Ari is back in the office!

After nearly four years of working from home in Illinois everyday with a team based in Birmingham, Alabama. I have been transferred back to my original, local software development team within this company. This means that Ari is going back to face working with MANY people who last saw her as her pre-transitioned self. They are all used to the person I tried to be and not the person I have actually always been. This presents some challenges of course. I am a very different person now then the concoction of a person that they remember. I am different in appearance, confidence, happiness, beliefs, and even in tastes. I hope they look at me and try to treat me as a new employee that they need to get to know. If they rely on our shared history, then they are in for many surprises! One thing I know though is that they are happy to have me joining them again. They actually built a case to the higher-ups in the company to steal me from the team I was on because they have so much work that they know I can help them knock out in a reasonable amount of time. Essentially, the really need me and want me to be there and several people said exactly that to me today 🙂

It has been a surreal but also wonderful day. After coming off of the wedding weekend I posted about earlier, I have had my hands full getting ready for two major events (both of which I needed to look my best for). That meant lots of shopping and some beauty appointments. I have been running pretty ragged, but holy cow do I feel energized! I was asked several times if I was bummed to be having to work in the office again and the answer is “No, not at all!” I look forward to renewing old work relationships and to hopefully providing a positive example of a transgender person to a whole new section of my circle of influence.

Once I got there I was greeted at the door by my new manager. He is in fact an old college friend of mine. I actually recommended him for his position at this company 16 years ago! He set me up with my new ID Badge (the security guard kindly took 3 photos for me until I was satisfied with one and he only laughed at me a little for being so concerned about it). Once I had that ID I was able to explore the floor and see what had changed. I sought out some of my old co-workers and said “hi.” I got several hugs and warm greetings all around. There were a few people I wanted to see that were not in the office so I will look for them next time.

The funniest thing is that I am back in my old cube temporarily (it is now a ‘hotel’ workstation). I was working in this cube back in 2007 and that is the most surreal thing about all of this! I never thought I would be working in that cube in a business dress, wearing both heels and Butterfly Queen polish on my fingers and toes!

I will be going to a 2 to 3 day a week schedule in the office with the rest of the time still working from home. I love this arrangement. It gets me back to where I get to have face to face time with my teammates and manager and also I get to enjoy going out for lunch with some great people. In fact, today I asked an old work friend of mine to lunch. Her name is Laura and she and I always connected on the fact that we had kids with food allergies but also in general attitude and temperament. She is one of the people I had liked immediately when I first met her years ago. She is genuinely excited to have me back and I look forward to hanging out with her more both for lunches and hopefully for some happy hours 🙂

I am tired after all of this excitement for well .. the last 5 days! I know eventually the excitement of being in the office will turn back into a grind, but I do not intend to lose my appreciation for being able to be working there again only now as my truest and happiest self!

(in case you are wondering where the last pic above was taken.. I stopped at Japanese restaurant for a quick bite before picking up my kids and was feeling rather happy so I took a quick pic in the restroom after enjoying some sushi and green tea 😉

Now, it is finally time to get some much needed rest!