixture of my kids, Disney and a giant Christmas pig I haven’t had the heart to put away yet. It generally looks like a tornado tore through it and dropped a house on a wicked old witch. I was hoping the munchkins would come out, until I realized I am the munchkin. Suppose I should step up my singing game. 

I have suffered through jobs where I had to walk the walk and talk the talk. My lines might as well have been scripted. I was told how to sit, and even how to sneeze. Let me make it clear that I have no issue playing by the rules. My problem lies when I am forced to be fake.    Our people need to be able to express themselves and be accepted for who they are – especially if we expect them to feel fulfilled, have longevity and become one with our culture. 

What can you do to encourage self-expression in your workplace? Here’s how we do it:

  1. Create a safe place for expression: Don’t knock what you haven’t tried. I could make fun of Seth for being a golf fanatic. He probably wouldn’t put away the putter but my opinion could have a negative effect on our working relationship. Let your people sing out loud if that’s what makes them them. 
  2. Be Exclusively Inclusive: Allow experiences for people with common interests. If there is a vegan club, let there be a meat club. Cheese Club. Mmmmm Pickle Club. By allowing our team members to engage with others with the same palette, they have a collective way to express their likes and build relationships. And just because Eric doesnt love pickles doesn’t mean he can’t join the group, he just can’t judge us.  
  3. Be a No Judgement Zone: You don’t like tattoos, don’t look. You don’t like buckets of candy, don’t eat it. You don’t agree that a Christmas pig is still on display in February, stay out of my cube. Allow people the right to be themselves and express it without demeaning them in front of or behind them. 

ETE is one team made up of hundreds of people. We have had different experiences. Lived different lives. Believe in and practice different things. But we are all ETE and that’s what makes us one.