Complete the Head & Heart Leader Scale™ and receive a free, personalised report here.

Got a Minute?

Home | Got a Minute | Annual leave and holidays | No. 66 – As a cis man, do I need to include my pronouns in work emails?

No. 66 – As a cis man, do I need to include my pronouns in work emails?

Share this aticle

29 June 2022

I am noticing lots of people using pronouns or indicating their pronouns on social media or on their email signature. If you need to clarify for someone what your gender is, I get it. But I feel stupid doing it – it is pretty obvious I am a man and I don’t know why I should have to include it. I am feeling some pressure to do so, even though I don’t want to. What should I do?

Sharing pronouns is a simple way to normalise not assuming someone’s gender and it’s one of the ways we can ensure we’re driving inclusive workplaces. No one should force you to share your pronoun if you’re not comfortable to do so. I think of it as making it easier for those who are transgender, non-binary or gender non-conforming to share their pronouns as well, should they wish to. For those of us who have not had to worry about which pronoun to use, it might be easy to think this is an unimportant issue. However, if you’re someone who is constantly questioned or misgendered, it is a very small, positive way we can help support them.

I work in a private allied health practice that mostly sees school-aged kids. My employer has stated that they prefer for leave to be taken during the school holidays because many clients prefer to take a break from sessions during the holidays. Would it be reasonable for a request to take leave during the school term to be declined for no other reason than it not being the school holidays? It seems unreasonable for me to have 40 weeks a year blocked out from taking leave. What do you think?

As neat and tidy as it would be to only have employees take leave during school holidays, life just doesn’t work that way. Under this policy, I assume if you need to take leave because someone was getting married interstate or overseas during a school term, you would need to miss the wedding? That is not reasonable so while your employer is trying to enforce a blanket rule, in reality, they will need to show greater flexibility depending on individual circumstances. Have you tried speaking to your boss about their decision and tried to understand whether there is any flexibility? If enough people you work with are bothered by this, perhaps you consider going together to ask your practice manager to review the policy and come up with a plan that is far more consultative and fair.

It’s time for me to look for a new role. The risk with any new job is that somewhere that looks good from the outside, in reality has a poor management culture, and ends up being somewhere I don’t want to work. If I am offered a position, I would love to ask for “manager references” for the manager to whom I’d be reporting, but I’ve never heard of this being done. Assuming that you don’t know someone in the organisation who can give the lowdown, what’s the best way to find out?

I love that idea – a rating system like Uber, but for bosses. Now that would keep leaders on their toes! Have you checked out the website Glassdoor? More and more Australian companies are finding themselves on this website where past and current employees share anonymous views on their employers and what it was like to work for their company.

While the reviews might not be as specific as an individual manager (defamation laws are pretty tough in Australia), it does give unfiltered information on what it is like to work for a company from those in the know. Of course, you need to be cautious with any anonymous review. The person writing it may have had a bad experience and are venting their concerns to anyone who will listen. These reviews may not reflect most employees’ experiences.

In an interview you might also want to ask questions about what kinds of themes are coming through in engagement surveys and what areas of the culture the company is working on at the moment. Remember, it is a hot market for employees so you have the chance to interview the company as much as they are interviewing you. It should be a two-way conversation.

Send your questions about work, careers and leadership to Your name and any identifying information will not be used. Letters may be edited.

Link to original

Share this aticle
Got a Minute

Ask a Question

You can submit your own question anonymously.

Read Got a Minute

Every Wednesday since 2021, Kirstin has written a hugely popular column in The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age answering curly questions from readers on work, leadership and careers. 

Latest Got a Minute

Stay in touch

Join many thousands around the world who have subscribed to Dr Kirstin Ferguson’s free weekly newsletter, Impact Loop.

As a bonus, you will receive the introduction to her award-winning and bestselling book, Head & Heart: The Art of Modern Leadership, to download for free.
©2023 Kirstin Ferguson Pty Ltd
Privacy Policy