Some may call me a “boomerang employee,” but there is slightly more to my story than your typical comeback kid returning to the nest. You see, my life has changed dramatically since I first walked the Celanese corridors eight years ago.

A few years after leaving Celanese, I made the decision to come out as gay to my friends and family. For the most part, it went great. Life always has its challenges, but mine was pretty good with a supportive network of family and friends to help me along my journey.

However, one thing I had managed to do was to build an impenetrable wall around my professional life — I  was truly living a double life. I never felt comfortable sharing the truth about myself with my employer or my colleagues. It seemed easy at first, just don’t talk about personal stuff at work. Tell colleagues about vacations with “a friend,” keep it all bottled up. The problem is that you spend so much time at work, often more time than with your family, and if you keep yourself hidden in plain sight, that you really just end up more and more isolated.

When I first began searching for a new job opportunity, I knew one thing for certain, I wanted to be at a company that would allow me to be myself and be open about my life. It was at that time that a former coworker began telling me about changes at Celanese and the inclusive culture that was being built. I wanted to learn more about the changes, so I found my way to this very blog where I discovered posts by senior leadership talking about embracing diversity. I learned about ERGs (Employee Resource Groups) that have been created to provide support to our workforce and help foster growth and career development. It really felt like Celanese was the right place for me, so I took a chance and jumped back in with both feet.

Like everyone at a new job, my first day back at Celanese was filled with nervous apprehension. Of course, I was excited about my new role, but I was also a bit anxious about how my former and new colleagues would accept me. Are these changes at Celanese that I have learned so much about just a soundbite, just an obligatory corporate statement?

What I quickly learned is that the changes in the culture were real.. My friends and colleagues ask me about my family, and I gladly share my stories from home, vacation plans with my partner and all of the little but important details from life outside of work. I have joined the group  Pride@Celanese, done volunteer work with my team, attended happy hours and even brought my partner to the PRIDE “Brunch a Month.”

I am very proud to be at a company that embraces diversity, promotes inclusion and encourages me to bring my whole self to work each day.

Thank you to my Celanese Family for welcoming me back!