Ashlee standing in front of a brick wall looking up to her left and smiling. Her right hand is held up near her right shoulder with the palm facing upwards.

Ashlee M Boyer

You can find me talking about issues surrounding Disability, Accessibility, & Mental Health on Twitter, or you can find me regularly live-knitting or live-coding on Twitch. I'm @AshleeMBoyer on all the platforms I use.

Get to Know the People You Pay

Thursday, June 6, 20193 minute read

#about-me#disability

I made some shouty tweets on Sunday. Here's the first one, and the one I want to focus on for this conversation.

You can go read the other tweets and think whatever you want about them as a whole, but I'm here to elaborate a bit on what I was (and still am) feeling.

Side note: if you have any inclination to make excuses for the boss in the tweet or anything of the like, please hop out now. This is not a debate. How I feel about being minimized as a disabled person is not up for discussion.

Another side note: this topic goes beyond people who sign the paychecks. Everyone should know about the identities of their co-workers, but those people way up in the hierarchy should especially know the people they expect to do a good job.

So, why should we get to know the people we pay?

Knowing how people tick makes it easier for you to lead them. You'll know what they can and can't handle, when they can handle it, and how to get them where they need to be to actually handle it. Leadership isn't just about telling people what to do.

It's not really possible to know *exactly what someone else is going through unless you've actually been through it yourself. Even still, every single person is different and copes with life in their own ways. Your best chance at knowing what someone else is going through; however, is by listening and remembering what people tell you.

Going back to my above-mentioned situation specifically, it's hard to describe how it felt to learn that my boss didn't know for 10 months that I have hearing aids. I am a disabled woman. It's the biggest piece of my identity because it affects my quality of life in every possible way. It's not a difficult fact to learn. I talk about it daily.

I keep trying to write the next sentence and they keep coming out wrong. It's a really strange feeling to know I was sitting for months on end putting in so much effort, and the simplest effort wasn't being put back into me. It feels lonely and isolating.

Bottom line, just do the right thing. Don't let your employees feel like that. All it takes is a few conversations and a little bit of effort towards remembering facts about people. Make the people you pay feel important.