DEI and Disability Inclusion

If you read one DEI book first read Inclusion Revolution by Daisy Auger-Dominguez. It’s the complete guide to the topic.

My favorite DEI book though is the Antiracist Business Handbook by Trudi Lebron. She owns a million-dollar coaching and consulting business. Lebron believes in Just Commerce–a better alternative to Conscious Capitalism.

I’ll talk about DEI in terms of inclusion for individuals with mental illnesses. In order to thrive in an inclusive workplace you first have to get the job to begin with.

In New York City there’s a Queer in Every Career Job Fair. Why isn’t there a (mental illness) Peers in Every Career Job Fair? Or what I would title a Wheels-to-Work Job Fair for those of us who use wheelchairs?

One DEI book I have on my shelf to read talks about DEIB–diversity equity inclusion and Belonging. Again feeling like you belong in a particular workplace is predicated on getting a job with a savvy company that knows promoting diversity and individuality increases sales. The well-being of staff flourishes too.

Michelle T. Johnson easily 10 years ago wrote the book The Diversity Code. What she said: “Honoring individuality is the highest form of achieving diversity.”

In coming blog entries I’ll talk about alternative career paths.

It begs the question: What if you want to work in an office job? Shouldn’t that be an option?

For a lot of us the corporate office environment is not conducive to our mental health. I’m going to talk about getting a job in a public library which I feel should not be overlooked as a viable career.

Bringing Your Identity to the Workplace

I help people create resumes. My BIPOC clients are getting jobs in the fields they went to school for. The tide is turning. It’s the time when real progress is happening.

Telling someone to refer to their race in a cover letter was a risky thing I did. It’s not that I would recommend this for everyone. The person got a job in their field.

In terms of an invisible disability would I be so quick to tell a job hunter to lead right off with this part of their identity in a cover letter?

My real-life work experience informed the perspective with which I wrote Working Assets: A Career Guide for Peers.

Every interaction we have with another person involves selling ourselves. In a cover letter and in a resume and on a job interview and on the job this is no different.

How can we turn whatever challenges we have into “working assets” that help us interact with our coworkers and get our jobs done effectively?

This starts with changing our perception. We can “be the change” we want to see in the workplace.

Daisy Auger-Dominguez published the book Inclusion Revolution. She has had a long career as a DEI officer at different companies. In her book she wrote about how a Latina coworker approached her after a meeting. To say that she was proud because Auger-Dominguez wore a white dress that reflected their Latina heritage.

We should not be afraid to bring our identity into the workplace. How can we do this if having a mental illness is part of our life experience?

There are pros and cons to disclosure that I often touch on. I will publish a guest blog entry on disclosure on the Resources to Recover mental health website expected to post on October 6.

The difference is that I think finding the job that is the right fit comes down to researching the companies that have a track record of putting people before profits.

Though not all public libraries are great places to work I do recommend working in one of the better public library systems for those of us who would not thrive in an office setting.

This comes down to researching your target job environment which I talk about in Working Assets. I’ll detail this further in a coming blog entry.

At one of my jobs coworkers left no topic off the table when gathering to talk about our lives. Finding this kind of atmosphere is possible if you do your due diligence when searching for a job.

Sometimes finding this perfect-for-you job is a “happy accident.”

I know from firsthand experience that I couldn’t thrive in a corporate office job. My friend Robin who had schizophrenia rose up to be the CEO of a company. He disclosed only once, and it backfired on him. He was denied a promotion.

What you reveal and what you conceal on the job I’ll talk in more detail about in the next blog entry.

I say: wear that white dress and hoop earrings if you want.