I got a start date for my job at [well-known UK bank.] July 17th. In just three weeks, I will be an Actual Real Person with a Real Proper Job. Woohoo, go me, boo no more uni, etc. etc.
Anyway. You know the big question that’s bothering me? It’s not ‘will I like my colleagues?’ or ‘can I actually live on £13750 a year?’ or ‘have I lost my knack in the three years since I last worked in a bank?’ Nope, nope and nope. It’s ‘should I let on at work that I’m a huge weirdo?’
I’ve been deeply closeted at my part-time job over the last couple years, because I was working with children and for a very religious family. That was easy enough… it was only a few hours a week, and I always knew it was an extremely temporary situation. I just never mentioned it. If the subject of ‘my boyfriend’ ever came up in conversation, I’d talk about A., and then after we split up I’d talk about Nomad. Simple. But this is different – it’s a full-time job, not permanent but certainly for the foreseeable future.
In principal, I want to be out at work. I want to be out everywhere. I believe in this both philosophically (the more out we are, the more visible we are, and that’s awesome) and practically (the more out I am, the less I have to hide, and that’s a huge weight off my shoulders.) In practice, though… it isn’t quite so simple.
I want to be able to talk about my family. My partner, my metamour. Other partners, as and when I have them. I mean, everyone else talks about their husband/wife/boyfriend/girlfriend, why should I not do the same?
Because there’s a very real danger that an innocent mention of ‘my boyfriend’s other girlfriend’ or something would cause everyone to think I was forcing my deviance onto them.
Polyamory is not a legally protected status. On the other hand, no-one – to the best of my knowledge – has ever been fired in this country for being openly poly. I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again – I would be very intruiged to see the resulting lawsuit from someone getting fired for their relationship practices, and I think it would be exceptionally telling as to how far we’ve come as a movement and how progressive this country actually is, and I do NOT want to be the poster child for this. On the other other hand, if someone disapproves enough, they can find a reason to get rid of you.
Hiding it feels safer. Except when it doesn’t. When I wasn’t out, and even now in the rare situations where I can’t be, I’m terrified of slipping up and giving something away, of not covering my tracks effectively enough. What if they find out? At worst, they’ll think I’m an evil sinful slut… at best, they’ll think I’m just a liar. Better to be honest upfront…. no? Or maybe better to NOT be honest, and just hide it really, really well?
Gahhh, I have no idea! This job isn’t exactly my dream career, but it’s going to keep a roof over my head and help me pay my way through graduate school.
Where do you stand on this, my dear readers? Are you ‘out’ at work? Why or why not? If yes, how did you approach the topic? If no, how stressful is it to hide?