I’ve been creating standards for myself, most intentionally over the past year but unconsciously throughout my life. I’ve debated stating them publicly, as I worry that they might come off as accusatory or bragging to others, especially because I’m not seeking praise for setting these. What made me change my mind about sharing them is the realization that if I don’t, then I can’t be held accountable—and is that the kind of commitment I want to be making?
The following are particularly important to me as someone who works in technology, journalism, and the non-profit sphere. Marginalized people in journalism and technology regularly experience discrimination and harassment. Non-profits can use their status to underpay and de-value the work their employees put into the organization. Creating these rules for engagement in professional communities is one of the ways I am trying to combat this abuse. I’m not particularly popular, or well-known, but deciding these and keeping to them at the beginning of my career will guide any influence I accrue.
Here are the rules I’ve set for myself for navigating the professional world. To be updated, constantly.
I do not advertise or endorse internships or fellowships which pay below a living wage; at minimum $15/hour, more for cities such as New York or Washington, DC. Likewise for jobs that only offer school credit.
I will not attend any conference that does not have a code of conduct. A good code of conduct should adequately provide resources for those who experience harassment, and define harassment; discrimination based upon gender identity, race or ethnicity, religion, appearance, or disability should be explicitly banned. If there is an event I want to attend that does not have a code of conduct, I will write to the organizers and request one, along with links to examples.
I will not speak at venues that do not have gender-neutral restrooms. I will make this a requirement for when I speak, and bring it up to the organizer.
If I speak at an event, I will ask if a government ID is required to enter the venue. If so, I will ask for accommodations for those who do not possess that or who have an ID that is no longer accurate.