What It’s Like to Work for a “B” – Certified B Corp, That Is!
Around 9am every morning, I step out of the elevator into the brightly lit lobby of our 20th floor office building. The LEED Gold certified stamp catches the light when I walk past. (If you don’t know what this means, don’t worry; I didn’t either until I worked here! Basically, it means our building is the highest level of eco friendly.) I turn the corner to my office and unlock the door with a key of my very own, because here, I am trusted with a key. I am trusted with more than keys. The handle clicks with a cheerful “good morning,” and I stroll over to my desk. Our sage walls don calming drawings of Japanese plants and water fountains, and pressed against it is our enviro-friendly printer, and yes—you guessed it, a recycling bin. This is my happy place, somewhere I can come for peace and calm, and perhaps even productivity.
However, to me, being part of a “B Corp” is not all about the pens that are made from recycled water bottles or 100% post consumer paper. It is so much more. Our Monday morning meetings consist of coffee and conversation, and sure, numbers on how we can improve, and what needs to be done for the week. We are a business, after all. However, we are female owned and operated, and we rejoice that we are women of power, and our peers take us seriously; sure, sometimes we stop in the middle of our work day to discuss the ills of helicopter parenting, the injustice of Guatemalan citizens, and whether or not GMOs are truly bad for you. Sometimes we even talk about clothes and our relationships. But the beauty of this freedom is that these conversations occur between myself, a manager, and the owner of our law firm. The difference between working for a regular corporation and a “B” is that here, we are on the same level. I, an employee, am allowed and even encouraged to share my opinions and feelings about the world and our work, without fear of rejection or mocking. We own up to our mistakes, we don’t feel trapped by sexism in the workplace, and there exists an overall mutual sense of respect for one another. We know it, our clients know it, the people across the hall on our floor know it, and no one here would dream of changing it.
Despite the year, inequality in terms of sex and race is still very alive in our culture. Early in my working life, I found that my value as a woman was considerably lower than what I had anticipated. As an independent woman, even at a young age, this aggravated and disgusted me. My male bosses teased and flirted with me, and failed to take my ideas seriously. From job to job, this was the trend. Working for a Certified B Corp has begun to change my expectations of the workplace. It has become a comfortable place where ideas sprout and thoughts flow freely without fear of mockery or lack of value. As a B Corp, we believe that all business should “aspire to do no harm, and benefit to all.” I have learned that this is not just an idea in my workplace—it is an ideology, a way of life, and it is growing. Certified B Corps hire more women, minorities, and have less income disparity than regular corporations. Other businesses are beginning to understand that treating employees with kindness and respect facilitates a positive work environment where employees want to progress and learn, rather than just “work” day after day. The movements of the B Corp is catching—join us, and “B the Change!”
Photo credit: Banksy Street Art, http://www.streetartutopia.com/?p=720