No matter who you are or where you came from, you contribute to society.
As many fields of work are dominated by white people, the feeling of being inferior is something that plagues many who are not white. From a lack of diversity, racism, and other prejudices that seem to barricade any feeling of contribution, some parts of the workforce can truly be disheartening. Despite the fact that more foreign-born people are being employed in the U.S., sometimes it may seem like the opposite.
Unfortunately, the prejudices are something that won’t change for a while, which is why you need to start thinking about how your identity helps you in the workforce. What types of things can you contribute that others can’t? What insights might you have that can bring up new questions and provoke new thoughts? Whatever it may be, you need to embrace how you are different from the majority of the workforce and think about what you can do to make an impact in your workplace.
If you need a boost and a few reminders as to how you can take advantage of your identity in the workforce, keep on reading.
You know things that others don’t.
If you aren’t from the United States, there are probably certain cultural norms that you weren’t familiar with at first. Wherever you came from likely has different values and traditions than America does. But whether it be an extreme or minor difference in cultural norms, both can benefit you.
The insights that you bring to your position as someone who isn’t from the United States are incredibly valuable. You have different perspectives that can help you come up with new ideas, see things from another view, understand things in other ways, and notice things that others may not have noticed. You can contribute your views to whatever your work or passion is, which ultimately gives whatever you work on more personality as well.
You’re already at an advantage over other people.
In addition to the additional views you bring to the table, your experience with multiple cultures gives you an edge. Whether you’re applying for new jobs, looking for a promotion, or are looking for recognition, someone with more cultural experience and knowledge of diversity is incredible. Even just knowing another language gives you an advantage. Just think about what you can bring to the table that others may not be able to and use them to your advantage. Don’t think of your differences as weaknesses — think of them as opportunities.
Like I mentioned before, working in a field where you’re a minority can be stressful. From feeling underrepresented or different, there are plenty of ways that your identity can make you feel less.
No matter what you think about yourself, remember that you’re brave. You relocated to a completely different place and are already taking full advantage of your opportunities at the moment. It takes a brave person to uproot their life and start fresh. Let that bravery translate to your work — take risks, opportunities, and be bold in what you do.
In the end, the more you think about how your strengths can help you in your job, you’ll be better off. Your mindset about who you are and what you do will change as you begin to recognize what you’re capable of, and recognizing these things will allow you to move further in your career. You’re strong, brave, and smart, so let it be known.