How would you like to work in a closet? Stuffy air, not enough light… We've all learned what it means to have to "make do" in less than desirable spaces during the coronavirus shutdowns, but for many transgender people, this discomfort is nothing new.
Andrea Breanna is working to change that.
She founded the highly successful strategic agency and content management system, RebelMouse, before coming out as a transgender lesbian. She believes her coming out story is imperative to the company's success.
"[RebelMouse] did a survey," Andrea tells us, "One of the questions is, 'How safe do you feel being you?' And it was 100%. And I think that's [a] beautiful thing... I should never have hidden it. I never should've stayed in the closet."
Andrea often stresses the suffocation imposed by the closet on individuals and the stagnation it sets on businesses.
"I think the most important impact RebelMouse can have is to inspire young people to help fight back the dark cloak of fear that makes them keep their lives in the closet. I hope our leaders inspire other leaders in other companies to create the types of safe environments that someone could come out and thrive in."
When it comes to representation of her trans peers in tech, she makes a distinction:
"I am less moved, motivated, and inspired by those who have achieved 'visible success' than by those who are struggling against the odds and making it."
Dr. Kortney Ziegler
Dr. Ziegler is of the people Andrea describes. After earning his Ph.D., he founded Trans*H4CK in 2013. The organization was devoted to creating a space for trans people in the California Bay Area's tech sphere.
"I finished my Ph.D. in 2011," he told us, "And it was really difficult for me to find a job. I know this is for LGBT folks, so I'm trans, and I'm really out about my identity. I had an interesting struggle trying to find employment. I ran up against... a lot of anti-trans discrimination. I needed to figure out what to do to not lose my home and my car and all those things that I had at the moment."
Inspired by the tech scene but stalled by the lack of representation, that's when he thought of Trans*H4CK.
"If I can't find a job, I know people who don't have my credentials are probably in way worse situations. So what can I do to kind of leverage being in the tech space and also figuring out how I can use that to help other people to find jobs? So Trans*H4CK was launched as a response to really build technology to make it easier for trans people to sustain our lives."
Trans*H4CK, though no longer in full operation, launched discussions that have since gone on to make the tech sphere a far more inclusive place than it was in 2013 when Ziegler first formed the organization.
"We've been able to really shift the ways that not only smaller folks in tech, but how larger tech organizations operate, as well as helping folks to make their companies more trans-inclusive and respect[ful to] trans people."
The smallest displays of support can build a network that's ultimately life-saving.
"Even if there are no trans employees," Andrea says, "finding a reason to share a story, to put a trans flag up, because it's Pride Month, and if you're a straight CEO and say nothing, you're causing a great deal of pain. And it's one of these moments where it doesn't take a lot, just takes this quick moment of finding some news story to share, something to put in the office or putting it in your signature."
Dr. Ziegler echoes the importance of creating a safe, supportive work environment:
"[M]aking companies inclusive, making people feel safe, adding policies for trans people in the employment policy, making bathrooms safe. I think that there are a number of things that the presence of an organization like Trans*H4CK has contributed to this space."
Andrea Breanna and RebelMouse's success continues to expand with over 55 employees in 26 countries, all of whom work from home. A key to this success in RebelMouse's endeavors and environment has been emphasizing its employees' happiness and personal stability.
"The way we think about it is that there is no such thing as a business decision. It's always a personal decision. And when you put your own personal happiness first in the decision tree, a lot of magical things happen. We, for some reason, tend to put happiness last. Happiness is the most important measure of our lives," Andrea says.
A series of YELP reviews can make or break a business.
Part of the anxiety in owning a business is the uncontrollable and lasting feedback from online reviews. One employee's off day mixed with a cranky customer can lead to lower ratings and even lost business. It seems like even the worst behaved customers can get away with anything.
But Redditor u/sam123786 wanted to turn the tables, and asked people to imagine a a reverse YELP where customers are rated, and people shared the reviews they would leave.
20. Cheer up!
"0/10 did not smile"
19. These dramatic customers
"The couple that spent most of their visit at the restaurant kissing and cuddling. Their food's obviously gone cold but they've eaten almost all of it, leaving a tiny bit of peas and fishbones on the plates. Asked for a dessert menu and went to the terrace to smoke, came back after good half hour, plates taken away and table cleaned. Got furious saying 'how could you take our food away, we're not paying the bill'. Literally 5 peas on the plates. 0/10"
18. People act very differently when you're not face-to-face
"Racist, insufferable client attacked me over an issue I was helping him/her fix, insulted my English and generally was a xenophobic and racist person. 0/5 would not recommend.
You really don't know how trashy people can be until you're tech support. Not seeing your face makes them a heck of a lot more rude and racist."
