Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The world around me.

Beautiful day.

Yes it is. Spent a restless night. Sleep was elusive. So it was for my partner too.

Came the dawn and the alarm, and I figured making sure I was rested was not a bad thing to do. Got out of bed to the singing of birds, a day bright with beautiful, clear sunlight hot. Now, the day promises to be beautiful, hot, with breezes all day long. The tree shades round the house are a blessing I cannot help enjoying.

Uganda, the country is one of those naturally beautiful places. I do see the scars of our occupation. Us humans. We have not really learnt to protect this natural, exhuberant beauty. Not now. We do not appreciate it enough, because the needs and demands of out stomachs, and day to day life are so overwhelming. Hopefully, we shall learn to appreciate it.

But, at least, I feel, I appreciate the little that I see. High blue skies. Hot, golden sunlight. The green of trees and grass all around. Branches bowing to gentle breezes.

Yes. Life, when we pause to look at it, life is good.

What has been happening in my world?

I confess to not knowing at this particular moment. When I am working, I want the tv and radio off, and the distraction of internet access controlled. Just want the cool breezes playing on my skin, the gentle sussuration of tree leaves, and the quiet of a natural peace and calm. But, yes, after some time, I feel the need to dive into cyber, cruise the waves, surf, and check out all the happenings of a busy world, which never slept while I did, or when I was concentrating on something else.

Got to read this article. On some of the benefits of being gay in the corporate world.

I am a Ugandan kuchu, so, my take on it is as personal and unique... as for other kuchus. But, I appreciate the lessons that a broad view of the world gives me. Yes, the article is old. But, who ever cast that blame on knowledge? That person would have a problem. A real problem.

Anyway, being gay, at least in the west, gives some valuable experiential lessons that may make for advantages in the world of work.

Gay managers in some of the world's largest companies - including Barclays, Disney, Deloitte Consulting LLP, PepsiCo and Morgan Stanley - are changing the face of the modern workplace. In workplaces under the direct leadership of non-closeted gay managers, I found environments where employees care about their work, are deeply committed to professional excellence and feel individually connected to advancing the success of the organisation itself. Rooted in a unique worldview that develops through their life experience as outsiders, gay managers approach their leadership role by placing primary value on the individual. Within these workplaces, each employee has the right to a place of foremost importance in the organisation.

Wow. But, there are caveats. These are out gay people. Not those who are bitter and closeted, hiding their sexuality behind various forms, fighting one another.

I know. I am a Ugandan. Kuchus, we kuchus are a very frightening people in a way. Especially the activists. They have passed through the fire, and, the very fire seems to cruelly make us people with characteristics that are not admirable.

Individualisic, competitive, ambitious, pushy, fighters- with the more gentle attributes shorn off.

I want to maintain my humanity, despite the battle, and war that I go through. I do that, with much help from this blog. Because it helps me expose, and organise my thoughts.

But, I do relate to some of the lessons in the article.

Especially this lesson on inclusion. I am lifting a considerable part of the article here

The importance of this principle became clear while halfway through the research. Sitting at my university desk one day, I received an email with a subject heading that simply read: "Gay Soldier/Iraq". My first thought was that it was some kind of promotion for a news item, but what I found was a very eloquent yet concise letter from an anonymous US soldier deployed to Iraq. He said that he'd read an article online that quoted me on how I believed opportunities for gay people to be out of the closet and successful were improving every day. While appreciating what I had said, he wrote: "It has no real meaning to me in my current job."

We exchanged several rounds of email, and as with many of the people who have written to me, he needed an outlet to talk about his "job" - the difference being that his job daily involved life and death. To this day, I still do not know his name or much detail about what his life had been like before going to Iraq. He always emailed me from a web-based account that was separate from the one issued to him by the US government.

In his emails, he primarily talked about how it felt to be expected to put his life on the line every day for an employer who did not value him enough as a human being to let him be who he is in the world. I found one message particularly profound, and which spoke volumes about the impact of the G Quotient principle of inclusion.

"Even though the people I work with think I'm part of their group, I'm not," he wrote. "You can't really be part of a group when you know you won't be treated with respect should you let them see the real you. That's why the respect they show me doesn't count. It's not real because they won't let me be real."

It does not matter whether you are employed by the US military or a shoe factory. In the new world of work, inclusion is what drives successful leadership - and, as a result, successful organisations.

Workers are desperate to be recognised for their immense capabilities and desire to contribute. It is up to all managers to provide leadership that will appreciate, value, and develop that potential. And they can start by learning a lesson, or two, from their gay colleagues.

That strikes right home, with me. Especially that paragraph about being 'part of the group'

"Even though the people I work with think I'm part of their group, I'm not," he wrote. "You can't really be part of a group when you know you won't be treated with respect should you let them see the real you. That's why the respect they show me doesn't count. It's not real because they won't let me be real."

At my place of work, first time a colleague saw me with a man who was a known homosexual, she took it upon herself to warn me, obliquely, informing me how much she hated homosexuals. I remember that, because she was really a friend. But, how could I tell her that I was one of the hated homosexuals?

I have been long with my workmates, and, of course they have started figuring me out. Long story.

But, I have discovered, in big and small things, that I tend to maintain a distance. And, it has always been commented how I refuse, obtusely, to participate as part of the group.

Yes. I am proud.

And, I am lucky. Because my individuality is actually a plus, and a bonus. Because it has not hurt me to refuse to be a part of the 'group'. Though I do feel the isolation even after all this time working with my colleagues.

Funny, interesting. Profoundly eye opening.

Hope you are having a great day. I have promised myself to do so, and, I am.


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