I received around 20 job opportunities after my announcement on my professional social media accounts (including LinkedIn).
It was an exciting week on the phone – 3 or more interviews on the phone daily. The initial reactions to my deep voice were ranging from no reaction to:
Uh sorry, I think I’ve dialed the wrong number
Nope you didn’t. Some hung up the line, then in a few minutes I had the same confused person on my phone. The expectations obviously were to hear a higher voice. I don’t mention my trans identity on any job application and not on my CV, because it has nothing to do with my qualifications as a sales person. But it was, and still it is very important to me, to find an accepting working place.
People tell me I don’t need to mention that I am trans. There are equality laws in place to protect people like me – even in good old Germany where I love to live for the majority of my life. A country where you need to go to court to get your name and gender changed to match who you are. A process that takes around 6-8 months. The cost of 3.000 EUR is not a real issue for me. But it’s definitely the fact when we talk about the discrimination of trans people. You get forced to consult 3 psychologists to attest, that you are trans. I mean I don’t like the fact that I need psychology for any step in my transition. Seriously? For the gender marker on my ID card? I mean look at me. Are there any questions about my gender? Even my cishet girlfriend struggles to see a man in me, and she should know it. I have the everyday check every single day since I started my transition back in fall 2016. There was no day where I was questioning myself about my gender.
So I acted proactively. I want them to know:
Yes I am a woman, who used to live as a man 1 year ago.
And you know what? I met with hundreds of business people and it played no role to them. Germans tend to be professional in business, and they really are. Some told me to stop explaining them my gender situation, because they don’t care. Some even told me about their nephew or someone else who they know in their lives who are transgender. No issues. Why should I hide who I am?
Before their confusion overwhelmed the caller I just mentioned:
I am a trans woman. Do you know why my voice is so deep now? Is this okay for you?
It was maybe unnecessary to tell them. But – if there was anybody out there who couldn’t accept that? I wanted them to know that I am trans. It never stoped the hiring process. People were thankful for my openness. As a sales person it’s important to be good with people. You can only build trust by being authentic. That was maybe the most important lesson learned in my career. There were so many sales managers pushing me to be like this or that kind of sales. Did it lead to more sales closings? Nope. Being you does the job for you. That’s it.
In the middle of that week I received a message from a former friend. They were hiring a senior sales person, and he wanted to introduce me to his sales manager. I agreed that the job was exactly what I was looking for. Being thankful for his favor, I sent him my CV. We set a meeting for the next time the manager was coming to Düsseldorf.
The days before the interview I was collecting infos on the company and on their business. Being well prepared is what makes a difference in life. I was rethinking over and over again what I wanted them to know about me. When the morning came to go to their office I was as ready as can be for the interview. I did my makeup and it was perfect. Putting on my business outfit, checking the mirror, and I started off with a really good feeling. It was a tough job to get there on time. There were no parking lots available. I called my friend to help me out. My timing was perfect. When I arrived at the adress, I had 20 minutes to get into their office. The tough parking situation became a real issue. However a sales person like me, we simply find a solution. My friend advised me to take a place in front of the building. Which was not an official place to park your car, but I had to do it in order to get there in time.
I entered the office building 5 minutes before we had our appointment. While I was not really nervous before, I felt kind of busy when I shook the welcoming hand of my friend. He showed me around their new office, and the both of us got a coffee before we went to the meeting room. I introduced myself to the manager shaking his hand, then took my seat in front of them.
The interview itself was absolutely on target for the three of us. We discussed all aspects of the role. It was clear that I was the perfect fit for the job. There was no doubt about it. After more than an hour I left the meeting with the feeling that I have delivered my personality to them. Knowing they are going to contact me by the beginning of the upcoming week.
All the weekend I was thinking about my other options, and it became clear to me, that I wanted this specific job. There couldn’t be anything else someone could offer to me to overcome my preferences. Monday and Tuesday passed by. I already had a bad feeling by the end of Monday and it got worse on Tuesday. As a sales person you get a good feeling if a deal is going to be successful or not. Bad feelings. On Wednesday I called my friend on his cell phone. He was traveling on the train. Stating he was too busy to give me an update. The moment he told me that I already was pretty sure that something went very bad. The callback reached me half an hour later. We started with unimportant stuff not related to the job application. Doing our usual jokes. Then I interrupted him:
You know why I am calling
He then explained to me, that he wanted me for that job. Also his direct manager was keen to hire me. If there only wasn’t that sales director somewhere in the German headquarters who thought that being a transgender is a KO criteria for that job.
I am sure that if I had the chance to speak to him, I would have been able to remove all the obstacles he obviously had about a trans sales person on the German market. But reality for trans people is different from what I have learned throughout my entire carreer.
Never give up. The next job can be an even better fit. Yours sincerely, unstoppable Mycha