“No one else fucking cares, Natalie!”
I was being yelled at - well, berated, if we’re being real - over speaker phone by a manager in front of two other managers.
I pictured the throbbing vein in his furrowed forehead, the receding hairline of his round head likely accentuated by the sudden increase in blood pressure that was brought on by a suggestion that I had made no less than a dozen times and that had support from two members of upper/executive management and several others within the company.
How could ONE PERSON override a request that was not only supported by, and I’m being frugal with this number, at least eight people, but evidenced in the metrics of a specific sect of orders during a specific time frame?
Before we go any further, a few things.
WELCOME!!! I am so glad you’re here, mama!! I hope you have a minute to either check out one of my other blog posts in this link negative-motivation.html OR bookmark this page and save it to your home screen so you can check back later!
I’m not “supposed” to start a blog post talking about myself. I’m “supposed” to start it by talking about you and things that you may go through from time to time. And normally I do but, for what we’re talking about today, you need to know the inspiration first. The story that is literally making my eye twitch as I type.
This is also going to be a first for me because it’s going to be a three part series post. So, bare with me, I promise you’ll get something out of it. I wouldn’t want to waste your time.
Back to it...how could one person override so many other people? I don’t think it’s as much as HOW, as it is WHY.
WHY would one person be so adamant about NOT even entertaining a suggestion that would help to improve the customer’s experience, as well as performance (ie “numbers”) in three different departments? All of which were company goals...
Because it was me. Because my name was attached to it. Because I didn’t have a degree. Because I was “just a supervisor”. And because it would prove a couple other recent (and unnecessary) tweaks to the system, suggested by people who didn’t “know the system”, moot.
People told me that wasn’t it, that it wasn’t personal. They told me that I was exaggerating. They told me he had to have a good reason for saying no.
I rolled my eyes. They say always trust your gut...I agree.
Being the argumentative person that I am, of course I prodded the bull.
“If no one else fucking cares why do they still work here?!”
The company prided itself on having employees who cared - about the company, about each other, about the product, and about the customers. So...if “no one else fucking cared” why was the company still employing them?
He proceeded to yell. To tell me I’m the only one who gives a shit. To tell me that (despite me giving a time frame of when I tested this suggestion myself) it would never work. To tell me that my opinion didn’t matter and I just needed to do what everyone else was doing.
But, everyone else was doing as they were told. They weren’t trying to make things better. But the company told us they wanted us to try and make things better….for each other and for the customers.
So...what the actual fuck?! I was confused. And I was pissed off.
In that closed office, one manager stared at me, gauging my reaction. He and I didn’t have a great history, mostly because of my say-it-how-it-is way of talking and his need to speak in a more “cushioned” manner.
The other manager in the office with us had seen the benefits of what I had suggested and knowing that I would continue to argue with the proverbial brick wall to make my point once and for all, attempted to calm me down by making eye contact and signaling me to breathe.
I walked out of the office we were in without closing out the conversation. I just walked out. I was so pissed off that I don’t even remember if I went outside or if I just went into my office.
This wasn’t the first time that I’d spoken up about a change in process. This wasn’t the first time that I suggested different ways of doing things. This wasn’t the first time that I was pushing to initiate change.
Hell, it wasn’t even the first time that I considered walking out on that job and it certainly wouldn’t be the last.
Now...the important part of this...YOU.
Have you ever been the only one who speaks up?
What have you spoken up about
Maybe something bigger…
When you seem to be the only one, or one of the very few, who speaks up, who goes against the grain, it seems like you’re labeled, doesn’t it?
What have you been labeled
I’m sure I could go on and on...but I won’t, because you’re smart and you know what I’m talking about.
A woman in a business environment, especially in a male-dominated business environment, who speaks her mind ends up getting a “reputation”.
Side note: Is there a business environment that ISN’T male dominated? Because I’ve only ever worked in industries that are. Drop a comment at the end if there is, I’m legitimately curious.
When she speaks, despite how valuable her insights are, because she sees things from a different perspective, all anyone else hears is Charlie Brown’s teacher.
“WAH WAH WAH WAH WAH”
How are we supposed to...
It wasn’t too long after this “conversation” that I was having a casual conversation with an executive an I made a comment about myself.
“I know people think I’m just an emotional loud mouth.”
Now, I really didn’t know this. I mean, I’d assumed...because this is opinion that I had believed about myself for YEARS...because certain people told me this was my identity.
There wasn’t a verbal reply. It was a look, a smirk, and a quick change of subject. Knowing a little bit about body language and people’s psychology when they don’t want to admit something that’s “true”, I took that to confirm what I had suspected.
If that’s ever happened to you, you know it’s frustrating as hell, but I’m here to tell you something.
Don’t let it be a deterrent. Don’t allow other people’s opinions derail you from your goals. Take it, accept it, learn from it and make yourself better because of it.
Being a woman, especially being a mother or a caregiver, you inherently want to take care of people. You want to make things better and easier for everyone, whether that’s your husband, boyfriend, kids, extended family, your team, your co-workers, your pets.
Rather than taking one person’s ignorant comments or another’s refusal to even hear you out as meaning your opinions aren’t valid, take this as an opportunity to show them what you’re made of.
Download this quick checklist to help you get all your information in order so that they can’t say you’re “too emotional” and you “don’t think things through”.
We’ll chat next week with part two of the series - I’m super excited to tell you more of the story - and help you make your story better!
If you haven’t connected with me yet - head over to the socials and give me a shout!
IG: @natalieihde FB: @thepowerswillbe
Hey, I'm Natalie and I'm an author, a wife, and mom of two kids and two dogs.
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