I’ve had a rough year so far. After coming back to college, I got hit by a car and my grandfather passed away within two weeks of each other. I was diagnosed with a mental disorder. My grades slipped from As to Ds. I had to discontinue my classes in April, and missed two months of classes. I developed PTSD around cars and loud noises, and mourned my grandfather. I partied to not feel the pain and the fear of going outside. In May, I admitted myself to a psychiatric hospital so I could be sure that I wouldn’t hurt myself.
This probably doesn’t seem like it’s relevant. But it is. It felt like everything that could have gone wrong did. Slack was at every point in the process to support me.
I was given permission to call in black. I was allowed to work from home on the days I was too afraid to go outside. I was given a week to help transition my puppy to my house before he was to begin his service dog training. My mentor and manager, a woman and a woman of color, checked in with me at least once a week to make sure I was ok and asked about the ways they could best support me. I called in sick often on the days where every noise made me fear my life. I drew support from the greater Slack community when I needed help.
I made friends with other interns, and didn’t treat me differently after talking about my disabilities. I bonded over boba and makeup with the other engineers and writers at Slack. I spammed the #dogs channel with pictures of my dogs, and created #acai-bowls for those trendy connoisseurs. I was no longer a brown female queer intern with the service dog, but just another engineer. I gave a presentation to the Slack community about ableism and why it was important. And people listened.
This is what a company that genuinely commits to inclusivity and supporting employees looks like.