Nov 8, 2008

My work email announcement

On Friday I intended to send an email to the people who know me that didn't know about the change so they would understand what was happening on Monday. Due to circumstances that I will explain later I was unable to send that email. Below is the text of the email that will be sent on Monday morning regarding my first day fulltime as Karyn.

Work being the final holdout in my life officially marks the end of the old and the beginning of the new. I tried to interject leavity in my email to make people understand that it isn't a crazy thing and they need not fear the unknown. I hope that some behing me will appreciate it for what it is and I hope everyone enjoys the humerous twist ...

Good morning,

It's not everyday that you get in on a Monday morning, grab your coffee, settle into your chair and flip the pc on, open your email and suddenly have your day start with "Oh by the way, I'm transsexual and I have gender identity disorder"

(I'll give you a moment to wipe the coffee from your monitor and keyboard)

All set?

Ok, now that you've cleaned your computer off and called over your coworker to ask them to reread that paragraph to you because you weren't quite sure you read it right the first time; you did. As shocking as that info might be for you, the reality is that for me I've had to relive that with each new person that I've told and it never seems to feel any less personal to me. With that stated let me explain.

When people hear news such as this is becomes quite a shock for several reasons. Generally it is assumed that this is just coming out of left field because the person affected has never exhibited signs of it in the past. The reality is that they did exhibit signs and probably have for their whole life, they have just done their best to hide it from the world because let's face it, it is sensitive personal information that in a lot of circumstance is used against the person dealing with it.

So, why me? Why now?

Well it isn't exactly now, this is an issue that has plagued me since I was a very young child and I did the best that I could to simply avoid dealing with it. Unfortunately for the people around me that sometimes meant me cracking under the stress and being hot under the collar and a little unapproachable. In fact if I've ever snapped at you off the cuff for something that seemed trivial, then it was probably due to the stress of trying not to deal and for that I truly apologize. Fighting this consistently kept me so stressed that it didn't take very much for me to go off on a tirade at times. I feel pretty badly about being this way with people over the years.

In 2005 after a life trying not to deal with this issue the pressures and life changing events made it almost impossible for me and I needed to seek help. This is exactly what brings me to this letter today.

Why you, why now?

The reason you are on this list is because I've had a positive past working relationship with you and quite honestly I have a lot of respect for you. In fact because of that respect, I wanted this news to be heard from me and not from the rumor mill. However, it is quite possible that the rumor mill got to you before this letter and if so then I'm sorry for not doing this sooner. I would have preferred that you heard it from me directly because you deserved at least that much respect.

About 6 months ago under the direction of my physicians and the set standards of treatment for this disorder I changed my name legally and changed it here at work with personnel. In an effort to protect my privacy and allow me to be able to emotionally handle people hearing this news, *** did not make it public, they waited for word from me to start making the more visible changes. Those changes start going into effect as of today, Monday Nov 10th.

I know this will be a hard thing for some people to grasp and it may seem a bit strange to suddenly have to rethink their psychological view of a person they have known a while, please understand that while this could be hard for you that this only happens to you once, I relive this with each new person that learns of the news. The good news for me is that my work environment is literally the last holdout of people who know. With that said please let me make a couple of key points.

Please note the humorous way I attempted to open this email to you. The reasoning is simple. All too often people treat situations like this as though it is a death sentence or as though the person affected suddenly becomes very unapproachable. In all honestly from a personal standpoint dealing with this issue has actually made me more approachable as I've started removing the single biggest piece of stress in my personal life. Just picture having a secret that is so fragile about your psyche that you know could do you damage and be forced to hide and suppress it for fear that you will be ostracized by your peers and family. To date, I have been incredibly blessed that this has been as positive a change as it has to the point that the people closest to me see a 180 degree positive change in me.

In making this change one of not only my biggest assets that have helped me in this is my sense of humor. I not only value this in my own life but in the people around me and in that, my friends and I have had some incredibly funny moments about this subject and myself. Please do not feel like you need to walk on eggshells around me it is simply not the case and it would bother me to have people feel that they did have too.

People have questions. People by nature are very curious and without asking questions they never get any sense of what this is all about. Education is a powerful tool and asking question opens the door to learning and understanding. I am very open and receptive to questions and I do my best to answer as openly and honestly as possible. I cannot always answer every question but I try to do my best with an open mind.

For me this change has been from the inside out for the last 3 years and for you it is in fact the polar opposite. It takes time to get used to changes and people make mistakes. I will never fault a person for making a mistake; it just isn't fair to assume that people just make a fundamental change over night. It takes time and I understand this so please don't feel like you are being insensitive by making a mistake. I will not get offended by it.

I understand that this challenges some peoples views and that some will simply view this as a choice. I assure you that for me, it is not a choice and it has been pointed out that there is in fact a biological basis to this. Please understand that I am doing something to give myself quality of life so I can be around in a happy and healthy manner for my family and for myself. I have respect for you and I hope that you will continue to have respect for me as well.

In closing as I have stated please feel free to ask questions if you need. I hope that we can all move forward in a positive way to not only keep a happy work environment here but a successful one for the company as a whole. I apologize for the long winded email but I did want people to get a decent sense of things.

Thank you,



Lori D said...

Looks like a good letter, and I think tinging it with humor at the beginning was great.

Sara said...

Wonderful letter, Karyn. The humor is a good start, but the rest of the message is very down to earth and recognizes that most of your coworkers will very naturally be seeing this from a self-centric perspective. It very much expresses that you understand what they will be going through and in doing so asks them to have the same respect. I hope everything goes as good as you deserve, I have no doubt that you will most likely have a good day tomorrow.


Lori said...

Break a leg tomorrow, Karyn! Well, you know, don't REALLY break a leg...

I hope everything goes wonderfully for you, and have no doubt that it will given your great attitude.



Cynthia said...

Love the letter, wish I had done that when I started my RLE. Oh well, next time......

Good luck tomorrow. You'll be just fine.

~K~ said...

Thank you ladies, this was really nice too see. It had been a rather stressful week. Hopefully tomorrow goes off without a hitch. I have about 15 minutes to bed time which means the morning comes quickly ..

Hope you're all well ..


VĂ©ronique said...

Very good letter! Sorry you didn't get to send it. My very best wishes to you tomorrow, hon. I'll be thinking of you.