17. Max was a good man
"When I used to work at my parents deli a few years back, our deli's neighbor, Max, used to come in to the store at 5 AM and make himself coffee, untie the newspapers, and ******** a bit with dad. This guy also taught me about baseball and the Yankees when I was a kid. He also showed me how to play golf. He was the grandpa that I never had in America. RIP Max. 5 out of 5."
16. The entitlement is real
"I worked at a bagel shop in a retirement community in Arizona and it was snowbird season (snowbirds are retired people from colder places who spend the winter in Arizona). A lot of our customers were... I guess entitled is the right word to use. I had a man lecture me and my manager for a good 20 minutes about how the tomatoes on his sandwich weren't ripe enough. I had a woman who made us remake her sandwich 5 times because the bagel wasn't toasted to her liking."
15. This disgusting customer
"Customer **** on the floor and some people fell in it. Not impressed, had to clean it up."
14. New gloves weren't fresh enoughGiphy
"I told customer that he wasn't allowed in the store and he pushed past me then complains to me about not being smart enough about the coronavirus after I put on a fresh glove. He didn't even tip. 1/5"
13. Budget for tips
"Our number one rule - always tip well. We are teaching our kids if you don't have enough $ for the tip - get fast food or eat at home."
12. A desperate customer
"She pried open two sets of doors after we had been closed for 30 minutes. 0/5 stars for being unable to read the print on those doors that say when we close."
11. They didn't understand fractions
"'A lady became angry and confused when she was told that a half pepperoni, half vegetable pizza still costs as much as a whole pizza. 0/10 brain cells.'"
10. Most parents wouldn't do this
"Her kids dropped the popcorn so she asked me for a broom to let them clean it up themselves. I said it wasn't necessary but she insisted that she wanted to raise them to be conscious of the fact that when they make a mess someone has to clean it up. Nice lady. 5/5"
9. A handsome guestGiphy
"I stayed at an AirBnB in China and my host reviewed me.
Google translation: 'Very Handsome Big Boy'"
8. Kindness matters
"This girl was clearly having a bad day. She seemed really angry and upset. I tried my best to help, but there wasn't much I could do. I took her order, served her as usual. She got a call and walked out of the restaurant. I went to the table and found a 50 dollar bill and a sweet little note about how her husband died and she really appreciates my patience. 5 stars, best customer."
7. Cashiers don't control the price of milk
"The lady who yelled at me on the second day of my first job over the price of milk can have a solid 1 star."
6. The model customer
"Came in. Ordered. Ate their food in silence. Left minimal mess and a reasonable tip. Then buggered off.
My perfect customer.
5. The police had to get involved with this one...
"Drunken fool tried to return half bottle of booze because it 'tastes off.' Watch him get in his car and promptly called police to report drunken driver."
4. A repeat offender
"A customer walked in the front door of my very closed, curbside only pub today and asked if we had any steak. He had to ignore a giant sign saying PLEASE STAY OUTSIDE WE WILL BRING YOUR PHONE/ONLINE ORDER OUT TO YOU. Zero out of five stars. I almost had a rage stroke."
3. Not a pervert
"Nice, pleasant man. Always orders the same sandwich every time, making preparing for him simple despite the complicated sandwich. Tips well, never talks longer it takes to complete his order. Also, the only male regular over 50 that doesn't leer at my coworker. 5 stars."
2. Just tell the truth!Giphy
"She lied about her hair history, wanted white blonde in one session on her 'virgin' dark hair that the strand test determined was a lie. Said she could do it herself at home, turned hair orange instead. Came back to get a color correction and after explaining why she couldn't have blonde she said she'd settle for anything but orange and lighter than the dark. Gets a beautiful chocolate/caramel color and cries because it's not blonde and too expensive, and also leaves no tip. -5 stars, not worth my time"
1. This customer wanted VIP access
Guy comes in in the middle of the festival, no reservation, by car, and blames ME because it took him 2 hours to go the entrance of the city to my hotel because there are 200,000 people walking around the streets, and police barages to help the flow of pedestrians.
Then he blames ME again because he did all of this for nothing because we're full. What did he think would happen, walking-in with no reservation during the city's largest festival?
1 star, would not recommend.
Do you have something to confess to George? Text "Secrets" or "" to +1 (310) 299-9390 to talk to him about it.
Have you ever stopped to think about all of the deaths the internet is responsible for?
We don't mean people (that would be a whole other, entirely more more morbid) - we mean businesses. Gone are the days when people used to hang out at malls bouncing from store to store.
Most businesses are, well... In the business of making their customers happy. People are much more likely to come back if they have a good experience, after all.
What business will you never patronize again because they are just that bad?