I don’t think a lot of people are prepared for the world of work. And that’s definitely the case for a lot of junior creatives. The culture in a workplace is 100% shaped by the people who were there before you, which means it’s easy to feel like you have to change parts of yourself to fit into the norm of what your workplace is like.
The fear of being seen as ‘lazy’
I’ve had previous experiences where someone would ask: “How was your weekend?”, and I felt like I couldn’t respond honestly. I’d say, “Oh, it was really good. I did a workout, I cooked a meal...” and make my weekend sound as productive as my work days – when, in reality, I sat on my arse all day and watched Glow Up. I think that’s why a lot of social issues remain under discussed; it can be nerve-racking to want to talk about anything that seems outside of the norm – even the most normal thing, like in my case, periods.
A few months ago, I told 11,000 people that I was on my period. It’s normal for me to throw up from pain on my period and I found myself uncontrollably cramping during meetings. I had just come back from being ill, and worried it would look like I was ‘slacking’.
I didn’t feel comfortable starting this conversation in the team room, so I used a red drop emoji (🩸) and set it as my Slack status. It was my way of saying “I’m in pain, please be mindful and recognise that I might not have the energy to deal with some tasks.” It ended up sparking many conversations across the company, with some colleagues expressing they too had the same experience, some who were unsure about the approach, and others who didn’t have periods wanting to know how best to support.