NOV. 15 – 18, 2021
POTSDAM, GERMANY

You don’t talk about that at work.

Sophie Küster

Some social taboos hinder open communication and relationships.

Showing vulnerability does not make you weak.

Speaking your mind becomes easier with practice.

EUROPE'S GREATEST AGILE SOFTWARE TESTING FESTIVAL!

You don’t talk about that at work.

Interpersonal relationships are hard, especially at work. You can make things better by talking - even about difficult things.

There are things you don’t talk about with your colleagues – and even less so with your boss. Mental health issues are certainly a big no-no. When I first started working at my company two years ago, I kept my own history with mental illness to myself. As a result, I couldn’t speak openly about topics that I have close to my heart: mental health and self care.

In the Agile World however, we value respect, courage and openness. How do you reconcile this with these taboos? Can you really be courageous and open if you deny a huge a part of who you are?

At my first Agile Testing Days, I was in awe about the openness with which psychological topics were discussed. Inspired (and seriously sleep deprived), I came clean to my boss on the very first day upon returning to work. From that moment on, I wore my heart on my sleeve. And my life at the office began to change: Once I had started speaking up, openness came easier with every issue that came up. I would suddenly talk about my past experiences with sickness and therapy as well as my thoughts and feelings about day-to-day business and goings-on at work. Conversely, people started confiding in me, asking me for advice and talking to me in a whole different way.

In this talk, I would like to share what I have learned from breaking taboos. I will discuss how communication improved for me, which obstacles I bumped into and why I will still not shut up about the things you do not talk about at work.


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