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Dear fellow young professionals: Don’t leave your stories at the door!

By Omar Housany

Disclaimer: The views are those of the author's alone and do not represent the views of UNA-Canada.

As a young professional who has spent a lot of time navigating a complex job market, it has seemed like a good idea to code-switch. In other words, alter my overall persona to try and fit into corporate work cultures that care more about how workers perform as opposed to the worker's background, experiences, and life lessons that make them who they are.

I’ll be the first to admit that I have code switched before. I have left my stories full of opinions, ideas, and life lessons passed onto me from generations of past ancestors at the door because I thought that they weren’t important and would not add anything substantial to my journey in achieving my professional goals. I could not have been more wrong.

Not being your authentic self is exhausting. It is so much easier to come to work as you are and it’s liberating to be appreciated for it. My time as a Junior Professional Consultant (JPC) with the United Nations Association of Canada placed remotely with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Indonesia has taught me that. From my first interview to continued learning opportunities, to the tasks I am working on presently, storytelling has been encouraged and I feel like my stories are valued, considered and appreciated.