Being Your Fullest Self at Work: a Tuba, a Haiku and Roller Skates

This week I fulfilled a dream: skating for my colleagues at work. This was the culmination of a conversation I had with my co-worker Debbie about six months ago, where I asked her, “What would it take for us to host an open mic?” She replied, “Someone to organize it.”

Six months later, I’m in the Dolby Conference Room at KQED, in front of a raucous crowd of my co-workers, introducing a series of performances from our work family. With a lot of cajoling and convincing, we managed to scare up ten folks to perform, offering up music, poetry, comedy… and one skate performance.

Everyone did an amazing job, from Jason, a new hire in Product who played the “euphonium” (a kind of small tuba), to Amanda who shared a series of very personal haiku, to Randy who had us rolling with very strange story about the after life. As the MC, I thought it best to put myself last in the lineup. No pressure!

Honestly, I barely followed the rough choreo that I had worked out. But it hardly mattered. Folks were so loud and supportive that I felt like amazing, flaws and flubs and all. Which honestly, is what its all about. Being your truest self at work.

That was my introduction to the program. I shared how for most of my professional life, I felt like I had to leave the most important parts of myself at the door when I stepped into the office. And that didn’t feel great. So this Open Mic is one way for us to assert that we should feel safe to bring our fullest selves to our work, and that our company is stronger as a result.

Because at the end of the day, we all want to be recognized, to be celebrated, to be seen. I think we accomplished that with the Open Mic. And I think we need to do this again.

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