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Should We Really Be Bringing Our "Whole Selves" to Work?

I’m Not Wearing Violent Punk T-Shirts to Work

There’s a lot of talk about bringing your “whole self” to work. At it’s core, the idea is admirable. If you identify as gay, queer, or transgender, you should absolutely be able to bring that part of your identity to work without fear of negative consequence. If you are a parent, you should feel free to put your family first, and be a little less productive when your little one is home sick from school. If you are a person of color, you should be able to express the parts of your identity that make you unique without fear of being judged or discriminated against.

But are these our “whole selves”? Is our identity as a parent, a person of color, or a member of the LGBTQ+ community the only thing that makes us unique? I’m a parent, and, first and foremost, I’ll do what I need to do to take care of my kids, but I’m not just a parent. I think there are many other parts of our identity that we don’t bring to work, and for good reason.

A lot of the bands I like tend to express their worldview through violent imagery on their merch. I’m not a violent person. I’m not proposing Trump blow his brains out, but Municipal Waste are a fun band. Masshysteri are a great Swedish band, but I’m not wearing a shirt with a guy getting stabbed in the head with an ice pick to work.

Most punk is pretty anti-religion, and even though it’s totally normal for many of my co-workers to talk about how they are a “proud Christian”, you’re just not going to hear me discuss atheism in a work setting. I started a couple of topic-based channels in our company messaging softward around music and soccer, in the hopes of finding other folks with similar interests, but that’s about as far as I’m going regarding bring my “whole self” to work.