Alma Media > News > In honor of Pride Month: Meet our colleague Melita from Croatia

In honor of Pride Month: Meet our colleague Melita from Croatia

During LGBTIQ + Pride Month, we are proud to present an interview with Melita, analyst at MojPosao, Alma Career. This is her story.

This year the whole June is a month of pride, celebrating diversity, promoting equality and aiming to create a more solidary society. A society in which every single one of us can be what and who they truly are. In many ways the world has taken important steps towards accepting diversity and removing discrimination, but we still have a long way to go.

To find out if we have made progress in the terms of equality at the work environment, we decided to talk with someone with first-hand experience. We turned to a person who has been an integral part of the MojPosao team for 10 years, once playing the role of sales consultant, and now an irreplaceable and trusted analyst.

“From day one I felt free and safe to bring my whole self to work”

Her name is Melita. But friends and colleagues call her ‘Meli’. And, as you probably already guessed, Meli is gay.

She started working at MojPosao years ago and she has never had unpleasant experiences due to her sexual orientation.

“At first, my secret was kept by only a few of the closest people from the department, and then other colleagues started finding out.”

As she explained, when you spend a lot of time with someone, eight hours a day from Monday to Friday, you start talking about things other than work, like private life and love.

“In those situations, I started talking openly about myself. Just like my straight colleagues do. I’ve never felt the slightest bit of negativity. Even from colleagues who have a more conservative view when it comes to LBGTIQ rights.”

The moment people get to know you as a person, with all your flaws and virtues, they stop looking at you through the lens of your sexuality. It becomes irrelevant or, at the very least, comes down to what it really is – just a part of you and your personality, she emphasizes.

“Activism is not just about participating in a Pride Parade. Do not get me wrong, it’s great. I myself attend it every year. But what you do in your own environment every day and how you treat the people around you really make the difference.”

Everyone deserves to be accepted as who they are – also at work

Melita loves to talk with her colleagues about the LGBTIQ movement, challenges they still face as a community, and her own experiences. For such an open and transparent relationship at work to be possible, it is necessary to create a work environment in which everyone will feel comfortable of being what they really are.

“This is something that companies often overlook when they talk about the multitude of benefits they offer to potential candidates. That sense of belonging and acceptance. For me, that is the key thing when it comes down to choosing an employer.”

Unfortunately, she knows a lot of people who still put on a mask every day before coming to work. They are afraid to come out to their colleagues and the employer, and according to Melita, there are several reasons for that.

“Some of them are yet to come out in front of their family and friends, so it is understandable that are hesitant of doing that in a business environment. Also, many fear job loss, endangering interpersonal relationships or having other inconveniences.”

She fully understands because she herself once was afraid of coming out of the closet. Eventually, when she finally decided to reveal to her loved ones that she was gay, she felt immense relief. Even though some very important and dear people did not react as she had hoped.

“But I had done my part. I was honest and true.”

Pride awareness is still needed

To people who claim that the Pride Parade has fulfilled most of its goals when it comes to equality and human rights, Melita responds:

“I think Pride is still needed. Yes, the situation is far better than it was 5, 10 or 15 years ago. Some people are still having trouble accepting the simple fact that there are numerous gay people in their environment, among their family members, friends, or colleagues. Initiatives such as the Pride Parade help raise awareness of this fact. And it feels absolutely fantastic to walk with your peers in a nice atmosphere. And it is even nicer when people who are not members of the LGBTQ + community join to give us support!”

To our last question about how each of us can provide support and what is the proper way to react in a situation when we find out that someone close to us is gay, Melita says that the best reaction – the one that testifies to that person’s maturity – is the absence of a special reaction.

  • Published: 21.6.2022, 12:52
  • Category: News
  • Theme: vastuullisuus

Melita works at MojPosao, a recruitment service located in Zagreb, Croatia. It belongs to Alma Career business unit.

 

According to the results of the 2017 Workplace Equality Survey, which focused on attitudes towards members of the LGBTIQ + community, the challenges remain. As many as 75 percent of survey participants experienced some form of discrimination, harassment, and/or abuse during their careers. These were mostly homophobic comments and obscene jokes. Also, 3.4% of people were exposed to physical violence, and 9% of respondents received threats. Among other inconveniences, research participants cited inability to climb the corporate ladder, being overlooked when it comes to meaningful assignments, spatial isolation from colleagues, and in some cases, they even state that their colleagues were prohibited from talking to them.

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