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Coming out at work: Showing your true self

By Alicia Hill, Manager, Accenture Strategy

"Have faith that people will respect you for being the person you truly are."

It’s so important to be able to be yourself at work.

In my first job after graduation, I was unsure about my place in the working world and whether I should be honest about my sexuality.

Initially, I decided to keep quiet and to stay “in the closet.” However, this approach took a heavy psychological toll—I became withdrawn from my team, and it negatively impacted the quality of my work.

When I finally summoned the courage to “come out,” the difference it made to my working life was amazing and immediate. I felt empowered and confident. I realized that people were almost universally positive and encouraging, and I never, ever looked back.

Because of the positive impact on my own life, I feel it’s my personal responsibility to help people in the same situation that I was in. I don’t want anybody to feel they cannot be open about their sexuality at work and to be negatively impacted as a result. So, I decided to get involved with the LGBT Network at work.

Being part of the network in various capacities, including co-lead and mentor to clients looking to follow our example, has helped me become more confident. I have become increasingly aware of the importance of inclusion and diversity within any workplace, as well as how being a diverse organization makes good business, as well as ethical, sense.

If you’re thinking of coming out, my advice is: Don’t be afraid. Have faith that people will respect you for being the person you truly are.