Change-Making in the Workplace: Advice for Navigating Difficult Discussions

Introduction to Change-Making in the Workplace Series

In April, Tufts Career Center’s Career Fellows Ismenia and Jesse moderated a panel on Change-Making in the Workplace. We will be breaking down that conversation into smaller blog posts, but if you are interested in watching the whole panel, you can do so here!

Here is the premise for the discussion: We continue to hear stories of underrepresentation and inequality in and around the workplace. How are companies responding to these longstanding injustices in their own workplaces, society and beyond? Learn about what it means to be a changemaker in the workplace and gain insight into what sort of influence you can have.

Panelists Sharing Thoughts, Insights, and Experiences

  • Reema Elghossain, Vice President at 4A’s Foundation
  • Phuong Ta ’16, Executive Search Consultant at Isaacson, Miller
  • Gabrielle (Gabby) Thomas ’13, Diversity, Inclusion, & Belonging Program Manager at HubSpot

Advice for Navigating Difficult Discussions

What advice do you have for students/professionals just starting to navigate if something feels wrong in the workplace and they are nervous to voice their thoughts and ask questions? How do we navigate second guessing ourselves when it can sometimes start as just a feeling?

Gabby: It is really important when you join a new space to identify some people who can serve as confidants. Whether that is your manager, that’s the best outcome, or if it is someone who is on another team or maybe someone who is your teammate who has a similar role or kind of understands the org. That is always great to bounce off ideas with them. Same thing with HR business partners, usually there will be those people that you can talk to, but also identifying all the other resources from this point that exist for employees that you can tap into. We have a couple of external resources that we can use and just kind of gut check whether something is right or wrong or if we are feeling any type of way that could help you sort of plan out what your next steps would be. Identifying early on what resources are available to you as an employee whether those are internal or external.

Phuong: I just want to echo the point Reema made earlier about imposter syndrome. I am still feeling it and still recovering from it. It is easy to doubt ourselves, but I feel like one thing I am still working on is trusting myself, trusting my narrative, and not letting people write your narrative for you. Do not let yourself be gaslit. That is why it is so important to have someone to speak to and to bounce ideas off, so it does not feel like it is just me feeling this way or it is just me being unreasonable. So it is very important to find both confidence within the workplace, but also outside, for your sanity.

Reema: You can try talking to somebody that is not in your workplace first. If you do not know if something is wrong, it is important to find someone that you feel like you can trust to just bounce off the question and the idea. Otherwise, you are going to keep it to yourself and I do not advise that. If something does not feel right, there is a reason. What I know in this space too, is something could not offend me, but could totally offend somebody else. So, if something does feel wrong to you and does not feel comfortable, it does not mean anybody else has to feel uncomfortable for it to matter. Try to find somebody, if you want to bounce around what feels off, that you feel comfortable with. Is there someone that you trust that you can talk to? There is always HR and hopefully a DEI leader that you can connect with as well. Know it is okay to just say, “I’m not sure if this is weird, but this makes me feel weird so can I talk about it” is the most important thing. Know where your resources are.

Check out the other blogs in this series!

By Misha D'Andrea
Misha D'Andrea Recruiting Coordinator, Employer Relations Misha D