Online Encouragement :) – Detroit Community-Engaged Research Program

Online Encouragement :)

On my first official day at SDEV, I remember so clearly my supervisor wearing her signature turquoise glasses with a flamboyant floral top, hair naturally down and appearance having no touch-ups. I, on the other hand embarrassingly, was wearing a blazer and a button-down shirt, with only one button undone from the top, hair heavily touched up with some makeup. And from then on, I understood that the culture of my new workplace was much different than my previous internships.

From then on, I have seen all my co-workers in casual wear from their home clothes to their workout clothes. My stress on my appearance quickly went away when I realized that that was the least of importance compared to the work and communication we were actually doing. With such a simple difference, other things followed such as how much more comfortable it was to talk to someone of power much higher than you and how open the workplace culture at SDEV was. One of the first things that my supervisor brought up was a brief troubling history of the organization. Recently, they had undergone some major leadership changes due to the fact that a power hierarchy was being held so up-tight that it was suffocating the productive work of everyone else in the organization. From this change, my current supervisor has been seeking continuously how to disrupt this social norm that people are afraid to speak out against their bosses. Especially with my entre department being made of only women and people of color, I was further encouraged to seek out advice and professional support so that one day I too can become a woman in leadership for my future career.

In stark contrast to my internship location, last year where rules were held to the utmost standard and professionalism was expected from an individual 24/7, almost like a flood of relief washed over of what a welcoming and freeing culture SDEV had employed from everyone. And while there’s still so much to learn and explore, the enthusiasm and environment of my workplace has encouraging me to give my best during despite these challenging circumstances 🙂

1 thought on “Online Encouragement :)”

  1. The history of the organization is interesting and I’m glad that the environment has opened up to allow these women to firmly embrace their work. The casual appearance is also apparent in my workplace as well with people wearing home and workout clothes. It is a relief not to overly worry about these things in the mornings. However, I do wonder if it would be as relaxed had we actually went to the office. My site is heading back to their buildings in the coming weeks, so it will be interesting to see if there is a shift during our meetings.

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