Just because they asked you to lead the DEI efforts at your organization doesn’t mean that you should.
Yep, I said it.
Don’t get me wrong; I understand why you said yes. This is important work! You have this beautiful desire and vision of how you could change the world…well, maybe not the whole world, but definitely change your organization for the better.
You’re on a mission to create a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive work environment where employees feel safe and can thrive.
And to those already in this space, you were running well; what hindered you? I know what. Your job!
AND some things you may not have considered.
Here are 5 things to think about before entering (or while in) a DEI role:
1. Have you processed your race-based [insert other historically/systemically oppressed] trauma with a therapist?
2. How good are you at setting boundaries?
3. Do you have a place to process when you get triggered?
4. Will you have support to get the work done – a team?
5. Will you have authorization to be successful – alignment and buy-in from senior management?
Numbers 1-3 are essential as they help you assess your self-care plan before diving into this career path.
I’ve watched individuals move into this role without considering how their unprocessed trauma would impact how they showed up and how it would interface with their work. Get on someone’s physical or virtual couch ASAP if you haven’t worked with a therapist to address these issues.
If you struggle with boundary setting, shoring up those skills will come in handy. Specifically your boundaries around time and emotions. This work can become all-consuming because it can be difficult to separate your lived experience from your work. So be mindful about what you can handle.
Demands and dedication are high in this field, and you can quickly become tired. You are dealing with the same microaggressions that the employees you serve are experiencing. And if you aren’t careful, it will leave you pouring from an empty cup that just leaves you and everyone else thirsty. You try to be the voice for the underrepresented, yet yours is getting quenched.
It’s hard to be the advocate and the abused.
So who do you go to? Where do you go to wash off the stains of discrimination, bigotry, and prejudice? Who holds space for you when you’ve been holding space for others?
Yesterday, Dr. Sam Rae, E. shared a post (link in the comments) about the life cycle of a DEI practitioner. And it is spot on! She is offering an excellent resource called DEI Offload™, a dedicated space for practitioners to build community and gain access to licensed mental health professionals and wellness resources so that this cycle doesn’t spin you for a loop and hang you out to dry.
Burnout is not your portion. Your well-being is everything!
I know many DEI practitioners who could benefit from this community. Please help me share this resource with as many of them as possible! Please comment, like, or share.