Being Different in Business

Michael Dearing

Being different -- however you define it -- can be hard. Sometimes you are explicitly told you don't belong in business or technology. Other times the message is sent or heard without words. And there is a long list of attributes that might put you on the radar of folks who want to keep you out. It could be the color or shade of your skin, your gender, the way you choose to dress, whether you date a particular gender or not, your deepest personal beliefs, where you or your ancestors are from, where you went to school -- you get the idea. Humans have almost unlimited capacity for classifying each other as "in" or "out" of the group.

If you believe, like I do, that you own your life and that you get to pick what you do with it, you will need some tools in your kit to deal with this. Together we will look at some potential tools borrowed from great minds and maybe come up with some new ones of our own. This class is open to anyone who has completed General Management and who identifies with the idea of "being different in business." I trust you to decide whether these ideas apply to you. There is some light reading to complete before class.

At no time during this class will you have to talk about anything you don't want to talk about. It is 100% AOK to attend and just listen. It is 100% AOK to attend and speak up but keep personal things to yourself. It is 100% AOK to come and speak about your personal experience.

This class is a risk, I know. But the risk you and I are taking by holding it -- that we will touch uncomfortable topics and bring up powerful feelings -- is nothing compared to the risk of pretending these issues do not exist. Thanks for approaching it with all this in mind.