Indeedians share their International Inclusion stories

Did you know helps people get jobs in more than 60 countries in 28 languages around the world?

We believe that’s something to celebrate! That’s why we dedicated all July to sharing and learning about the different cultures that make up Indeed worldwide.

Whether it’s faith, food, family heritage, language or country of origin, as Indeedians, we believe the things that make us different provide strength and perspective to our company and each other.

“Being in the technology space, we have a platform that impacts the world on a massive scale. With this perspective and in light of recent events, it’s been clear that people exist with widely differing world views. Some of these perspectives can be disheartening, but others can be incredible,” Adit Dixit, International Inclusion Group Site Lead in Foster City, explains.

Fitting in without losing yourself

Navigating your way through an unfamiliar culture is a brave and challenging undertaking. Indeedians who have done it say perhaps the most difficult part is to try to fit in without losing your heritage.

Yao Yao, Product Scientist – Tokyo

Yao Yao who works in our Tokyo office explains, “I have been moving around and living in foreign countries for half of my life. No matter where I go, I’m Chinese. No matter where I was, life has always been a mix of struggling and balancing among keeping my heritage and fitting in, and the most important part, being myself.” 

Search Quality Analyst, Ela Gavrilova adds, “In elementary school, all I wanted to do was fit in and be ‘normal.’ I felt sure that other kids would make fun of me for being different, being foreign, having an accent. I strove to hide my heritage.” 

“Challenges could come from everywhere, maybe daily encounters in restaurants, or work discussions,” Yao Yao continues. “ I have experienced a lot and I could imagine many of us here are going through some of them. I joined the International Inclusion Group with the hope I could contribute to make our Indeedians enjoy where they are and being who they are.”

Global Humans of Indeed

Throughout this month, our International Inclusion Resource Group has used the theme “Global Human Stories of Indeed” to celebrate how different cultures and communities come together to make us who we are as people and as a company

Jim Hand, Senior Software Engineer – Austin, TX

Some are interesting like Senior Software Engineer, Jim Hand’s story of discovering a new relative from the South Pacific.

“I found myself answering a call from a man with a South Pacific accent. I sat in my car and talked with him for about an hour. He explained that his adopted father was a Belgian doctor at the hospital where my aunt had given birth. My aunt had kept this secret her entire life. It was so weird to hear that an individual who could have been part of my life was separated from his biological side of the family for his entire life. His life surely would have been in California, but instead was in American Samoa and Hawaii,” Jim recalls.

“We decided to friend each other on Facebook. I immediately saw that his appearance was just like my cousin’s on my mother’s side of the family. He could easily be mistaken as a brother of one of my cousins. I saw pictures of his beautiful family and researched his parents. I realized that even though my aunt did not raise him, he must have had a great life.”

A new perspective

Muna Hussaini, Jobseeker Chief of Staff – Austin, TX

Some are insightful like Jobseeker Chief of Staff, Muna Hussaini, finding a new lens through which to think about her family history.

Muna shared what she learned about her father’s journey from India to Oklahoma in the 1970s and the new perspective it gave her with regards to racial discrimiation and the privilege her family enjoys.

A photograph of Muna’s father ~1970

“Despite graduating at the top of his class and completing relevant research, my father was rejected from 80-90 jobs,” Muna explains. “With emotion, he recalled receiving one rejection after another, most within days. This news gave me pause, as it was the time of snail mail and letters being written by secretaries on typewriters. How much consideration were his applications given?”

Her father eventually found a job after his research advisor introduced him to someone working at an oil company in Pennsylvania, but recent events have prompted Muna to think about how much more difficult her father’s journey could have been.

“Though he faced difficulty, it was due to circumstance and not his origin. Perhaps being a foreign, lighter-skinned, Indian man made it easier for him to walk through life. As an Indian man, he was in a position of privilege and was able to benefit from racial inequity, bypassing the racism and systemic injustice facing the Black community.”

Learning together

Ela Gavrilova, International Inclusion Group Regional Co-Chair

Some are inspirational like Ela’s story of a tough conversation with her mum, a Russian Immigrant who now lives in Canada.

“She and I were catching up via video chat, and she expressed her worry about me, checking in about how I was doing amid all of the troubling events going on south of the northern border. When she started listing the many things I should be concerned about, she immediately brought up the Black Lives Matter protests, and how she wished they would ‘just stop’.”

With a lot of recent discussions and training provided by Indeed’s Inclusion Resource Groups and our Diversity, Inclusion & Belonging team, Ela feels she now has the tools to have a calm and educational conversation with her mother.

“I didn’t approach her with hostility or anger. I didn’t force an association between her ingrained beliefs and her character. I didn’t demean or demoralize her for her views. And to my incredible surprise, relief, and joy – she really listened!

“In the moment, seeing her nod along, eyes wide, finding her way slowly out of her personal forest of ingrained bias — I was so touched and amazed that she could be willing to see the situation from a different perspective.”

Celebrating International Inclusion

In addition to sharing stories, every Monday the International Inclusion Group had a different musical theme to get Indeedians motivated to start the week, including International love songs, dance songs and revolutionary songs.

Adit Dixit, International Inclusion Group Site Lead – Foster City, CA

They also did social media takeovers of the #insideindeed Instagram to ask fellow Indeedians to share their favorite dishes, sports, beautiful things and what they are grateful for during these complex times.

In the end, Adit says being part of the International Inclusion Resource Group has made him a better Indeedian and citizen of the world. 

“While at work, and specifically starting the International Inclusion Group in Foster City, I’ve found meaningful connections with people I might not have been able to interact with and meet. These conversations have enriched my understanding of the world, whether it’s a new type of cuisine, or a phrase that says something perfectly in another language but has no translation in English, it’s been a rewarding and enriching experience,” he says. 

“Whatever country you’re from, and whatever you identify with, WHO you are is welcomed and encouraged. I find that incredibly empowering. We as Indeedians have stood strong in the face of a pandemic and the upheavals happening all around us, and we’re only growing stronger as we learn and support each other.” 

For more International Inclusion stories, watch the video below.

Read more Indeedian stories on our #insideindeed culture blog.